How 11 Global Brands Built Armies of Loyal Followers

Discover how 11 global brands built armies of loyal followers. Build brand loyalty with our insider tips and strategies.

Antavo’s cover for its article about brand loyalty

What products and services are customers loyal to? If you asked someone their favorite grocery store or mobile carrier, clothing brand, or even airline, chances are they’d have an answer. Surely, there are also a handful of brands that you are loyal to. Brand loyalty is when customers associate positive feelings towards a brand and continue to purchase from the same brand over and over again, despite competitors offering similar products or services. It has a lot to do with how customers perceive a brand, its actions, and its values. 

Why Is Brand Loyalty Important?

Brand loyalty is a customer’s dedication toward a brand that pushes them to consistently buy their products or services, regardless of competitors, price, or convenience. It’s an important way to help retain customer loyalty and increase repurchase rates.

The nature of brand loyalty has changed dramatically over the past year, according to the 2023 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI). Customers’ decision process has become mostly emotional, trending away from rational values. Following the pandemic, and with shifts in the economy and the political landscape, the norm is now for customers to  take an emotional look at values and ask: ‘How well does this brand meet my expectations?’ These customer expectations make or break brand loyalty.

Creating and maintaining brand loyalty is crucial. Loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, helping to generate a consistent revenue stream for the brand and contributing to long-term financial success. They also help to expand the brand’s customer base through positive word-of-mouth. Also, they are often willing to pay a premium price for a brand’s products or services, which can increase the brand’s profitability. In times of economic downturn or increased competition, a brand with a strong base of loyal customers is more likely to weather the storm and maintain market share.

Walt Disney recognized that, above everything else, brand loyalty begins with an authentic relationship.
Walt Disney recognized that building brand loyalty relies primarily on establishing a genuine connection with customers. Disney exemplifies an emotionally-connected culture with a 70% return rate of first-time visitors. Regardless of who walks through the gates of any Disney theme park, the staff consistently surpasses expectations by providing personalized, unforgettable experiences.

The Difference Between Customer Loyalty and Brand Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the customer’s tendency to purchase repeatedly from a particular business or company. It is all about what you can offer customers regarding regular prices and money-saving offers. It relates to having lower prices than competitors or better discounts on specific products to encourage customers to make repeat purchases.

On the other hand, brand loyalty refers to the customer’s emotional attachment and commitment to a particular brand. Customers believe that certain brands represent higher quality and better service than competitors—and price does not matter. Customers loyal to a brand will buy the company’s products regardless of the price. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with high Net Promoter Scores in brand loyalty grow revenues 2.5 times faster than industry peers. The fact that brand loyalty—a long-term commitment to make repeat purchases from a particular brand—is not so heavily dependent on price makes this metric a potent driver of both profit and profitability.

Harley-Davidson distinguishes itself from other motorcycle manufacturers with its unwavering dedication to fostering customer engagement. Throughout its century-long history, the brand has remained steadfast in providing an exclusive ownership experience that sets it apart. It’s a textbook example of a brand that has evolved through the years while staying true to its roots. 

The Top 11 Brands That Excel at Creating Brand Loyalty

Many brands have succeeded at building brand loyalty, but here are 11 brands that are widely considered the best:

1. Apple – Making Customers Feel Good About Themselves

It’s probably no surprise that the American multinational technology company tops our list. Apple has the highest brand loyalty, measured as the percentage of customers who have purchased a new Apple iPhone and whose previous smartphone was also an iPhone. Apple has seen loyalty rates exceed 90% for the past three years.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Apple:

  1. Design: The sleek, elegant design and attention to detail of Apple products sets the brand apart. It also helps create a strong visual identity for the brand.
  2. User experience: The products are user-friendly, intuitive, and seamless, making their usage enjoyable and hassle-free, which creates a positive association with the brand.
  3. Brand image: Apple’s brand image as an innovative, forward-thinking company at the forefront of technology has helped create a loyal customer base that identifies with the brand’s values and vision.
  4. Ecosystem: Apple’s products are designed to work together seamlessly, creating an ecosystem that is difficult for customers to leave once they have invested in it.
People standing in line for the newest Apple iPhone.
The tech company appeals to customers who value creativity, innovation, and minimalism. And it has maintained its brand identity since its origins in the late ’70s. That’s probably why it has such loyal customers. (Image source)

