How the Subtleties of Consumer Communication Impact Brand Loyalty: Smartphones Edition

Jul 12, 2019
by Digitalabs

Some people can choose blindly between Swiggy and Zomato, Puma and Adidas, Apple and Samsung, and it’s difficult to influence them or reason with them over why the other options don't qualify. These people have an inflexible opinion. Their facts and figures ready as a counter weapon. 
They are called the brand loyalists, and unless there is an apocalypse or their favourite business ceases to exist overnight, it’s difficult to shake their trust and commitment towards the brand of their preference. 
When these customers exist, know that the business has successfully managed to ace the ultimate goal of marketing. 
So what exactly makes a brand the go-to option that keeps the customer hooked relentlessly? 
Is it just the brand in itself, or is it the brand communication that creates brand evangelists? 
The latter cannot exist consistently without the former being in place. So Let’s have a look at how a few brands are leveraging the true potential of brand communication and building their empires. How do these brands create loyalists who eagerly wait for the business to launch something new in the market so that they can quickly grab it like the hungry fish in a lake chase bread being thrown in?

MI (low price point)

With its range of value for money smartphones, the Xiaomi Mi is now a household name and has become one of the most trusted brands in the country. Its market share has grown exponentially, and since the first smartphone launch in 2014 (Mi 3), the brand has managed to sell 1.2 crore smartphones. 
Its target audience includes value-conscious Indians looking for exciting and innovative features within a budget of 8000-10,000 INR. The brand’s value-for-money pitch is well reflected in the brand tonality, focussing on the Indian middle-class. 
Xiaomi has successfully outwitted the domestic market dominators like Samsung, but how? 
How did the brand manage to build this massive loyal buyer count within five years? A number which looks more likely than not, to expand in years to come. 
For this let’s dive into their latest ad campaigns featuring Ranveer Singh. Like the phone, the actor never fails to surprise. With his comical tone and timing and by using a tinge of humour the ‘Note kiya jaaye’ campaign highlights the phone’s outstanding features and the fact that they are continually innovating for everyone (which is the brand’s finding philosophy) while the ad narratives leave the viewers in splits. 
Besides affordability without compromising on quality, it’s extensive flash sales, seasonal sales and Reward Mi (it’s customer loyalty program) are few elements that drive the significant sales of their business.     
The user feedback system allows consumers to highlight errors and get them rectified sooner which tells a lot about how this brand tries to understand their user’s problems and in turn provide them with the best user experience.  
 No wonder MI has landed where it has. In the minds AND hearts of its target audience.

One Plus (mid-price point)

It all began when a small smartphone manufacturer tucked away in China shook the mobile industry by releasing a phone called the OnePlus One. Backboned by its flagship processor, sizable RAM, and a powerful battery, it came at a segment shattering price point, openly challenging other established smartphone brands in the market. 
Some might call it cocky, but others call it brave and confident, qualities that come with the knowledge of offering the right quality products.
One Plus did not just walk in with promises and an exorbitant number, but it delivered, and how!
International Data Corporation PULSE research study on smartphone consumer trends in India states that One Plus is one of the most preferred brands when it comes to smartphones, second only to Apple. If that’s not a competent product, we don't know what is! 
While word of mouth and unique go-to-market approach of OnePlus give it a sense of exclusivity and delayed gratification (that most of the other brands lack), they also make the owner community feel special as they could only possess the phone when an existing customer referred them or sent an invite. There existed an entry barrier that fed the exclusivity. 
Even though the brand has resorted to mainstream communication, the exclusivity is still maintained as the brand continues to bring out limited-edition models. While their advertising communication is minimal and product-based, and nothing too crazy, the brand sits secure in the knowledge that it has a strong following of brand loyalists.

Apple (high price point)

“If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone” who can forget this iconic line? It stated clearly that this well-established brand offered an obviously high-end device, priced several notches higher and supposedly ahead in terms of technological advancement as well. 
However, that’s not the case anymore, as more and more brands bring to you the phones manufactured with the latest technology. Yet Apple’s exclusivity remains mysteriously untouched till date. Their products are meant for a more affluent portion of the country’s population. Yes, there is a drop in sales numbers but Apple as a brand is still touted to be the one to beat.
 For its loyal customers, Apple has and will continue to have a significant chunk of their trust and commitment. Since the beginning, Apple dominated the market by communicating its exclusivity and how their end goal is to deliver the best user experience to the point of obsession. 
While their exclusivity is their USP, they never let it be communicated in an arrogant manner. Rather it’s one brand that understands the true essence of brand communication and keeps winning hearts with stellar campaigns such as the latest ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign. 
Not only has this garnered applause from users, but even celebrities have generated brilliant (and unsolicited) UGC. 
Apple is the resident god of setting trends and capturing hearts.      
 
Brand loyalists are savage. You can pit an Apple against a OnePlus loyalist and watch them fight it out, while you grab your popcorn. They. Will. Not. Stop. 
It's fascinating really how a brand can have you wrapped around their little finger, not solely basis the products they deliver, but basis the personas rather. While there are other elements that drive customer loyalty, brand communication is vital and more personal, sometimes the very backbone of it all. 
It taps on the dimensions of awareness, customer comprehension and engagement, helping to build a community. Similar to how fandom for a new movie or a new book functions. 
Innovative, clear and impactful brand communication is the only way to convey USPs of any business’s products or services. It helps build a brand image that gets imprinted in your customer’s mind and turns them into loyal zombies (we mean buyers)!
 

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