Brand Affinity: Strategies to Improve Market Share and Brand Reputation

Explore the importance of brand affinity, its role in increasing market share and strategies to drive advocacy for prospective customers.

Picture of Rob White Rob White

Published: 20 Jun 2024

9 minutes read

Brand Affinity: Strategies to Improve Market Share and Brand Reputation - Axon Garside

B2B buyer behaviour has - and is - rapidly evolving.

According to a Gartner report, a staggering 77% of B2B purchasers now prefer to conduct thorough personal research before even considering a conversation with a salesperson. This has prompted businesses to create brands that become the go-to choice in the minds of buyers as they enter the market

With potential customers independently seeking information, browsing through reviews on comparison sites, and consulting peers, being the product that’s top of mind is crucial.

This is where brand affinity comes into play.


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What is Brand Affinity?

Brand affinity isn’t a term which can be defined in a single sentence.

The definition for 'brand' typically refers to a type of product/service by a particular company under a specific name.

'Affinity', on the other hand, is the natural understanding or liking of a specific product. 
Combining these, brand affinity emerges as a measure of how many people naturally prefer and connect with your brand or product within your vertical.

In the echo chamber that is marketing, measuring brand affinity helps give insight into the depth of a brand’s relationship with its audience. It measures not only how often your brand is the first choice among consumers but also how much a particular market segment inherently prefers your brand over others.

It offers valuable insights into how well your brand resonates emotionally and practically with its target audience helping give insight as to how you can gain a foothold with your target market.


Brand affinity vs Brand loyalty

We can hear you saying it…

“What’s the difference between this and brand loyalty”

We look at the two through different lenses.

Brand loyalty is a consumer's consistent positive feelings towards a product they’ve used before. This is coupled with a commitment to repeatedly purchase the brand's products or services, despite any other alternative options. Most importantly, brand loyalty measures commitment from existing customers.

In contrast, brand affinity extends beyond just those who have already purchased from you. It looks at both existing customers and potential prospects.

Brand affinity seeks to capture the overall emotional connection and preference your brand inspires across your target addressable marketing (TAM). Brand loyalty, on the other hand, focuses on metrics such as churn rate, customer lifetime value, and total order or contract value amongst current consumers.


How to Measure Brand Affinity

Though brand affinity can be quantified in several ways, applying a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t impossible.  

To effectively measure  brand affinity, businesses must combine qualitative and quantitative data:


Brand Affinity Metrics:

Quantitative Metrics

  • Total Addressable Market (TAM): This refers to the total number of potential customers within your ideal sector.

    While TAM itself isn’t directly tied to brand affinity, it helps provide context and scale for more specific metrics down the funnel.
  • Market Share: This is the number of customers in your total addressable market. This is where you can start to quantify how much of your target market has converted into customers.
  • Total % Engaged from TAM: This metric outlines the amount of prospects you’ve engaged previously and are aware that your solution exists.

    If you have a high engagement rate, but few people choosing your solution, this suggests you have low brand affinity, compared to your competition.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey: Traditionally a measure of brand loyalty, NPS can also reflect brand affinity. It provides an insight into how your customers view your service and the likelihood of them recommending it to their peers.


Qualitative Metrics

  • Review Sites: You can analyse the opinions of people using your product using review sites such as G2 or Capterra.

    Specific to G2, you can be pitted against competitors and they measure 'Market Presence’.  This ranks products against competitors based on user feedback and engagement.
  • Closed Won/Loss Interviews: Conduct interviews with prospects who did and didn’t convert into customers. This’ll provide insights into what’s working well, and help you put plans in place to improve in the future. 


H2: How Brand Affinity Can Affect Your Market Share

Brand affinity has a direct and measurable impact on your market share. Therefore, it’s important not to disregard it - it isn’t a throwaway metric.

In the B2B sector, purchasing decisions aren’t made impulsively. Before a prospect makes a purchase, they need to know, like, and trust a brand. If they don’t trust you, they won’t invest in your product.

Forming strong relationships with your target market fosters a customer base that contributes to your immediate sales and bolsters your market share through repeat business and referrals. In essence, brand affinity lays the groundwork to grow market influence and share.

So, what steps can you take to build brand affinity?


How to Build Brand Affinity

Here are five effective strategies to enhance your brand's resonance with its target audience:


1. Research Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Persona

Start by conducting a thorough analysis of the users who derive the most value from your product. You can do this by:


Collecting Customer Data

Utilise multiple sources from your CRM, including contact and deal data, to gather comprehensive insights on the people who get the most value from your service.

If you currently don’t have a CRM, you can gather information about your prospects via social media and other listening tools such as SparkToro, keyword tools like Ahrefs or, more simply, speak to your sales team to get a broader idea of the people you’re selling to. All of these extract valuable information about communication preferences, challenges, and buying behaviour.