2. Google – Providing Convenience And Ease of Use

Surely, Google needs no introduction. The company started strong and just kept getting better, becoming the go-to search engine for the Internet in the space of a few years. Google’s ongoing success lies in its dedication to continuous innovation. The company sees innovation as part of its mission and empowers its employees to get creative. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The company has made it easy to discover a broad range of information from a wide variety of sources.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Google:

  1. Quality: Google’s brand image is associated with innovation, intelligence, and efficiency. Their products are known for their quality and reliability. From search to email to cloud storage, Google’s products are consistently well-made and functional, which builds trust and loyalty among customers.
  2. Innovation: Google constantly innovates and introduces new products and features that appeal to customers, making people’s lives easier with their technology.
  3. Privacy and security: The range of privacy and security measures to protect customer data helps build trust and loyalty among customers concerned about online privacy.
  4. Ecosystem: Google has developed an ecosystem of products and services that work seamlessly together, thus creating a cohesive and convenient user experience.
Google’s ongoing success lies in its dedication to continuous innovation.
Google’s algorithm is considerably more advanced than its competitors. With regular updates to keep up with the constantly evolving digital landscape, they are better equipped to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant websites. Therefore, Google’s algorithm is expected to be more adept at determining the most suitable websites for users.(Image source)

3. Amazon – Hyper-Focused on Customer Satisfaction

The success of Amazon, the American multinational technology company, is due in part to its innovative business model, which allows customers to buy anything from books to furniture to electronics online. Amazon consistently seeks to enhance customer satisfaction by creating new merchandise and enhancing its delivery and fulfillment systems. Additionally, Amazon has been willing to experiment with untested concepts, such as offering fresh products or exploring novel markets.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Amazon:

  1. Convenience: The convenience of fast delivery times, easy returns, and a vast selection of products available at the click of a button is a major draw for customers, particularly those who lead busy lifestyles.
  2. Price: Offering competitive prices on a wide range of products helps attract and retain customers who are looking to save money.
  3. Selection: The massive selection of products available means that customers can find almost anything they want on the platform. This makes Amazon a one-stop shop for many customers, which helps build loyalty.
  4. Innovation: Amazon is constantly innovating and introducing new products and services. Their focus on innovation helps keep customers engaged and interested in the brand.
Amazon consistently seeks to enhance customer satisfaction.
Amazon emphasizes a great customer experience, including responsive customer support, easy returns and exchanges, and personalized product recommendations.

4. Nike – Cultivating Customer Trust

Nike has built relationships with customers by understanding their needs and preferences, and catering to them. The brand has been a trendsetter since the very beginning and always seems to find a way to make its way into customers’ lives, making the most of existing trends.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Nike:

  1. Quality: Their products are known for high quality and durability, making them a reliable choice.
  2. Innovation: Nike regularly innovates, always introducing new products that appeal to customers. For example, they were one of the first companies to introduce the concept of athletic shoes with air cushioning, which has become a popular feature of many athletic shoes today.
  3. Brand image: Nike’s brand image is associated with performance, athleticism, and style, which resonates greatly with customers.
  4. Marketing: Nike’s marketing campaigns are known for their creativity and for effectively capturing the attention of their target audience.
Michael Jordan promoting Nike’s Air Jordan.
Nike excels at connecting with athletes who inspire their target audience. For example, basketball superstar Michael Jordan was so famous that young athletes thought his shoes contributed to his success. Their brand loyalty is based more on image than quality, making it one of the best examples of brand loyalty.

5. Patagonia – Contributing to ESG Causes

Patagonia, an American outdoor clothing retailer, is known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical business practices. Supporting ESG causes is increasingly important to brands—plus, it’s one of the top three loyalty program trends for the coming years. Customers appreciate the company’s commitment to its products’ quality. Patagonia offers a lifetime warranty, which has resulted in a community of loyal shoppers who keep coming back. Because the brand focuses on customer experience, data protection, and eco-activism, customers continue to rely on Patagonia every step of the way.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Patagonia:

  1. Environmental sustainability: The company has taken numerous steps to reduce its environmental footprint, such as using recycled materials in its products, promoting responsible sourcing and manufacturing, and donating 1% of sales to environmental causes.
  2. Quality products: Their products are well-known for their durability. The company uses high-quality materials and designs its products to be long-lasting, meaning customers can rely on their gear for years.
  3. Ethical business practices: Patagonia is committed to fair labor practices and has implemented several initiatives to ensure that its workers are treated fairly. The company has also been transparent about its supply chain and has worked to improve conditions for workers in its factories.
  4. Brand values: Patagonia’s brand values align with many of its customers’ values, including environmental stewardship and social responsibility. By promoting these values, Patagonia has created a strong emotional connection with its customers.
Patagonia is known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical business practices.
Patagonia’s message resonates with the environmentally conscious and upscale customers that the brand sees as its target audience. These customers like the idea of buying a product that is made by an environmentally friendly company, in an environmentally friendly manner.

