As mentioned in my earlier blog on Cultivating Brand Loyalty, I am a huge fan of coffee. Now, the truth is that occasionally I have been tempted to trade in my loyalty to Starbucks for an artisan coffee chain. Maybe one day I will try out a ‘Third Wave Coffee’ or pop into ‘Harris + Hoole’ the next time I am in London. For the moment, give me my skinny latte at the local Starbucks.
What builds such brand loyalty? A good cup of coffee can’t be so difficult to brew. So what makes Starbucks what it is for me? I have to admit that Starbucks is not just about coffee but about an experience around coffee. Essentially, what Howard Schultz did was take a cup of coffee and build conversations and a community around it. To do this, one needs to understand and build customer connect. But the wow factor comes in when you know the customer’s needs and behavior and can hold a relevant conversation with that customer.
Brand loyalty is not built on products – it is built on the interactions you have with the customer. Technology can play a significant part of ensuring that interactions with customers can be established and maintained with a high level of consistency – which is what retailers need.
Retailers have traditionally been very good at establishing intimate conversations with their customers. However, today, to understand and respond to them on scale and with
lightning speed, and to build that “wow” factor, they need to leverage technology as well. Here are some ways to build the wow factor:
Build connect: Be present at as many touch points as possible. Understand the touch points at which each customer is the most comfortable. Create engagement with each customer based on comfort with touch points. This means analyzing customer behavior and creating relevant content and information suited to each touch point. Answer the question: “What will the customer want next?” This means extracting and analyzing information from the customer at every touch point.
Customize and be consistent: Build an intimate brand experience around the customer’s needs. This means using technology to customize the product/ experience. Provide a seamless and consistent experience to the customer, across channels. This means integrating the channels/ touch points to get a 360 degree view of the customer.
Make the customer your champion: Build social tools at the touch points that the customer can use to echo your conversations within his/ her community. Assist the customer to become your brand ambassador. If the “wow” factor is large, your customer will become your most valuable marketing tool.
Don’t you think today’s customer profiling and analytical tools allow retailers to build a deep and contextual understanding of the customer? Can digital marketing with a high
emotional connect and lasting brand loyalty be built with these insights? Do let me know your thoughts.