How To Build and Measure Brand Affinity

Digital advertising allows brands to reach out to their customer base directly across a vast landscape of channels, providing more options than ever to deliver their messaging and engage with consumers. Brands can use this opportunity to develop deeper relationships with their customers, making sure they feel that they are being heard and listened to, building lifetime value.

If a customer believes that your business shares their values and philosophy, they are more likely to remain a loyal customer for years to come. This concept is called brand affinity, and it is currently a top priority in the strategies of many top brands. 

You may be wondering how to measure brand affinity – luckily, this can actually be surprisingly simple. Read on to learn more.

Is Brand Affinity the Same Thing as Having Loyal Customers?

While the concept of brand affinity may initially appear like a simple renaming of the age-old idea of customer loyalty, when you dig deeper, there are actually marked differences when you compare brand affinity vs brand loyalty. 

Customers may be loyal to your business for several reasons, but usually, brand loyalty stems from a rational calculation. The customer has purchased from your business in the past and has been satisfied with your products or services. They may like the quality of your product or believe that your company gives them value at a price they are unable to find elsewhere. Perhaps they needed to return an item or to have a product repaired or replaced, and they were satisfied with your excellent customer service. Perhaps their family has been buying your company’s products since they were young, and they continue to do so out of habit.

In all these cases, the connection or relationship is relatively shallow and usually stems from the value they believe your business can provide for them. If one of their friends or another company’s ad convinces them to try some other product and they like it more, it is very possible that they will switch. 

Brand affinity is a customer experience and customer relationship that goes deeper. The definition of brand affinity is a case where your customers believe your company shares their personal values. This emotional connection creates a deeper relationship. If you have built high brand affinity, then your customers buy your products because they like what your business represents. Even if they try another company’s product and like it more than yours, they may still continue to purchase from you because they believe your business is more closely aligned with their personal values. 

Why Is Measuring Brand Affinity Necessary for Growing a Business?

Consumer demographics are changing. Gen Z spending is increasing year by year, and this demographic is projected to become the dominant U.S. spending generation within the next 10 years. Every generation has its prime spending years, beginning once its members finish college and begin their careers. Spending for most people tends to then increase until it peaks at the age of 45-54, when it begins to slowly decline. 

Currently, Baby Boomers and Gen X are at the point where their spending is on the decline, while the spending of millennials and Gen Z is still rising. This means that brands that want to remain relevant for years into the future need to shift their strategies to target younger generations.

Studies have found that younger generations, and especially Gen Z, are discerning consumers. They want to buy from companies they believe are trying to make the world a better place and share their particular values and philosophy. Focusing on increasing your brand affinity and customer satisfaction, then, is one of the best ways to ensure the longevity and success of your business.

Before you can start, of course, it’s important to know where you currently stand. Businesses that want to continue growing must accurately measure their brand affinity.

How Do You Increase Brand Affinity?

So, what steps can businesses take to build brand affinity and improve their relationship with their customers? Here are a few best practices.

Pinpoint Who Your Target Audience Is

In order to know what values your customers expect your business to support, you need to know who they actually are. Even if you know the general demographics of your audience, remember that no group or generation is a monolith. Through more detailed data analysis, you can paint a much more detailed picture of what your customer base really looks like at the moment. Data science tools backed by AI-driven technologies, like those leveraged by AUDIENCEX, can draw from numerous data sources and real-time analytics to help you more accurately identify who your customers are.

Once you know the identity of your customer base, you need to decide whether you want to continue marketing to them or whether a change in strategy is necessary. For example, if the majority of your customers are from older generations, it may be good to consider a product and marketing strategy that appeals to younger consumers. 

Once you’ve pinpointed your target audience, thoroughly research their values and beliefs. For your strategy to truly be successful, you must let go of any preconceptions you may have subconsciously collected. Try to focus on unbiased studies on consumer behaviors and ask questions of your target audience directly. 

One of the best things you can do to learn your target audience’s values is to ensure your company employs members of that audience. Make them an integral part of the crafting of your product and marketing strategies. 

Know How Your Brand Comes off to Your Potential Customers

The way the public and your potential customers view your brand can change with every product and decision you make. Consequently, it is important to regularly and consistently audit your brand affinity and how your brand is seen by others. You can do this by analyzing changes in sentiment in online reviews and comments, customer service satisfaction and feedback, and your brand’s interactions on social media. 

Do not shy away from including criticism in your overall analysis. While not all online criticism is rational or helpful, knowing exactly why certain people view your brand in a negative light can be one of the best tools you need to optimize your messaging to appeal to a wider audience.

