This website uses cookies
This website uses cookies, some of which are necessary for the operation of the website and some of which are designed to improve your experience. You can review the cookies we use here. If you are happy with the use of these cookies please continue to browse our website. You may adjust your cookie settings via your chosen browser tools.
accept cookies

Click the edit button to change this HTML

  1. WM
  2. /

Brand Loyalty No Longer Means Exclusivity

Today’s abundance of choice has brought about a significant paradigm shift in consumer loyalty. In the past consumers were loyal to brands, today consumers expect, if not, demand that brands be “loyal” to them. Layer on curators (i.e. Amazon) acting as filters or guarantors of brands and what we have is a ‘New Loyalty’ model as unveiled in Wavemaker & Buzzfeed’s joint research study titled “Flipping the Switch on Brand Loyalty”.


The study illuminates a critical and often misunderstood part of the purchase journey that we’ve been studying at Wavemaker. The Priming Stage, also known as everyday life, is where consumers are formulating their opinion of brands or ‘biases’ and identifying those which best reflect their values.

Karima Zmerli,Ph.D., Chief Data Sciences Officer

Here’s what we uncovered:

Polyamory Is the New Normal – Most Consumers Are Loyal to a Consideration Set of Brands

Brand choice is rarely exclusive; consumer’s most often select from a small set of brands.
believe they
have more choice
2-4 brands
are open to
switching brands
start from
scratch every time

Consumers Expect Brands to Reflect Who They Are 

Consumers no longer look to brands for direction and authority but rather to cater to them; they want to know that a brand serves the brand of me. Consumers are most likely to stick with brands if:
socially responsible

Consumers Look to Digital Platforms to Curate Relevant Experiences

The Digital Age has empowered consumers to filter down to products / brands they want to see and consider; yet their need for simplicity has given rise to a heightened expectation of relevancy.
86% believe buying online has made their lives better
71% like it when online retailers curate what they should buy 
66% have switched brands after something they saw on Amazon
61% often purchase an Amazon recommended brand instead

Loyalty to brands still exists but the key drivers for how consumers choose brands has drastically changed. Ultimately, for a brand to grow and capture new customers, they must remain continuously relevant and do so in the face of increased expectations of personalization and customization.

Ashmeed Ali, Senior Director, Research at BuzzFeed

What this means for brands

Gone are the days of simply touting product attributes. Today’s brand narrative must transcend the product and reflect what matters to consumers. It’s no longer simply about how the product performs, but rather how the product fits, and in many ways, enhances their lives. Consumers are now asking -- does the brand include me, love me, and will it evolve over time to meet my needs?

Below are simple practices that marketers can adopt to drive better outcomes and ensure healthy growth of consumers.

  • Always be in conquesting mode, identifying the best audience opportunities on an ongoing vs. annual cadence.
  • Use data thoughtfully to find audiences who are most likely to convert in the channels where it resonates most.
  • Drive synergy between media and message to create more personalized connections and value-based experiences.
  • Develop personalized post-purchase communication strategies to improve bias across the purchase journey.

For more information on this study or to explore ways to leverage audience and communications insights to retain and grow your customers, contact

You can also download a PDF of this infographic here.

Source:  Wavemaker & Buzzfeed -  Flipping the Switch: Redefining Brand Loyalty, Survey Research