Loyalty is the key driver of brand growth

Oliver Hupp

The findings from two new studies show that penetration is not the predominant driver of brand growth and that relationship equity explains the difference in market success. This comes from building a higher number of positive emotional relationships with consumers through more memorable brand experiences.

Professor Byron Sharp is one of the marketing masters of our age. His best-selling books, How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know and the follow-up, co-authored with Jenni Romaniuk, How Brands Grow: Part 2, have become indispensable resources for strategic marketers ever since the first book's initial publication in 2010.

At the core of Professor Sharp's thinking is a belief that increase of market share and brand growth are the result of higher penetration and more light and occasional buyers. This view has made increasing penetration the Holy Grail of marketing, naturally suggesting that brand managers should focus their attention on attracting new buyers and less on strengthening the bond of loyal buyers in order to achieve market success.