6. Lego – Building Loyalty Brick by Brick

Lego is a highly valued brand for children because it ignites their imagination, enabling them to construct almost anything they desire, dismantle it, and then create something entirely new. Over time, Lego evolved and is now embraced by adults as well. It is now a popular pastime for grown-ups, indicating its significant appeal beyond its primary demographic.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Lego:

  1. Creativity: Lego encourages creativity and imagination. Customers appreciate the ability to create their own designs and build unique creations with Lego bricks. This has helped to create a sense of loyalty among Lego fans, who appreciate the brand’s commitment to creativity.
  2. Quality: Lego is known for high-quality products designed to last, creating a sense of trust. Customers appreciate the durability of Lego bricks and sets, which can be passed down from generation to generation.
  3. Brand values: Lego’s brand values, which include creativity, imagination, and education, align with many of its customers’ values, thus creating a connection with the brand.
  4. Nostalgia: Lego has been around for many decades and is a brand that many people grew up with. Customers often have fond memories of playing with Lego as children and enjoy sharing this experience with their children.
Image of Lego’s website.
Starting a Lego collection is one of the most popular and easily accessible hobbies out there. One of the biggest appeals of Lego is its variety of themed collectors sets.

7. Samsung – Constantly Appealing to Customers

Samsung is one of the world’s largest producers of electronic devices. The technology company boasts a diverse range of exceptional products, demonstrating its flexibility and innovative edge. Moreover, its superior global and product strategies have been pivotal in helping the company achieve greater success than many of its rivals.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Samsung:

  1. Quality: Their wide range of products are known for their high quality and durability, which makes them a reliable choice for customers.
  2. Innovation: Samsung is known for its cutting-edge technology, which attracts customers who are looking for the latest and greatest.
  3. Brand image: Samsung’s brand image is associated with innovation, style, and reliability, which has helped the brand build a loyal customer base.
  4. Ecosystem: Samsung products and services work seamlessly together. For example, Samsung phones can connect with Samsung TVs and home appliances, creating a cohesive and convenient user experience. 
Samsung is one of the world's largest producers of electronic devices.
Samsung produces a wide variety of consumer and industry electronics, including appliances, digital media devices, semiconductors, memory chips, and integrated systems.

8. Adidas – Keeping Customers in Mind

Adidas is known for its distinctive and fashionable designs, which appeal to customers who prioritize style and trends. The brand devotes equal attention to innovation and meeting customer needs, investing significant effort in researching and developing new footwear technologies. One notable example of this commitment is Boost technology, which was introduced in the Y3 series. This technology revolutionized the footwear industry.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Adidas:

  1. Quality: Adidas has a reputation for producing high-quality products, and customers appreciate their durability and performance, which leads to repeat purchases and loyalty.
  2. Brand identity: Adidas has a strong brand identity, which includes its iconic three-stripe logo and the slogan “Impossible is Nothing.”
  3. Innovation: The brand invests heavily in research and development to create new products and technologies. Customers appreciate the company’s commitment to innovation, which influences their decision to remain loyal to the brand.
  4. Marketing: A strong marketing presence across various channels, including social media, sponsorships, and advertising campaigns, have helped increase brand awareness and create positive associations with the brand.
Adidas also works with high-profile athletes and celebrities, like Pharrell Williams.
Adidas also works with high-profile athletes and celebrities, which can also drive customer loyalty among fans of those individuals. For instance their partnership with visionary recording artist, producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams. The adidas Originals x Pharrell Williams collaboration is an extension of Pharrell’s vision to meld fashion, design and functionality to create quality everyday staples.(Image source)

9. Starbucks – Creating a Unique Relationship With Customers

Starbucks’ popularity can be attributed to the warm and inviting atmosphere the brand has created for customers to savor its beverages. The company has created a strong brand image as a socially responsible company that cares about its customers and the environment. Although priced higher than many alternatives, Starbucks’ drinks represent an accessible indulgence from a highly esteemed brand. The company’s strategic use of digital technology, limited edition beverages, and mobile applications have also contributed to its appeal.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Starbucks:

