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September 28, 2021

Deloitte study: Trust is the first emotional metric that influences brand loyalty

Eight in ten customers (83%) believe that trust is the first emotional metric that influences brand loyalty, according to the 2019 Deloitte study “Exploring the value of emotions-driven engagements”. Moreover, the study shows that emotional factors inspire brand loyalty, while rational factors play a key role at the beginning and in the end of the customers-brand relationship.

The study is the result of an innovative multimethod research approach gathering approximately 1,000 respondents, 91 million social posts across 30 brands in 11 industries and over 2,000 completed surveys from two service-driven industries.

Following the trust metric, the study reveals that customers appreciate the integrity of a brand (79%) and its honesty (77%). Furthermore, 60% of long-term customers use the same type of emotional language when referring to their favorite brands as they use for family, friends and pets, such as “love”, “happy” and “adore”.

“Brands are expected to offer a consistent, predictable and memorable experience in every moment of the customer journey and regardless of the touch point, from online engagements, to in-store conversations with sales representatives, to email newsletters and packaging. Although emotional factors influence brand loyalty, when it comes to the first engagement with brands, it is the rational factors that shape the customer-brand relationship – price, promotions or loyalty programs,” stated Ruxandra Bandila, Marketing and Business Development Director, Deloitte Romania.

According to the study, nearly 70% of people who use or receive service on a product end their relationship with the brand for rational reasons such as high prices, faulty products or wrong orders. Only 18% respondents invoked emotional reasons for leaving a brand, such as feeling rudely spoken to by an employee or unfairly treated in a dispute.

Customer-brand relationship needs to be built on more than rational factors and emotional connection is vital to customer loyalty, emphasizes the study. Thus, any aspect of customer engagement should be analyzed considering the customer’s trust, including data collection and data usage. Consumers draw the line with what they consider “sneaky” surveillance and monitoring. More than a third (35%) of the customers do not want their favorite brand to know their browsing history for similar products or services, in order to fuel relevant ads or to provide chatbot help. Also, 30% of the respondents do not want brands to know their individual unique preferences.

On the other hand, customers understand that brands collect a wide array of data about them and they are generally comfortable with companies tracking and knowing the reasons why they purchased a product (75%), the customer services history (57%), the product satisfaction (52%) and for how long they were a customer (49%).

For the “Exploring the value of emotions-driven engagements” study, Deloitte employed an innovative multimethod research approach to understand how emotions influence consumers. The methodology integrated traditional primary research including consumer surveys (800 participants and 28 questions) and online panel sessions (112 participants and 41 questions). Moreover, the methodology included secondary data sources with social media listening and analysis of 91 million posts across 30 brands in 11 industries and over 2,000 completed surveys from two services-driven industries.

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