If every industry is up for disruption, why isn’t loyalty? As a brand, loyalty is an ideal that should be branded in conjunction with your product or service. You want to be able to keep customers happy and you can do this by creating “loyalty” as a brand within your brand.
It seems that brand loyalty has become outdated in many cases. The loyalty card has become a series of “unfortunate coupons” that used to work because they were the right delivery method. But tastes have changed and so has technology. When is the last time you saved a coupon from the grocery store and used it?
If that same coupon was saved to your phone and automatically activated, you would be more likely to use it. You could complete your transaction at the store on your phone. Making the whole customer engagement with your brand, a smooth experience creates the type of brand loyalty needed in today’s economy.
The principles behind what “loyalty” actually is, did not change. Human behavior has not changed. So from a psychological perspective, the principles of creating loyalty are the same. Only two things are different: 1. How you deliver loyalty must change. 2. What industries still need loyalty, should be reevaluated.
When you think of loyalty programs, you think consumer goods. Places where you can make multiple small to medium purchases. Businesses, both large and small are re-thinking the types of purchase concept.
Rethinking loyalty is essential now in the industries where there is strong competition. Interesting opportunities exist in finance, insurance, automotive, beverages, and more. These commerce opportunities need loyalty, especially where offerings are so marginal and loyalty will make the only difference to you and your customers.
Next time you are watching TV, watch the ads. Consider companies consistently advertising on TV and look at their stiff competition. These companies will have to actually do something in order to stay top of mind.
When you will think of car insurance you’ll identify with Flo because she has become familiar, and we feel loyal to her.
There are favorable examples of how loyalty is being reinvented. Here are three illustrations of loyalty to get you thinking about your own business.
- Create a meeting place.
Designing a meeting place has worked wonders for startup ecosystems. Co-working and collaborative spaces create collisions of ideas and capital. Being at the center of this atmosphere has been crucial for the growth of startups, venture capital firms and other types of businesses.
Why can’t that creation of a meeting place apply to your business? Starbucks is great at creating a third place or dimension that’s not really work and not home. But Starbucks doesn’t own this idea.
Capital One’s new cafes are designed to solve the loyalty problem in the banking industry. People didn’t want to go to a bank anymore because the experience eroded over time.
The ATM, being able to scan a check changed the whole process of banking. Venmo has eliminated the necessity of going to the bank at all. Going to a bank used to be a necessity. The customer experience was never even considered. You had to be there, standing in line — so you were there. The bank didn’t have to do anything they didn’t want to.
By creating an experience, Capital One is giving people a reason to bank with them. The customer can grab coffee or breakfast, have meetings, collaborate and if necessary and even do their banking. Reinventing how their physical space works to create loyalty has been a huge win for Capital One.
- Make your client your partner.
Previously no one looked at enterprise transaction management. This includes payment processing and corporate spending solutions. In this crowded market, Datamotio has rocketed to the top by successfully shifting the paradigm using loyalty to gain market share.
With the Datamotio corporate motto being, “do well by doing good,” Datamotio has rebuilt their business model in a crowded industry, setting them apart. This corporate motto has skewed the historical sales model, aligning interests and enterprise clients forming partnerships that add value.
They deployed their industry exclusive, the Charge2Change program. This means partnering with clients to facilitate corporate social responsibility programs where each enterprise can promote to their customers.
Through their Charge2Change program, Datamotio donates 10 percent of profits back to a charity chosen by their client. This creates a transactionally based cash flow to a nonprofit important to each enterprise. Small to some, but that money adds up quickly and more importantly, it forms a stronger relationship between enterprises and their customers.
By handling a CSR program for the client they have given the client another reason to work with them. Possibly, there is a more important reason to keep working with them. Loyalty doesn’t have to be direct. It’s knowing anything that builds deeper relationships between client and consumer builds loyalty.
- Tell a story.
Reinventing how we look at relationships and physical space can yield amazing results. But the wheel doesn’t always have to be reinvented. If you’re in retail, you can use new technology to connect better with your customers.
Express and other retailers run text campaigns with discounts that are fun and ones that don’t seem forced. Express even appears as a contact on your phone rather than a random code of numbers.
Where you should focus most is on people who come in contact with you digitally, and then leave. Your first instinct will be to offer them a coupon or remind them they have something in their cart. They know they left something in the cart. Reminding them without context won’t help.
Use that interaction to tell a story or show someone using that particular product. Let them visualize what it will look like if they are wearing the clothing or jewelry or envision themselves using this item, or putting it in in their home.
These types of effort on your part create stronger emotional ties to you and your brand. Your customer is in a community where they will connect with other people already loyal to your brand. Advocates are your ticket to creating brand awareness and loyalty.