Chartered Institute of Public Relations

First impressions matter for brand loyalty

People are amazingly loyal to Apple. Even though something like the Samsung Galaxy S5 has several superior features compared with an iPhone, you just try luring those Apple fans away. And even though people have occasional problems with the Apple Macintosh when trying to make presentations with them, or when trying to share files with PC users, they still stick to their favoured computer. In spite of these issues, survey after survey places Apple as the “Number One Brand”.

So why are people so loyal to Apple? After all, they can get phones and computers much cheaper. Apple offers no discounts, yet the people who use their expensive products love them, even whilst accepting that an Android device, for instance, would be better for their needs. But, they stick to Apple as though they were glued together.

New research shows why – it is down to first impressions. In spite of all the theories about marketing and the endless amount of data being analysed on branding, it seems that our loyalty to a brand is defined by our first experience.

Chart of brand loyalty statistics

What do you get from Apple? Great design, a pleasing device and a store that has plenty of friendly, willing and helpful staff. Compare that with having to queue in a franchise store to get information about a cheap Android phone that the sales assistant knows little about.

Back in 1975, the American R&B band, The Impressions reached Number 16 in the UK Singles Charts with their song “First Impressions” which contained the line “first impressions are lasting impressions”. Of course, they were singing about love, but their lyrics ring true for brands, it seems as well.

What this all means is that if you want people to be loyal to your business, products and services, you need to have a website that really socks it to them in an instant. You need to back that up with exceptional service and you need to produce attractive and pleasing items. Even if people accept that there are better or cheaper alternatives to what you sell, they will stick with you because their first impression was fantastic.

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I am an Internet Psychologist studying how people behave online, enabling businesses to find out more about customer and consumer behaviour. I am the author of "Click.ology: What Works in Online Shopping" and 28 other books.

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Graham Jones

Graham Jones
I am an Internet Psychologist studying how people behave online, enabling businesses to find out more about customer and consumer behaviour. I am the author of "Click.ology: What Works in Online Shopping" and 28 other books. 
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