A marketing expert has given companies crucial tips for maintaining customer loyalty during a downturn.

Customer acquisition and retention specialist Chintan Bharwada said effective marketing is primarily about building trust and developing relationships, so firms need to focus on this essential objective.

Writing on Marketing Profs, he revealed that one of the most important ways to cultivate brand loyalty is by identifying and building a strong corporate brand identity.

“We’re not talking about your logo, marketing look or tagline,” Mr Bharwada commented.

“Branding that builds genuine customer loyalty goes beyond what the eye can see. It’s branding at the emotional, sensory and gut-feeling level.”

He also urged direct marketing professionals to tap into what customers want and stay in tune with their evolving needs.

Marketers were also advised to build on their corporate integrity by maintaining business honesty, providing a consistent level of service and always being reliable, as firms with high levels of integrity will be viewed positively by potential sales leads.

Commenting on BBC News, George Derbyshire, chief executive of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, recently highlighted the importance of maintaining excellent relationships with current clients, as it much easier to sell to existing customers than to try and win over new ones.