Covid-19 And The Quest For Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty – the quest brands strive to achieve with the consumer. A strong test given the pandemic and the shift in consumer shopping behaviours. As noted by Mr. R. Passikoff, Brand Keys Founder and President, “Even during these difficult times, consumers won’t settle for a hearty, ‘We’re in this together’ message. They won’t settle for easy. They won’t settle for average. They won’t settle for ordinary. Consumers demand their expectations be met.”
Before the pandemic, it was estimated 82% of consumers were loyal to a specific consumer brand and 43% of them were spending more money at brands they’re loyal to.[1] Fast forward, COVID-19 has disrupted life across the globe for consumers and businesses alike. A July 2020 report from communications firm Ketchum found that 45% of shoppers have altered their brand preferences. A month later, research from McKinsey put that number at 75%.“We’re seeing massive consumer behaviour shifts that are likely to persist,” says Mary Elizabeth Germaine, partner, and managing director at Ketchum Analytics.[2] A report on brand reckoning from communications firm Ketchum indicated that, of those consumers who switched brands during the pandemic, 62% will make that change permanent.[3] Given consumers behavioural changes may exist long after the pandemic is over, re-capturing brand loyalty and ensuring consumers receive the experience and value they seek is the key challenge that awaits brands.

Brand Loyalty

So, what is brand loyalty?

“Brand loyalty is the positive association consumers attach to a particular product or brand. Customers who exhibit brand loyalty are devoted to a product or service, which is demonstrated by their repeat purchases despite competitors’ efforts to lure them away”.[4] A recent 2021 study undertaken by Bond Brand Loyalty in Association with Visa Canada revealed a clear divide on loyalty between brands and the Canadian consumer. While

  1. Only 21% of marketers strongly agree that customers are loyal to their brand, with 17% of consumers saying the same,
  2. 46% of marketers strongly agree that their brand is loyal to its customers, that same sentiment is shared by only 8% of consumers.[5]

Mr. David Aaker and Mr. Andrew Marcum, Prophet, Consulting Agency outlined “The Drivers of Brand Loyalty May Surprise You” in 2017.[6] Despite being written before the pandemic their 5 keys to brand loyalty ring true today.

  1. Dependable: Always deliver to expectations. I can depend on it. I trust it. Trust is key.
    The majority of consumers regardless of age will pay more for brands they trust.
    (Please refer to Chart 1 – Appendix 1).
  2. Better: The only brand that does what it does. “Better” than others.
  3. Social Media: Has interesting and engaging content online.
  4. Light Emotional Connection: “Makes me happy”.
  5. Heavy Emotional Connection: Connects with me emotionally. Has a purpose I believe in. Ethically responsible. The ethical reputations of brands today play a key role in purchase frequency. (Please refer to Chart 2 – Appendix 1).

Touchpoint, “a point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers or consumers. Every touchpoint must reflect, reinforce, and reiterate the brand’s core values.
Each touchpoint in the customer journey is an opportunity to build an emotionally positive connection with a customer, but it is also an opportunity for customers to run into roadblocks or other pain points. There is a direct correlation between the bottlenecks a customer experiences and how loyal they will remain to a brand. Their lies Brands key challenge during this pandemic and beyond.

Appendix 1

Chart 1

Share of Consumers Who Would Pay More for Trusted Brands in Canada, September 2020[7]

Quest for Brand Loyalty

Chart 2

Frequency of Purchasing Based on Ethical Reputations of Companies[8]

Quest for Brand Loyalty


[1] Keep your Customers Coming Back, 13 Brand Loyalty Statistics,, July 2019

[2] Brand Loyalty is Changing Due to the Pandemic,, October 2020

[3] 5 Ways Covid-19 is Changing Customer Loyalty,, December 2020

[4] So. What is Brand Loyalty?, June 2021

[5] Consumers and Brands Have Different Views on Loyalty,, July 2021

[6] The Drivers of Brand Loyalty May Surprise You,, 2017

[7] Share of Consunsumers Who Would Pay More for Trusted Brands in Canada, September 2020,

[8] Frequency of Purchasing Based on Ethical Reputations of Companies,, May 2021