The Quest for Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty, is the mission for business when launching a new product. When I was the Brand Manager for Tabasco Sauce in Canada, they enjoyed  an +80% brand loyalty level. That was during an era of no social media, and food prices were stable.

Today, that term is more fiction than fact. “The death of brand loyalty is coming, but some say it’s already arrived.”[1] During these economic times, it is hard to be brand loyal. To save money, consumers are trading down to cheaper brands, or opting for the private label brand. Though loyalty may be on the decline; there is hope. All it takes to revitalize it is for brands to have 1. Distinct target audience, 2. For them to truly understand what their customer is looking for, and 3. Then deliver it to them.

Brand Loyalty, Food Sector, Food Distribution Guy

What is Brand Loyalty?

“Brand loyalty represents the positive emotional association consumers attach to a specific product or a brand. No matter the competitor’s efforts, a loyal customer stays devoted to a product or service of their choice”. When asked: “What would, in their opinion, be a brand loyalty definition[2]:

  1. 8%: Define as a repeat purchase.
  2. 5%: Define as love for the product.
  3. 7% Preference of one product over the other despite the price.

What are the 5 Characteristics of Brand Loyalty?

A research study revealed there are 5 characteristics of brand loyalty. They include:[3]

  1. Perceived brand value: The assessment customers make according to the quality and price of products after purchase.
  2. Brand trust: Trust is expressed on both sides – consumers trust the brand will fulfill its function, while the brand trusts the customers will stay loyal to the brand.
  3. Customer satisfaction: Satisfaction is a positive attitude a customer develops as a result of evaluating their consumption experience.
  4. Repeat purchase behaviour: The act of making multiple purchases from the same brand.
  5. Commitment: Commitment refers to an enduring desire to continue the relationship with a brand. If they perceive high cost that doesn’t meet the quality, they switch to another brand.

What is the Effect of Shrinkflation on Brand Loyalty?

The term shrinkflation is a term that came to light in 2022. Unfortunately, consumers do not understand the strategy behind the term. As a spokesperson for Food, Health and Consumer Products emailed the CBC, “When production costs go up, manufacturers may opt to shrink a product instead of raising prices. This approach helps to keep prices steady, which aligns with what customers want.” [4] According to consumer analytics platform Civic Science, 61% of shoppers have witnessed the effects of shrinkflation on several products, while an additional 25% have noticed it on a few. “In response to this, shoppers are voting with their wallets with the majority of consumers willing to abandon a purchase altogether when faced with a smaller product and others opting to switch brands.”[5]

Brand Loyalty Statistics

Since the end of the pandemic,

  1. 57% of Gen Z consumers are less loyal to brands than they were pre-pandemic.
  2. More than 1 in 3 consumers are not loyal to brands.
  3. 77% of Gen Z adults are willing to try new brands.[6]

What is the Importance of Brand Loyalty?

Brand loyalty can give businesses a significant advantage, as they do not have to continually reinvest in acquiring new customers. “It is quite clear that customer retention possesses a higher value than customer acquisition, generally speaking”. Seventy-five percent (75%) of customers will recommend a brand to friends and family.[7]

What are the Top 5 Strategies to Boost Brand Loyalty in 2024?

As Canadians grapple with the rising cost of living, consumers are reevaluating their daily choices and purchase habits. The formula in nature is simple, find your audience. get to know them and make them superfans. Easier said than done, given:

  1. 81% of consumers say they need to trust a brand before buying.
  2. Only 1 in 3 consumers say they can trust the brands they buy.[8]

Here are the Top 5 strategies to help boost brand loyalty moving forward:

  1. Build Trust: Trust is the foundation of any successful brand-consumer relationship. Consistently deliver on your brand promise, providing quality products, and maintaining open communication.
  2. Prioritize personalization: Consumers expect brands to personalize their messages.
  3. Be honest and transparent: Consumers expect honesty from the brand. Be as open and transparent with them. Communicate your values and beliefs. Be  honest and admit when you have made a mistake. 89% of people say a brand can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about its steps to resolve the issue.[9]
  4. Embrace Sustainability: Consumers are embracing sustainable brands. Over the past year, there has been a 71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods, and the majority of consumers today (66%) consider sustainability when they make a purchase, especially both Millennials and Gen Z.[10]
  5. Embrace Social Responsibility: How does the brand consider its impact on culture and society? 70% of consumers want to know how the brand is addressing social issues.[11]

I leave you with this inspiring Brand Loyalty quote:

“Do What You Do So Well That They Will Want to See It Again and Bring Their Friends”

Walt Disney

[1] The Death of Brand Loyalty,, David Villa, September 2023

[2] Brand Loyalty: What is, Definition & How to Build,, December 2021

[3] Brand Loyalty: What is, Definition & How to Build,, December 2021

[4] Many Canadians are Fed Up with Shrinkflation. So What is Being Done About It,, February 2024

[5] Shrinkflation: Are Brands Losing Customers in this Covert Effort to Cut Costs,, March 2024

[6] The Death of Brand Loyalty,, David Villa, September 2023

[7] The Death of Brand Loyalty,, David Villa, September 2023

[8] Build Brand Loyalty in 2024,

[9] What is Brand Transparency, and Why its it Important in 2022,

[10] Most Consumers Want Sustainable Products and Packaging,, 2023

[11] Consumers Care About Corporate Social Responsibility – and So Should You,