Brand Loyalty – What Factors Have The Greatest Impact


Having loyal customers to one's brand is one of the greatest assets for any marketer. Brand loyalty is strongly correlated with benefits such as increasing market share, cash flows, and profits. However, there is surprisingly little consensus in the branding literature on what causes and maintains brand loyalty.

There are five primary constructs in the branding literature used to explain brand loyalty: brand attachment, brand love, self-brand connection, brand identification, and brand trust. Each offers a unique framework and causal factors to explain how and why people become loyal to brands. Brand attachment is defined as the "emotion-laden target-specific bond between a persona and a specific brand" and includes elements like affection, passion, and connection toward a brand. Brand love is defined as the "degree of passionate emotional attachment a satisfied consumer has for a particular trade name." Self-brand connection is defined as "the extent to which individuals have incorporated brands into their self-concepts." Brand identification is defined as "a consumer's perceived state of oneness with a brand," which can be thought of as how well a brand embodies a customer's beliefs. And finally, brand trust is defined as "the willingness of the average consumer to rely on the ability of the brand to perform its stated function."

These frameworks demonstrate that consumer loyalty can be based on attachment, love, connection, identification, and trust. However, which factors most contribute to brand loyalty? Recently researchers Mansure Khamitov, Shane Wang, and Matthew Thomson conducted a meta-analysis of the brand loyalty literature to answer this very question.

The researchers found that love-based and attachment-based brand relationships most strongly correlate with customer brand loyalty. Also, customers are most elastic in their loyalties when those loyalties are trust-based and identification-based.

Greg VanderPol