Brand loyalty means the degree to which a consumer consistently purchases the same brand within a specific product category. Companies fight for brand loyalty because it correlates well with product sales.

It’s a great asset for a brand because brand loyalty decreases marketing expenses for the company. Additionally, loyal consumers are usually willing to pay more for products and are more forgiving when something negative happens about the brand, and so on.

Ever wonder why people tend to buy coke in soft drinks, Apple considers as a premium tech company, Fogg in deo, and cad-bury in the chocolate segment.

Well, according to Christie Nordhielm, a clinical associate professor of marketing at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, customers can be grouped into 3 main categories of loyalty: head, hand and heart.

Consumer involvement refers to the degree of information processing or the extent of importance a consumer attaches to a product. Now, let’s try to think about how emotional and functional aspects of brand relationships and consumer involvement may relate to brand loyalty.

Christie Nordhielm provides three types of brand loyalty and suggests that brands should tailor their marketing efforts according to these three types of brand loyalty. Head loyalty, heart loyalty, and hand loyalty.

You may see how these different loyalty types can be located onto dimensions with regards to consumer’s involvement, emotional and rational involvement with the product. Head loyalty requires strong rational involvement.

Graph Explaining types of loyal customers and their loyalty towards brand

1) Head Loyalty Customers

These types of customers are more logical and smart. they look at various stats and then go with the final product.

Head consumers buying products genuinely have one or more specific reasons for this and they can easily articulate this. state such as

Example: “I bought this car as It has higher safety ratings” or “I thoughts these shoes because they help me to increase athletic performance” are the examples of these

Consumers usually generate head loyalty to products that are attributed compatible and can be differentiated from other products. Because consumers just interested in the attributed company need to do lots of improvements to products and need to promote them heavily.

Competitors seeking to steals head customers generally need t to provide compete and rational arguments for their brand.

2) Heart Loyalty Customers

Heart loyalty on the other hand requires a strong emotional level to that particular brand.

When a customers says “I Love my Iphone” she is executing heart loyalty

Customers usually have heart loyalty to the products that are a consumer in public and hold to reflect the identity of the person consuming that. its head to challenge this type of loyalty.

because a relationship with the brand is highly personal and emotional with the brand and hence resistance to the rational appeals because the product choice is tied up with the consumer identity and eager the competitive challenge in this choice can even be personal and persued as personal upfront to the consumer.

Heart Loyal customers don’t want to be told that they should switch to another brand. Brands with heart loyalty customers continuously need to demonstrate their consumers that they hear and understand them.

3) Hand Loyalty Customers

Hand loyalty doesn’t need to require high involvement with the product. Hand Loyalty is habitual.

The consumer is loyal to the product not because of emotional or rational involvement but because of the routine that they have established. Their commitment to the brand is low and their interest in depending on the resources necessary to search for a replacement is even lower.

Example: “This toothpaste is fine” these are hand loyalty customers’ statements.

The challenge for the competitors seeking to steal hand loyal customers is to convince them it is worth to think about changing.

However, because consumers have low involvement they don’t even think about the decision before purchasing products. its harder for competitors to make consumers think about change.

A consumer with hand loyalty sees familiarity. Brands with hand loyal consumers try to maintain their habits so product changes should be very shuttle and gradual. The

The challenge with the brand loyalty approach is that, the skills and the resources. The firm needs to maintain consumer’s types of loyalty are very different. Additionally, consumers may start one kind of loyalty and shift to another and it may be very difficult to make the shift.

The marketing program is aimed at one type of loyalty and the consumer on that category shifts then the results may be a serious loss to the company both in the terms of loyalty and sales.

So, Brands needs to examine the way a consumer feels loyal to them and be prepared to adjust their activities accordingly.