For many organizations, repeat customers are the sign of brand loyalty. However, at Disney Institute, we believe that true brand loyalty is something entirely different and far more meaningful.

How can you tell the difference between FALSE and TRUE loyalty?

Try this activity. Think of a brand that you have a long-lasting relationship with, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you spend more time or money with the company in repeated purchases?
  • Have you stopped looking into offerings provided by competitors?
  • Do you travel longer distances or wait longer to do business with them?
  • Do you forgive them when they make small mistakes?
  • Do you tell others about your positive experiences and recommend the company to others?

If you answered, “yes,” to these questions you may--or may not--be truly loyal to this brand. For example, customers that appear loyal may simply be unaware or unable to access competitors or alternatives. Now, ask yourself another important question. How you would feel if this brand went out of business?

We believe that true loyalty is the presence of deep attachment to the brand, not simply the presence of repeated purchase behavior. Even though customers engage in repeated business with a brand, it may not necessarily translate into deep attachment.

How would your customers feel if your brand no longer existed?

This year, The Walt Disney Company was among Millward Brown Brandz “Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand,” Forbes’s “The World’s Most Valuable Brands,” and Harris Interactive’s “Most Reputable Company.” We have learned that to earn true loyalty an organization must deliver a superior brand experienceconsistentlyover time. Deep attachment does not simply occur after one excellent experience in the midst of average or below average experiences. Aim to exceed expectations at every customer touchpoint (hint: not just the obvious ones). 

How does your organization develop true brand loyalty?