With so many major and micro brands to choose from it has become imperative to ensure your brand represents true value that is more than a slogan or a hollow promise of quality service. Designing brand value takes time to form, plant, nurture and secure locked-in loyalty among users who prefer your brand over all others so doing it right is essential for success.
The rewards of building a loyal brand is a momentum that keeps growing when its owners truly think through what matters to their customers and deliver on those promises: this leads to greater loyalty and more satisfied customers and a more highly engaged experience that both customers and employees enjoy. This in turn creates the rewards that a relevant Loyalty Rewards Program should bring.
Getting the brand logic and promotion right produces a successful program that can carry a brand for a very long time. To begin, you have to understand what your customers want to experience when they use your brand. Regardless of what type of organization you represent, what constitutes brand value is universal. To construct this link, begin by following three steps that lead a visitor to your website all the way through to a loyal customer.
Tip #1: Create a set of customer expectations. Begin with defining what behaviors and outcomes you can associate with your brand. Be careful to only select outcomes you can consistently deliver over time that will excite customers and build their trust in your brand. Nothing breaks momentum faster than promising one thing and delivering another.
Tip #2: Create a group of interesting cohorts. Few things spread good news like good news! Finding real people with real-world happiness with your brand and promoting what they’re saying is a sure-fire way to build customer interest and eventually loyalty. For example, in the food services sector, the more reliable your brand is, the less likely you will experience profit-destroying returns, which will lower your cost of sales as well. Of course, these net returns will vary by market sector, but the universal best practice of consistently delivering quality will make customers want to follow you.
Tip #3: Create a business model that rewards loyal customers. Most will consider signing up for a loyalty program only after they have significant experience with a brand. Exceptions to this rule can exist with the best-known brands such as American Express or Starbucks Coffee, but realize they have had to build their brand loyalty using the very steps outlined here. Knowing what matters to your customers and what priorities they have are the key areas to drive brand improvement. Done well, this business model can outperform highly creative marketing campaigns that change often and do not build brand equity within the market sectors they serve.
To ensure that the customer experience operates with excellence, the need for linking loyalty programs to value has never been greater. The best companies set their programs in place and do not vary them and as a result they tend to not stumble over their internal politics or profit goals.
Warning: Whatever you set in motion, be prepared to keep it in motion for a very long time. If you don’t, you risk losing all of the brand equity you’ve spent so long building. Unlikely you say? Just take a look at both Starbucks Coffee and Staples that have both recently changed their Rewards Programs and angered their most loyal customers in the process.