The American Marketing Association defines brand loyalty as:
The situation in which a consumer generally buys the same manufacturer originated product or service repeatedly over time rather than buying from multiple suppliers within the category. Brand loyalty is more than simple repurchasing, however. True brand loyalty exists when customers have a high relative attitude toward the brand which is then exhibited through repurchase behavior. This type of loyalty can be a great asset to the firm.
Customers are willing to pay higher prices, they may cost less to serve, and can bring new customers to the firm. Brand loyalty occurs because consumers perceive that the brand offers the right product features, images or level of quality at the right price. This perception becomes the foundation for a new buying habit. For example, if Joe has brand loyalty to Company A he will purchase Company A's products even if Company B's are cheaper or of a higher quality.
The second dimension, however, is whether the customer is committed to the brand. Philip Kotler, again, defines four patterns of behavior:
Hard-core Loyals - Who buy the brand all the time.
Split Loyals - Loyal to two or three brands.
Shifting Loyals - Moving from one brand to another.
Switchers - With no loyalty i.e. possibly 'deal-prone', constantly looking for bargains or 'vanity prone', looking for something different.
Basically, consumers initially will make a trial purchase of the brand and, after satisfaction, tend to form habits and continue purchasing the same brand because the product is safe and familiar.
Consumer expectations and brand loyalty:
Consumers enter into a purchase with certain expectations about a product or a service and satisfaction is the hoped-for-outcome. Those expectations are based on
(1) Past buying experience,
(2) Brand connotations,
(4) The firm’s promotional material and communication, (6) Individual persuability and