Tag Archive for customer loyalty

Building Loyalty- 4 Brands That are Doing it Right

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Building loyalty should be a priority to create a passionate branded community. In my opinion, it is one of the most important things to keep in mind when developing a strategy. People who are loyal to your brand become advocates and help you to promote the brand and broaden your audience. Having a small community of engaged core fans of the brand will be more valuable than having high visibility and an apathetic audience. When people are truly passionate about the company, the services, or the experience of the brand, it creates a community and is attractive to observers. This is where the role of a Community Managers comes in.

According to Work Smart Lifestyle’s post on strong social brands, to create this loyal following, you must connect with your audience and engage with them. It starts with a good product or service. You have to have a good product or compelling mission first in order for people to buy into your company. If they feel like your company values or brand vision aligns with theirs, they are more likely to champion your brand. This core idea ties into the concept of Lovemarks, where brands transcend the boundaries of a typical service and create a more meaningful connection to the people that follow them. This can be achieved by creating a brand experience and persona, and embodying it through social media outlets, blogs, internal services, and any other consumer touch points. A great brand will exceed expectations and provide value to their community.

Here are a few brands that have a very loyal fanbase:

 

Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Whole Foods, Whole Story

The core values of this grocery market is to provide its shoppers with high quality, organic food. The small grocery community crossed with national chain balances reliability with fresh food and a close community feel. They have established a strong brand identity, to the point where Whole Foods is associated with concrete attributes and characteristics. There is even a certain stigma of the people that shop at Whole Foods, though this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Whole Foods perpetuates the local, friendly community through their blog. They appeal to that niche target market and write posts on healthy, organic recipes. The website highlights issues such as sustainability, equal trade, and local community. In addition, the Co-CEO’s have blogs that support the vision, and sustain Whole Food’s image of a close community. Whole Foods uses blogging as a way to channel the mission of the organization and to support the community of Whole Food shoppers.

 

Chipotle

@ChipolteTweets reaches out to a tweeter with a complaint and makes a successful brand interaction

@ChipolteTweets reaches out to a tweeter with a complaint and makes a successful brand interaction

Chipotle taps into the trend of conscious fast food. They promote their use of natural ingredients and casual dining to create a brand identity. I know people who are obsessed-going to Chipotle is more like an event rather than a meal. Chipotle embodies the down-to-earth brand persona through their interactions on their twitter handle, @ChipolteTweets. They are one of the best companies for responding on twitter, in my opinion. They make everyone feel like their opinions are important to Chipotle, and builds strong relationships. This strategy engages the consumers the and creates loyalty with the fanbase.

 

YouTube

YouTubers on mainstage at VidCon Convention

YouTubers on mainstage at VidCon Convention

YouTube, the video platform, has progressed from the website people used to watch cat videos to a platform that supports rising YouTube personalities. YouTube is dependant on user content and user viewership, but they have become very smart in the way that they encourage loyalty and engagement. They now support content creators, certifying channels that have a large following and high quality content and even supporting them financially. These high-profile vloggers are then given credibility, which supports YouTube’s brand popularity. There is a sort of mutual benefit to the people YouTube chooses to support, and those people become YouTube’s Brand Ambassadors.

There is a definite hierarchy within the YouTube community, based on viewership and connections. The YouTube celebrities encourage viewers to create their own content to achieve YouTube fame, and to keep watching their favorite personalities on YouTube. The loyalty in the YouTube community is most apparent during conventions like Playlist Live and Vidcon, where masses converge from all over to meet their favorite YouTube stars.

 

Starbucks

Starbucks Reward Program App

Starbucks Reward Program App

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Like Whole foods, there is a stigma of frequent Starbuck consumers. People are crazy in love Starbucks, and this can be half attributed to the products, half to the community created through the love of Starbucks. They do amazingly well on branding and fostering loyalty with consumers.

An example of this is the Starbucks Reward Program, specifically through the app. The app notifies you when you are near your favourite Starbucks locations, and brings up your virtual card which you can scan to pay through the app. When you pay through the app, you are awarded a star, which accumulate to achieve different levels with increased rewards. This app rewards loyalists and enables an easy way for people to become loyal to Starbucks.

 

Satisfied Isn’t Enough – Turn Happy Customers Into Ambassadors

The Internet can sometimes be a negative place, and social media is by no means an exception. I know I’ve noticed far more complaints in my social feed than I’ve seen unsolicited praise, especially for brands, products, or services. The Internet can be a bit of an echo chamber, so when somebody says something negative, like “Apple Maps steered me into the Atlantic!,” others will eagerly chime in with their horror stories. The problem is that it doesn’t always work in reverse; after all, an unhappy customer wants somebody to fix the problem, whereas a happy customer may not have anything they want to say. Therefore, satisfied isn’t enough anymore, and you need to figure out how to empower your happy customers to speak up and advocate your brand.

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A good starting point is to identify influential customers you have. They may have already mentioned you, which is a great start. In my own social accounts, I rarely talk about products, but when I’m happy with a brand I’ll go out of my way to recommend them given the proper context. One big example for me is Baratza, a manufacturer of home coffee grinders. Whenever the subject comes up and my input is welcome, I’ll name-drop them to make sure they’re represented. I love their business, their products, and most of all, their customer service. If they had an ambassador program, you can bet I’d be in line for the opportunity. Chances are your brand has people like me who would jump at the chance to help you out.

This brings up another key element of a good ambassador – they have to be passionate, and to a certain extent, loyal to your brand. “Fanboys” and –girls can be overly pushy and annoying, so they’re not always the people you’re looking for, but those who would consider your brand first in your industry are the ones who will be the best performers as ambassadors. Britt Michaelian writes that loyalty comes from a sense of connection, especially when a community is built for each member to have an important role. The more they love your company, the more they’ll want to spread the word.

He may be loyal, but is he a good spokesperson?

He may be loyal, but is he a good spokesperson?

The final key point I’d like to make is that ambassadors aren’t free. As Mack Collier notes in this week’s reading, you need to make it worth their while. They already love your company, but to help them help you, you need to offer them a bit more for their efforts. Empowering them with the tools and resources, such as exclusive membership to an ambassador community, is one thing, but actual compensation is often a must. Ambassadors don’t need to be paid monetarily per se, but other options, like discounts, “swag,” access to events or figureheads in your company, are all options to be considered. Ambassadors have a different relationship with your brand than customers, so they need to be treated a bit differently and rewarded for their efforts. Essentially, if you reward them for their hard work and loyalty, they will reward you in kind. And most of all, don’t forget to thank them!

How do you turn your most vocal supporters into ambassadors?