Generally speaking, technology tends to make things better and faster than they were in the past. One possible exception to this can be found in data on brand loyalty and customer retention. With a plethora of sellers on the global market, customer can find many potential reasons to switch brands.

But all is not doom and gloom. A new Accenture Strategy report highlights how consumers' allegiances towards brands are frequently changing and what factors help keep customers loyal. .

Accenture surveyed more than 25,000 consumers to see their attitudes on brand loyalty and how they interacted with brands in recent transactions. According to the report, Accenture found that more than half (54 percent) of US consumers have switched a provider in the past year. Furthermore, 18 percent of the respondents reported that their own expectations about brand loyalty have changed.

This situation is somewhat understandable. In the past, the most important factors for brand loyalty revolved around things like the price of the item, how far away the store was compared to competitor, product selection, etc. With the expansion on online shopping portals with low prices and fast shipping in a global online marketplace, the above factors are no longer enough to demand strong brand loyalty.

All of this has created a dramatic shift in the way business owners and marketers need to think about their customer loyalty plans. As has been shown in previous articles, brand loyalty is still important and can the driving force behind growing sales. But in this modern business climate, business owners need to think outside the box.

"New 'languages of loyalty' have emerged, driven by brands experimenting with creative digital experiences, which have changed the dynamics of customer loyalty today," said Robert Wollan from Accenture Strategy in a media release. "Every consumer has a natural instinct around what makes them 'stick' to a brand. The traditional 'low price' and 'reliable service' mechanics are no longer as effective at driving loyalty. With 66 percent of U.S. consumers spending more with the brands they love, organizations that stick to traditional approaches and don't explore the new drivers influencing loyalty risk draining profitability and pushing customers away - even when they have the best intentions or are following their historical playbook. It's time for organizations to take a fresh look at loyalty."

The Accenture study also provided some insights into what tactics currently work to foster brand loyalty in consumers. For example, just about half (49 percent) of U.S. consumers feel loyal to brands that present them with small tokens of affection, such as personalized discounts, gift cards and special offers to reward their loyalty.

Personalization related issues also important factors for brand loyalty. Among the U.S. survey respondents, 41 percent said they are 'loyal to brands that offer them the opportunity to personalize products to create something that is bespoke to them'. Similarly, 51 percent are 'loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication.

Also, business owners need to be aware when they are going too far and be mindful of privacy issues. According to Accenture, four out of five respondents (81 percent) 'feel loyal to brands that are there when they need them, but otherwise respect their time and leave them alone.' Furthermore, 85 percent are loyal to brands that safeguard and protect the privacy of their personal information.

All of this data from Accenture shows that brand loyalty is still alive and well in the modern age, but business owners need to use a modern approach to make it work properly. For more news about research on the effectiveness of marketing tactics, read this article on Gmail filters affect email marketing.