Humans are emotional creatures by nature. This is evident in the relationships we form with one other, how we react to art and music, and even our politics and social beliefs. Our emotions can also influence what kind of products we like and can see people form strong sentimental attachments with certain brands and businesses.
As an affiliate program manager, being able to tap into these emotions can yield fantastic results. Marketing is all about psychology, if you understand how the mind works and how to appeal to people on a deeper, more meaningful level, your programs will see greater success. Building brand affinity is critical and is something all program managers and marketers should strive for. In this guide, we take a closer look at what brand affinity is and we discuss how you can build it for your programs and your people.
What do we mean by Brand Affinity?
What exactly does the term brand affinity mean? To put it simply, brand affinity is a positive feeling people have towards a particular brand or business. Let’s think of an example. If you were offered a choice between a Coke or a Pepsi, which would you choose? Taste and flavour will play a role, but your decision will also be influenced by how much affinity you have for one brand compared to the other.
This isn’t just true for the food and drinks sector, but for just about every industry you can imagine. Brand affinity is incredibly important, and it can be a major factor that determines whether a business will succeed or fail.
However, there are key differences between affinity and loyalty. Affinity speaks to a deeper connection, one that is rooted in emotion rather than convenience. You may be loyal to a particular brand because it’s reliable, but you may have an affinity for another due to a personal connection.
What does this mean for affiliate program managers?
There is a lot to consider when it comes to running a successful affiliate program. You’ll be charged with managing a large team and ensuring everyone is working towards a common goal, while always adhering to brand standards and guidelines.
The affiliate marketing industry is booming. The sector is currently valued at over $19.2 billion and is projected to be worth over $39.9 billion by the year 2030. With these incredible figures, there’s never been a better time to be involved with affiliate marketing.
However, the industry’s success means it’s also now more competitive than ever. While there is an increasing number of affiliates, there has also been a significant spike in businesses launching affiliate programs. As an affiliate manager, how can you make your program an attractive option and secure the best affiliate partners? The answer is through building brand affinity.
The first step you need to take towards building brand affinity between your partners and your program is to ensure you provide a high-quality service.
You should have a comprehensive onboarding process that helps all new affiliates get to grips with your program and to help them understand what’s involved and what’s expected of them. Strive to provide plenty of marketing materials and tools that will help affiliates promote products, and you should also commit to paying your partners regularly and on time.
Building brand affinity can be a long and complex process, the first step of which must be ensuring your program is accessible and of high quality. Doing so will help your program stand out in an increasingly saturated market and will begin to build affinity among affiliates and potential partners.
Promoting your values
Quality service isn’t all you need to build brand affinity. We mentioned earlier that brand affinity is about tapping into emotions, and this is something that can’t be achieved solely through the technicalities of the service you provide.
To do so, you must work to promote positive brand values at every step of your program. Affiliate marketing is all about people, and you need to put these people front and centre if you want to build brand affinity and see your program succeed.
Affiliates today can track their campaigns through dashboards and control centres. While these are extremely useful and give partners a degree of autonomy and independence, they are no substitute for real human interaction. Make the effort to get involved with your partners directly, offer advice and guidance and help them maximise results.
This will let your partners know that you see them as more than merely a means through which to sell products and make money. A personal touch can go a long way and can be the key to moving from loyalty to affinity.
You should also focus on promoting diversity and inclusion throughout your program. Society today is highly attuned to issues of diversity and social justice, so through doing so your program will appear contemporary, forward-thinking, and inclusive, which can be key to building brand affinity. Having a diverse team of partners can offer you a number of benefits and can significantly boost brand image and reputation.
When it comes to marketing your program to attract new partners, it’s all about selling a story. Outline how your program can help both your business and your affiliates grow together. If possible, include testimonials from previous and current partners. These can help sell your program as a brand and convey your values and ethos to prospective affiliate partners.
How your brand is perceived is critical no matter what industry you’re in. If you want to elevate your affiliate program and succeed in a fiercely competitive sector, you must market your program effectively and build brand affinity among your partners.
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