10 Apr 2024

The golden spot between behavioral and emotional loyalty

Henry Bewicke - Content Writer

Henry Bewicke

Content Writer

Emotional loyalty with Talon.One

5 minutes to read

Are you measuring your customers’ behavioral and emotional loyalty? If not, you should be. Knowing which customers are most loyal to your brand is crucial.

Loyalty equates directly to many different types of value for your business.

The more loyal a customer, the more they have to offer in the long run. But, many marketers make the mistake of oversimplifying the concept of loyalty and the actions it comprises.

Because loyalty is such an important customer attribute, you need to be able to measure it with accuracy. In this blog post, we'll look at:

What is the difference between behavioral and emotional loyalty?

Often marketers will focus on metrics which measure their customers’ loyalty in one dimension only, and tend to pick the metrics which are easiest to gather. These are usually related to behavioral loyalty.

Behavioral loyalty refers to the consistent and repeat actions displayed by customers towards a particular brand or business. It goes beyond mere preference, encapsulating the tangible behaviors and transactions individuals engage in.

Common behavioral metrics to measure include:

  • Purchase behaviors (favorite products, time trends, location, etc.)

  • Interaction metrics (which non-purchase actions customers make with your brand and products)

  • Repurchase and retention rates (which customers come back and buy more)

Many marketers focus only on behavioral metrics - but this one-dimensional approach towards loyalty measurement doesn’t reveal the full picture. Customers are people, and their motivations are ultimately human too. This is especially true when it comes to loyalty. As a result, you also need to consider loyalty metrics which reflect emotional motivations.

What is emotional loyalty?

Emotional loyalty is the emotional connection to a brand or product, e.g. trust or belief in a brand’s vision. It comprises three elements - affinity, attachment and trust.‍

This applies to purchase decisions and loyalty as a whole. Examples include:

  • Customer satisfaction (motivations determined via customizable surveys)

  • Net Promoter Score (a metric which splits your customer base into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors)

  • Sentiment scores (lexical analysis of customer feedback in search or emotional connections)

These metrics help you measure the emotional bond between your brand and customers. They are usually less tangible and harder to quantify than behavioral loyalty metrics, so it can be easy to overlook them in favor of more readily available figures. But it’s worth the extra investment of time and resources, as knowing why customers favour your brand is essential.

Finding the golden spot

The truly valuable insights come when you compare your behavioral and emotional loyalty metrics side by side.

Ideally you should have emotional and behavioral loyalty stats for each customer. In reality this is a big ask, as many brands don’t measure emotional loyalty at all.

This calls for a prioritized step by step approach.

  • Collect a spread of both emotional and behavioral loyalty data. Ensure you collect emotional loyalty data too. It’s trickier to obtain, but it’s worth the effort because it reveals the ‘whys’ behind certain purchases and actions.

  • Determine how different metrics relate to each other. You can use regression analysis and correlations between different variables to narrow this down.

  • Look for long-term trends, not individual data points. Complex correlations become more apparent over time, so don’t expect results immediately.

A superior measure of loyalty

While behavioral loyalty is easier to measure, the motivations behind it can be unclear: a customer may only be ‘loyal’ to a product because it is the cheapest option, or a shop because it is closest to home.

On the other hand, emotional loyalty doesn’t necessarily equate to sales: a customer may have a strong emotional connection to your brand, but lack the income to buy frequently.

An approach that incorporates both emotional and behavioral loyalty acts as a filter. It will determine what monetary and non financial rewards you need to use to incentivize customer actions.

Customers which score highly on both behavioral and emotional loyalty are the ones you want.

These are the customers who are loyal in both senses of the word. They’re loyal in their purchasing decisions and they’re loyal in their emotional opinion of your brand.

Once you know who fits into both of these categories, you can prioritize and strengthen your offering to them. Talon.One’s Promotion Engine, for example, allows you to alter your loyalty campaigns with any input: using custom attributes, you can target customers using any emotional and behavioral loyalty metrics.

Looking to learn more on the topic? Our latest ebook covers everything you need to know about building emotional loyalty with customers. Alternatively, read our guest post from loyalty guru Phil Shelper on consumer psychology and what really drives customer behavior.

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Isabelle Watson

Loyalty & promotion expert at Talon.One

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