Britain, Brexit And Brand Loyalty

Binary oppositions are a driving force behind western society. We are infatuated with the division of Good vs. Bad, Left vs. Right -- and more recently, due to the Brexit referendum, Leave vs. Remain.

The famous 48/52 split has defined the populous from the day of the Brexit Referendum, 30th June 2016; but is this the only context in which our opinions and decisions are split?

Our recent research shows that there is a similar division that transcends political boundaries and spills over into other areas of British life. 

A Nation Divided by Loyalty

We recently conducted research that closely explores a newfound connection between the political, social, and branded loyalties of Brexit voters. The data shows that if we remove the political labels provided by Brexit, we are a nation divided into those who are "loyal" and those who are "disconnected."

The Loyal tribe are characterised by their ability to tie their political, social, and brand-related decisions and opinions into their self-identity, while the Disconnected tribe are characterised by how they can base their decisions and opinions purely off their own personal beliefs and values without tying them into their identity.

Thus, when put into a commercial context, our decision to reward a brand with our loyalty is dependent on which tribe we fall into. 

Politically speaking, the nation is very much divided in terms of loyalty toward the EU and loyalty towards the promise and potential of an independent UK; this split in political opinions perfectly depicts the two halves of the British public in all decision-making scenarios no matter the context. Britain’s behaviour in terms of brand loyalty is no different.

Just like in politics, there are two tribes of consumers that brands need to recognise and fully understand in order to succeed and grow.

When faced with a challenging commercial experience, the Loyal tribe are 43% more likely to give companies a longer period of time in which to fix a consistently bad customer experience; while the Disconnected are more likely to switch brands across 8 categories of good and services in the next year.

This shows that Britain is divided into those who will give brands a second chance (the Loyal), and those who will take their loyalty away (the Disconnected).

In terms of earning loyalty in the first place, it is hard for the Disconnected to trust new brands on the scene; they are 8% less likely to try them out, preferring instead to stick with the established brands with a recognised history of good service and a large following.

But brand-new businesses shouldn’t despair, for the Loyal are more than willing to give them a chance to prove themselves to be worthy of their loyalty. But the insights from this data call into question the validity of our current understanding of loyalty, and the extent to which brands can actually influence the amount of loyalty they are awarded.

By traditional metrics, current customer loyalty schemes aren’t working as well as they should theoretically. The results of this report suggest that consumers aren’t loyal to brands or political parties at all, but rather to their own values, beliefs, and social tribe allegiances. The loyalty that is rewarded to brands is dependent on the values and beliefs that are shared between the customer and the brand.

Social tribes have a strong influence over this decision and the formation of individual opinions, which can be seen by the 4 out of 5 households who all voted the same way within the Brexit referendum. With loyalty considered in this new light, the question becomes: what do brand’s do now?

Future Brand Loyalty Strategies 

Throughout all of this, regardless of tribal allegiances and titles, brands need to update their loyalty strategies; listen to their customers and connect with them through their values, rather than focussing on traditional customer loyalty metrics.

To do this, more personalised research needs to be conducted by the brands themselves in order to fully understand which tribe their customers fall into: Loyal or Disconnected?


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