Segmenting Your Audience

Segment your audience using demographics, jobs, and behavioural data, to determine which prospects are more likely to become actual customers.

This will help you prioritise segments based on revenue potential, growth opportunity, and alignment with business goals. Using HubSpot, you can do this via lists, creating segmented lists based on certain properties that meet your criteria.

You will only be able to segment data if you have stringent data processes. If you’re working off unenriched spreadsheets shared across departments, segmenting your data will be tough as you probably won't have a single source of data.

By doing this, you will be able to identify common buyer behaviours and pain points within each segment. You should also incorporate direct customer feedback and qualitative insight to help understand the exact challenges and opportunities within these audience segments.


Creating Detailed Personas

The final step to researching your ICP is to build thorough personas detailing each customer segment.

You can develop buyer personas in one of two ways:

  • Through their job title and jobs to be done
  • Through specific pain points

The persona should be a deep outline of the pains, behavioural traits, personal challenges, goals and purchase readiness of the person you’re selling to. This will be able to fuel marketing and sales content that is directly tailored to the specific needs of your prospects.

Within this document, which should be agreed upon and used business-wide, outline the typical customer journey for each persona, identifying key touchpoints within their buying journey. This can be identified, once again, through the use of a CRM.


2. Produce Helpful and Informational Content

Based on your customer insights, begin creating content that addresses the specific problems and questions of your ICP.

Content should be informative and authoritative to position your brand as the go-to expert in your field. This approach not only attracts potential customers but also builds trust, credibility and, most importantly, affinity with your prospective buyers.


3. Promote Content in the Right Channels

Your blog isn't the only venue for sharing your content.

Engaging with your audience where they naturally congregate—such as LinkedIn for professional content or niche forums related to your industry—is crucial.

To promote your content, you need to identify the platforms your audience resides in and tailor your content for each.


Identifying Your Audience's Communities

Here are the easiest ways to discover where your audience spends their time:

  • Analyse Website Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Look for referral sources to identify popular platforms.
  • Complete Customer Surveys: Conduct buyer interviews with your customers. You can use these interviews to discover where they go to get information and how they prefer to consume content.
  • Monitor Social Media: Connect with and research what your ideal customers are putting and engaging with on social media platforms. This will help you see key cohorts and groups they’re engaging with and, potentially, communities they’re a part of.

You can also use tools like the aforementioned SparkToro, which will help you identify key trade communities, podcasts and magazines that are read by that cohort.


4. Build a Customer-Centric Culture

To help build a community around your product, you can foster a sense of community among your users.

You can do this one of two ways:

You can either create a dedicated space for your customers to interact. HubSpot do this particularly well with HubSpot’s Community forum.

Actively participate in existing communities where your customers are present.

This is often referred to as community-led marketing. To make the most out of this approach, you need to:


Be Authentic

Honesty is key when talking with prospective buyers.

Be genuine in your interactions and deliver as much value as possible to the community members. People don’t want a sales pitch in a community where they value honesty and transparency.

Make sure you’re always aiming to deliver value with what you’re saying, and not trying to sell value.


Value Contribution Over Promotion

This goes hand in hand with the previous point.

Community-led marketing, when executed well, is leading with value and helping other community members solve their pains/problems. If your product covertly solves that problem then great.

But to build affinity with your brand, you need to be seen as the thought leader - almost like a genie for all their wishes. Once you’re seen as a ‘community leader’, community members will share their experiences and content related to you and, potentially more importantly, related to your business.


Build Relationships

Building natural connections should come as a result of completing the first couple of steps for a continuous period.

Engaging regularly cements you as a pillar within the community and promotes yourself, and your company, as a thought leader. By doing this, you’ll be building affinity with prospects that recognise you as the brand.


Have Great Customer Service

Despite lending itself brand loyalty, having exceptional customer service is important for creating affinity with your brand.

Ensuring that customers find value in your product encourages them not only to continue using your service but also to advocate for your brand in the aforementioned channels, driving new customers via word of mouth.


Elevating Brand Affinity to Capture Market Share

The path to increasing market share and enhancing brand reputation hinges on your ability to connect deeply with both prospects and existing customers or, in other words, by ensuring your brand has a deep affinity with its prospects.

Implementing the aforementioned strategies will help your brand resonate more effectively with its audience and also build lasting relationships that drive loyalty and advocacy.

By prioritising brand affinity, you position your brand to thrive in a competitive marketplace, turning casual browsers into loyal customers.

Ready to boost market share?

 Need support driving affinity for your brand? Get in touch with us today to form a community-led marketing strategy. 

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