Most people would agree that brand loyalty is one of the most important objectives in marketing. Companies like Apple, Starbucks, and Google have done a tremendous job building loyalty. So exactly what is brand loyalty? Sounds like an easy question, however, the answer is tricky. Businesses sometimes assume that loyalty is repeat purchase. That’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes consumers do things out of habit, for example. Companies should want repeat purchase, but for the right reasons. Enter the idea of “Identity Loyalty.” Dr. Americus Reed II recently spoke at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition and defined it as “the situation where people so strongly connect emotionally with and internalize the values associated with a brand that the brand becomes part of who they are.”
While most companies focus on building brand identity through customers, many forget to build identity loyalty through their employees. Building strong identity loyalty with your employees creates the foundation for your brand in the future – without it, employees become disengaged. Disengaged employees are not only less productive but may have a negative effect on your brand image, which affects the bottom line. So what can you do to build identity loyalty among your employees?
One of the ways to build identity loyalty from within is to implement an employee recognition program. According to the 2013 Ixaris Study of Rewards & Incentives:
- 80% of employees felt that a rewards program communicated that their work was valued
- 70% of employees admitted to working harder if they thought they could earn rewards
- Yet only 25% of respondents had received recognition awards over the past two years
By investing in your employees for years of service, performance, and wellness, you are building loyalty and strengthening your relationship; ultimately improving in their attitude and performance. You should also reward employees whenever they interact with consumers in a way that correctly reinforces the values of the brand.
When customers see that your employees are authentically engaged and believe in the values of the brand, it helps drive them to want to do business with you. As you think about how to build identity loyalty with your employees, consider how to articulate and reinforce with employees your brand’s value; and how you explicitly and systematically recognize their efforts to bring out their full potential in doing so. If you have any questions about how to implement an employee recognition program, contact us to find a solution that works best for your brand.