Once you know how your current customers and the audiences you want to target currently view your brand you can focus on crafting your brand affinity strategy.

Align With Your Customer Base Core Values and Stay On Message

Brands that want to succeed in building brand affinity need to create and maintain a clear and focused brand identity. Take the primary values and philosophy of your main target audience and base your brand identity on these values.

Staying on message doesn’t just mean saying the right things, though. It also means orienting your company’s actions to follow those same values. As always, actions speak louder than words. If your audience believes that your company’s commitment to their values is insincere, that may damage your relationship with many of them.

Differentiate Yourself From Competitors With the Content You Produce

Increasing your brand affinity means strengthening the relationships between your brand and your customers. Companies trying to do this can take inspiration from real-world relationships — to create and strengthen healthy relationships, people need to spend time together. During that time, they have the opportunity to notice any similarities between them, like common interests and values. 

You want your potential customers to spend as much time as possible around your brand in a positive context. The best way to do this is to create relevant and binge-worthy content that they will enjoy. Integrate your brand into this content but make sure it is not the main focus. A good rule of thumb is to see whether the content would be entertaining and stand out if all mentions of your brand were removed. If so, the content has a much better chance of captivating your target audience. 

Make sure that the content you create shows how your brand embodies the identity and values you have chosen. Try to do this subtly and tastefully. While it can be ok to say outright that your company is committed to certain values, it is often better to show, not tell.

The more your target audience watches and enjoys your content, the more likely they are to view your brand positively. As they see your ongoing support for their values, brand affinity will increase.

Focus On Personal Connections Over Converting

You don’t want to make it seem like you’re trying too hard. Don’t focus on being the loudest voice in the crowd. Don’t worry about attracting the maximum amount of new customers at the expense of everything else.

Instead, prioritize personal connections with your current audience. Focus on maintaining and building a long-term relationship with your current customers. Make sure to listen and respond to customer concerns. Again, your brand’s actions will mean much more to many of your customers than any statements you make. 

When your brand affinity is high, your customers will be your best advertisers and marketers. They will recommend your products to friends, family, and anyone else who will listen. A passionate customer base is one of the most valuable assets a brand can have.

How Do You Measure Brand Affinity?

Focus on measuring how your brand and content resonates with your target audience, not how many people it reaches. Here are some of the best statistics you can use to measure your brand affinity: 

Time Spent on Your Content

Use analytics provided by platforms like YouTube and Facebook to measure how many hours in total your audience has spent consuming your content. Platforms usually share both how many individual views your content received and how long people watched it. You want both of these numbers to go up, but how long your audience watched your content can be most indicative of brand affinity. If your audience is watching more and more of your content, that usually means that the content resonates with them.

Search Volume

Google offers free search analytics that list the number of searches for your brand name and other related keywords recently. Higher search volume signifies higher interest. This data can be a good way to evaluate how effectively you are raising interest in your brand. Checking search volume for searches with your brand name and the values you want to promote — for example, “Patagonia environmental activism” — can be a good way to determine whether customers are increasingly aware of your commitment to those values.

Increases or Decreases in Subscribers

Increases and decreases in subscribers or followers on social media platforms can be good indicators of how your audience views your brand and the content and products you produce. A decrease in subscribers usually signifies a problem — either your content no longer appeals to your audience, or their perception of your brand has become more negative. In contrast, an increase in subscribers is usually a good sign. It means more people are finding your brand and deciding they want to see more of what you have to offer.

Engagement With Your Content

If more and more people are positively engaging with your brand’s content and social media posts, that can indicate that brand affinity is rising. Things like the number of social media likes, comments, and shares can be a good measure of engagement. Also, because much of social media engagement is publicly visible, this is an easy area to compare your brand with competitors and see if you’re doing better or worse.

Drive Growth With the Right Partner

Measuring and increasing brand affinity is essential for businesses that want to create long-term relationships with their customers, and partnering with an experienced team of professionals can help make your brand affinity marketing easier and more effective. 

AUDIENCEX offers the AI-driven data science technology you need to gain deep insights into your existing customer base and to expand into custom audiences that align with your brand identity. With our seamless media access and strategic expertise, we leverage these tools throughout the digital landscape to ensure that you achieve performance throughout the entire purchase funnel. We make every touchpoint measurable, offering continuous optimization and real-time insights to help you build stronger connections with your customers on every step of their journey.

To learn more about how our solutions can help you foster meaningful engagement with your audience and maximize your performance potential, reach out today. We would love to connect and discuss your needs and goals.