Brand Loyalty in the Digital Age

This article is part of a series of articles on building brand loyalty in the digital age. Read more.

There are several schools of thought that argue that 'loyalty' is dead – including, for example, the Byron Sharp disciples of the world. They argue that countless millions have been wasted on ineffective loyalty programs and that marketing should focus on driving mass penetration instead.

Sharp isn't wrong – brands do need to invest in a consistent presence, driving 'mental availability' alongside distribution. You can't expect buyers to buy when they don't know you're there, no matter how loyal they are. And he isn't wrong that loyalty, when simply used as a proxy for repeat purchase the way much of our industry still does, is an old-fashioned concept. But loyalty in the context of digital means something else. Loyalty isn't dead. As brand owners, we just need to rethink and broaden our definition of what loyalty means.