  1. Quality: Known for using high-quality coffee beans and ingredients, Starbucks customers appreciate the consistent quality of their products.
  2. Customer experience: Starbucks has created a unique customer experience that focuses on creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere in its stores. This includes everything from the cozy decor to the personalized service that customers receive from baristas.
  3. Loyalty program: Starbucks Rewards rewards customers for making purchases and offers personalized recommendations based on their preferences, making them feel valued and appreciated.
  4. Convenience: Starbucks’ vast network of stores provides convenience to its customers. They also offer a mobile ordering system that allows customers to place orders ahead of time and skip the line.
Starbucks’ loyalty program also contributes to its appeal.
Starbucks is an excellent example of how businesses need not always engage in price, quality, or value-based competition. Rather, the brand, customer experience, and convenience can often play a more significant role in shaping consumer behavior.

10. Sephora – Beauty for Everyone, Everywhere

Customers are increasingly demanding customization in their shopping experience—especially if they’re shelling out for luxuries like makeup. Sephora understands this demand and delivers it to customers through product samples, interactive displays, makeup demonstrations, and other initiatives that make shopping for beauty products more enjoyable. Sephora’s personalized approach also extends to its online shopping platform, which has been a significant factor in maintaining customer loyalty and contributing to its success.

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Sephora:

  1. Brand diversity: Sephora has a wide selection of beauty products, including makeup, skincare, and hair care, from a variety of brands. The brand caters to everyone’s needs. Sephora offers products from both well-known and up-and-coming beauty brands, which allows customers to discover new and unique products.
  2. Expertise: Sephora’s employees are known for their expertise in the beauty industry. They receive extensive training and are able to provide personalized recommendations to customers based on their needs and preferences.
  3. Loyalty program: Sephora’s Beauty Insider is one of the best loyalty programs out there, offering exclusive perks and discounts to its members.
  4. In-store and online experience: Sephora stores are designed to provide customers with a unique and immersive experience. Their website and app also offer a seamless online shopping experience, making it easy for customers to shop anywhere, anytime.
Sephora’ Beauty Squad is one of the most diverse and inclusive communities of creators in the beauty industry. 

11. Coca-Cola – Creating a Shareable Experience

Coca-Cola has managed to connect with customers in all parts of the world, becoming one of the largest leading manufacturers and distributors. The secret of the brand’s success lies in the fact that the company focuses on the connection between happiness and wellness. Every year, Coca-Cola has played a part in happy occasions around the globe, including Ramadan, Eid, Christmas, and events like festivals, connecting with each of its customers. 

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Top reasons customers are loyal to Coca-Cola:

  1. Sentimentality: Coca-Cola has a unique and recognizable taste that is loved by many. Its formula has remained largely unchanged for over a century, which creates a sense of nostalgia and familiarity among customers.
  2. Advertising: From the iconic “Share a Coke” campaign to the annual holiday ads, Coca-Cola has a long history of creating memorable and effective advertising campaigns helping the brand create an emotional connection with customers. 
  3. Availability: Coca-Cola is widely available in stores and restaurants around the world, making it a convenient choice for customers.
  4. Brand loyalty: Many people grew up drinking Coca-Cola and have fond memories associated with the brand. This emotional connection helps build and maintain loyalty over time.
A billboard at night showing the mere exposure effect in action.
Coca-Cola has perfected the art of creating memories to increase brand loyalty. People associate the drink with the ‘good old days.’ Their advertisements show that Coke brings people together; it helps to start conversations and spread joy. (Image source)

Brand Loyalty’s Long-Term Impact on Business

A critical factor in building brand loyalty is developing a connection or relationship between the customer and the brand. Creating an emotional relationship leads to a strong bond and a competitive advantage for that particular brand. The goal of building brand loyalty is to create long-term ambassadors that support your brand. After all, loyal customers are more likely to recommend you to their friends, support future launches and talk about your brand on social media.

If you’re interested, we’re always ready to showcase our sophisticated loyalty solutions that help you increase brand loyalty, so feel free to book a demo or send us your RFP.

And don’t forget to download Antavo’s Customer Loyalty Report, an in-depth report, which showcases dozens of statistics and future industry trends to help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.

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Headshot of Barbara Kekes-Szabo Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo

Barbara Kekes-Szabo

Barbara is a Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional - CLMP. She is also a writing expert with several years of experience in marketing and also in the information technology industry. In her free time she likes traveling the world, reading crime stories, and doing crossword puzzles.

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