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The Science of Loyalty

Customer Loyalty Isn't Rational... It's Primal

Gain insights into the psychology of customer loyalty, explore loyalty's evolutionary roots, and develop science-backed strategies to help differentiate your brand from competitors.

Loyalty wheel depicting 4 neurobiological principles: Emotion, Memory, Reward, and Social Interaction

The Loyalty Wheel

Loyal behavior is made up of 4 neurobiological principles

  • Reward

    The brain's reward system, fueled by dopamine, lays the groundwork for essential habit formation. Behavioral elements of reward include reciprocity, pleasure, and recognition.

  • Memory

    Memory is a pivotal force in decision-making, shaping people’s perceptions through associations with past experiences. Behavioral elements of memory include familiarity, consistency, and ease.

  • Emotion

    Emotion influences both memory and social interactions that foster lasting connections between brands and customers. Behavioral elements of emotion include feeling and identity.

  • Social Interaction

    Social dynamics and interactions reshape our brains and behaviors, significantly influencing consumer decision-making. Behavioral elements of social interaction include social proof and social identification.

Hear from the experts

To understand the underlying science behind loyal decision-making, Intuit Mailchimp partnered with strategic insights practice Canvas8 to interview experts in neuroscience, behavioral science, psychology, anthropology, and marketing.

  • Line-Ariel (L.A) Bretous

    Behavioral scientist, customer experience expert, and founder of 1 LAB Consulting

  • Dr. Cyrus McCandless

    Neuroethologist studying goal-directed behavior and decision-making

  • Richard Shotton

    Author of The Illusion of Choice

  • Bri Williams

    Behavioral expert and founder of People Patterns

  • Adam Ferrier

    Founder of Thinkerbell

  • Denise Lee Yohn

    Author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest

  • Kath Pay

    Founder of Holistic Email Marketing

  • Eddie Yoon

    Author of Superconsumers, Partner Greyspace, Co-Founder Category Pirates

“A basic understanding of the fundamental drivers of behavior and decision-making will outlast any cultural trend.”

Dr. Cyrus McCandless, neuroethologist studying goal-directed behavior and decision-making
Cover of the Strategic Loyalty Playbook by Maichimp in partnership with Canvas8

When you download, you also receive the Strategic Loyalty Playbook

Turn the Science of Loyalty into action with tactical approaches that can help marketers improve their loyalty strategies. Uncover myth-busting insights and plot your customers on our Commitment Spectrum. Plus, learn about prompts and how they can be used to drive customer motivation and ability.

Explore The Shopping Mindset

We surveyed 4,000 consumers across the US, UK, Canada, and Australia to uncover The Shopping Mindset. Learn more about what drives customer purchases and gain insights into how your marketing can increase the odds of them buying again.

Reasons consumers repeatedly purchase from the same brand:

Pie chart split into 5 pieces showing the percentage of reasons customers purchase from the same brand

What does Loyalty look like?

Inspired by the Science of Loyalty, Mailchimp presents Loyalty in Action, a 3-film collection showcasing the value of loyalty in its many forms. Witness how it is fostered, the role of trust, and how fandom, the ultimate expression of loyalty, impacts behavior.

White text that reads "Loyalty in Action: A Film Collection" with kittens in the background

Download the report