The Three Levels of Brand Loyalty and How to Achieve Them
Decorative image conveying the levels of brand loyalty Decorative image conveying the levels of brand loyalty

Morning Consult

May 30, 2023 at 5:00 am ET

Understanding and achieving brand loyalty is critical for business success. In this article, we delve into the three levels of brand loyalty and explore effective strategies for attaining each level. 

By fully comprehending these levels and implementing the suggested tactics, businesses can cultivate a loyal customer base that propels long-term growth and competitiveness.

    1. Brand awareness
      1. Switchers
      2. Satisfied or habitual buyers
      3. How to build brand awareness
    2. Brand preference
      1. Satisfied buyers with switching costs
      2. Brand likers
      3. How to build brand preference
    3. Brand insistence
      1. Committed buyers
      2. How to achieve brand insistence
    4. Build and measure brand loyalty with Morning Consult 
      1. What level of brand loyalty do your customers fit?
      2. How to build brand loyalty

Brand awareness

Brand awareness is the first level of brand loyalty, targeting potential customers who may be unaware of a brand or have limited knowledge about it. This stage involves capturing the attention of switchers — those open to trying different brands. It is crucial that you differentiate your brand, establish trust, remain top of mind, forge emotional connections and foster a positive word-of-mouth culture through brand awareness efforts in order to convert switchers into satisfied customers.

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Switchers are customers who have no particular loyalty to any brand and are willing to experiment. To capture their interest, businesses should focus on targeted marketing campaigns that highlight their unique value proposition. 

Employ various channels such as social media, online advertisements and influencers to spread brand awareness. You can also offer incentives, like exclusive discounts or free trials, to entice switchers to give your brand a chance.

Satisfied or habitual buyers

Once switchers try a brand and have a positive experience, they transition to becoming satisfied or habitual buyers. At this stage, customers repeatedly purchase products or services. To nurture this level of loyalty, it is crucial to consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Focus on product quality, superior customer service and streamlined purchasing processes. Leverage a custom research solution to gather reliable consumer insights specific to your brand. This helps identify pain points and areas for improvement.

How to build brand awareness

To effectively build brand awareness, businesses should:

  • Identify the target audience: Understand the demographics, preferences and needs of potential customers.
  • Develop a compelling brand story: Craft a unique and authentic narrative that resonates with the target audience.
  • Leverage digital marketing: Use various digital channels to create brand visibility and engage with potential customers.
  • Collaborate with influencers: Partner with influencers or thought leaders who align with the brand’s values and target audience.
  • Engage in community initiatives: Participate in community events or support causes that align with the brand’s values.

Learn more in our guide to building brand awareness with survey research.

Brand preference

Brand preference is the second level of brand loyalty, where customers develop a liking for a particular brand. This preference may be influenced by switching costs or simply the result of a genuine affinity for the brand’s offerings.

Satisfied buyers with switching costs

Satisfied buyers with switching costs are customers who have happily switched from one brand to another, despite any associated costs or barriers. Switching costs refer to the time, effort, money or other resources required for a customer to make the switch.

Switching costs can satisfy and build loyalty among some customers, but they can be a barrier for others. To cater to satisfied buyers with switching costs, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and effectively address their unique needs.

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Brand likers

Brand likers are customers who genuinely enjoy a brand’s products or services and actively recommend them to others. They become brand advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth advertising and influencing others’ purchasing decisions. To foster brand likers, businesses must consistently deliver exceptional value, exceed customer expectations and actively seek and incorporate customer feedback.

How to build brand preference

To effectively build brand preference, businesses should:

  • Focus on customer satisfaction: Continuously monitor customer satisfaction levels and promptly address any issues or concerns.
  • Create a differentiated value proposition: Clearly communicate the unique benefits and features that set your brand apart from competitors.
  • Develop brand loyalty programs: Implement rewards programs or exclusive offers that incentivize customers to remain loyal.
  • Encourage user-generated content: Engage customers in sharing their experiences through testimonials, reviews and social media posts.
  • Provide personalized experiences: Leverage customer data to personalize interactions and recommendations based on individual preferences.

Brand insistence

The pinnacle of brand loyalty is brand insistence, where customers are highly committed to a brand and unlikely to consider alternatives.

Committed buyers

Committed buyers have developed an emotional connection with a brand. They trust the brand implicitly, identify with its values and feel a sense of loyalty that transcends product features or pricing. These customers actively seek out the brand and form a deep bond with it.

How to achieve brand insistence

To achieve brand insistence, businesses should:

  • Foster emotional connections: Develop and communicate a brand identity that resonates emotionally with customers.
  • Deliver consistent excellence: Continuously strive for excellence in all aspects of the customer experience, including product and service quality standards.
  • Offer exclusive experiences: Provide unique experiences, such as VIP events, early access to products or personalized surprises for loyal customers.
  • Cultivate a community: Build a sense of community around the brand, encouraging customer interaction, engagement and peer-to-peer support.
  • Continuously innovate: Stay ahead of customer needs and market trends to anticipate and exceed expectations with new product offerings and improved experiences.

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Build and measure brand loyalty with Morning Consult

To understand and measure the brand loyalty levels of your customers, consider using a Decision Intelligence company like Morning Consult. Our survey research-powered solutions provide valuable insights into consumer attitudes, preferences and brand perception, enabling businesses to gauge their brand’s performance and make data-driven decisions.

What level of brand loyalty do your customers fit?

Morning Consult allows businesses to assess the level of brand loyalty their customers exhibit. By conducting surveys, analyzing data and tracking brand sentiment, businesses can gain a clear understanding of where their customers fall on the loyalty spectrum.

How to build brand loyalty

To effectively build brand loyalty, you should:

  • Understand your customers’ needs and wants,
  • Engage with your customers,
  • Create a customer loyalty program and/or a customer referral program, and
  • Encourage customer feedback.

Learn more about building brand loyalty in our comprehensive guide.

Building brand loyalty is a gradual process that requires strategic planning and continuous efforts. Morning Consult helps you understand the three levels of brand loyalty — brand awareness, brand preference and brand insistence — and implement targeted strategies that can help cultivate a loyal customer base, enabling your company to drive sustainable differentiation, growth and success.

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