What brand loyalty lessons can we learn from One Direction? Plenty.

June 1, 2015

Zayn Malik’s recent announcement that he was leaving One Direction after five years might not have raised an eyebrow for you, but for One Directioners the news was like dropping a nuclear bomb of emotion.

Wondering why we’re talking about One Direction?

We’ve got two words for you: brand loyalty.

It’s an essential part of growing your business and can have profound effects for both profit and reputation. And these four guys from the UK have the most rabidly loyal fans since their musical predecessors The Beatles.

The reaction to Zayn’s news was extreme, to say the least, with fans seeking compassionate leave from work and flooding social media with poetic accounts of their broken dreams. Unhappy with the band’s management, one enterprising 1D fan even started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the $87.8 million needed to buy the band.

We can hear you snickering (because we are too).

But before we dismiss this let’s look at the numbers: 

  • 23.3 million – Twitter followers
  • 37 million – Facebook followers
  • $US75 million – earned in 2014 (about $AU97 million)

You don’t earn those figures by accident. It’s clear there are a few things we can learn about brand loyalty from the richest boy band in British music history. Here’s our top three.

1.  Understand your audience

One Direction’s first hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is a catchy, summery tune. The message of the song taps directly into the needs and desires of the tween/teen girl. It’s a reassuring self-esteem boost delivered in a way that’s both safe and exciting. In the song’s video the boys look cute, casual (but not sloppy) and fun – a careful image that’s designed to make them seem attainable. It’s an obvious hit with their target market.

The lesson here: You can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t be trying to. But if you know what your audience or customer wants, you’ll be able to meet their needs and desires in a targeted way. And if you continue to do this, they’ll keep coming back.

2. Make connections

Each of the One Direction boys has about 20 million Twitter followers and the guys reportedly manage their own accounts. They are consistent, prolific tweeters who follow back and respond to fans directly. One Direction give their fans the content they crave: candid and direct access to the boys’ lives. This engaging strategy helps build trust, brand awareness and loyalty.

For the rest of us who aren’t rock stars we can translate this in a few ways. On social media give customers content they want and that adds value. Respond to questions and reviews – whether online or directly. Ask for feedback – and then genuinely do something with it. And actively put work into establishing and maintaining stakeholder relationships. Authentic engagement is a long-term strategy.

3. Consistency builds trust

Like many manufactured bands before them, the 1D boys have been marketed with distinct personas: Harry is charming, Louis is funny, Zayn was mysterious (#foreverinourhearts). And they stick to them, meaning their fans know exactly what kind of “product” they’ll get. McDonald’s also does this well – no matter where you are in the world, you’ll always be able to order the iconic Big Mac.

Ask yourself – do you have processes in place to make sure your customers will have a consistent, positive experience? Consistency builds trust, which is the most important element of building a loyal brand following.

Building brand loyalty takes time.

It would have been easy to write 1D off as one-hit wonders when their first hit broke. But it’s clear that wasn’t theirs, or their management’s strategy. Over the past five years they’ve built up a committed fanbase (some might say a little too committed) that will follow, return and invest in these boys time and again.

It’s something your business can do too. Target the relationships you need, find out what they want, engage, connect and be consistent to build better brand loyalty.

Round Square Marketing can help you build the brand loyalty you want. Talk to us at
07 4632 1990 or at info@rsmarketing.com.au

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