A loyal following.
The grail every brand covets.

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Some chase it by making us laugh. Others make us feel. They get us talking. Thinking. Sharing. We fall in like with them. And then when a buying decision must be made, we might have their back.

But how many brands build upon the power this surface connection? Many try, but how many actually forge a meaningful relationship with us? Or even know how…

Fundamentally, many confuse Brand Recall and Loyalty – they just want those impressions. You know, the ones that leave no impression. Despite being everywhere. You see them, but feel zero connection. If anything, a negative perception to these digital landmines, recklessly exploding our peaceful browsing experience into pop-ups.

Humans relationships are fostered through shared experience and unique interaction. Brands are no different. The most impactful earn our love with insightful and empowering connection, not dissociated impressions. They do it by stimulating senses and encouraging behavior in a way that enrich our lives. 

The best ones understand: Experience is the Product. 

These brands look at their business through a truly integrated lens, where a product is no longer just the tangible item on offer. It’s the Product Review. Live Chat Support. The Packaging. Digital Experience. The How-to Video. The Instagram Post and all those happy #hashtags. 

These touchpoints in and around the product are not fleeting moments. Each and every one is an Experience – a new and important step on the path to Brand Loyalty. 

Satisfaction with mere brand awareness, is like waving at animals in the zoo without forming any bond. Modern Loyalty turns products into pets. Meaningful personal experiences predicated by shifting core marketing beliefs create real affinity, abiding by the new dictum:

Loyalty is best earned, not bought.

There was a time when the largest soapbox could enable one to shout louder than any fickle consumer inklings or passing trend. Consumers’ brand allegiances were life-long and locked-in because the idea of change meant risk. And Oz’s curtain had never been pulled.

But now, brands can sink or swim on a single Amazon Review and we find ourselves being courted daily with no-risk “try before you buy” marketing strategies for everything from enterprise software to eyeglasses. It’s never been easier for consumers to jump ship than in our modern marketplace. 

So what does that mean for marketers? Time to get nimble. Assess the changing environment, and explicitly consider where consumer interactions are best-served. It’s time to stop spending money on traditions that offer zero guarantees or any kind of longevity in the marketplace.

No one wants part in a one-way relationship. To be chosen by consumers is only the beginning. We must then ask ourselves “what can we do to fortify and sustain?”

Modern Loyalty sits on a cloud above the battle for self-serving brand recognition or race to rockbottom price. Even Wal-Mart knows you can’t just help consumers by saving them money. You also need to help them “Live better.” How could CVS claim to be about health and still sell cigarettes? They couldn’t, and no longer do.

So how do you get to that next step? 

How does a brand identify opportunities for rich meaningful experiences that forge Modern Loyalty?

Brand Loyalty comes from honesty – with the consumer, and with ourselves.

Forging an emotional connection is born out of a holistic audit of a brand. Like skeletons in the board room, some scary truths can, and will, emerge about your product. It’s not easy. It takes a leap of faith, but as with all things, it’s worth the risk. Distilling things down to the honest and empirical level is the only way through to the other side.

Are you offering people the best possible experience? Your support infrastructure? Your services? The purchase process? The right answers can only come from asking the right questions and identifying new space for connections.

How can Modern Loyalty help me identify meaningful interactions?

Modern Loyalty is a home for marquee examples of people and brands creating experiences that exemplify the journey to brand love in our new and ever-changing times. 

Picasso likely wasn’t the first person to observe that “good artists borrow, great artists steal,” so please use this site and its content to inspire change in your business and the first steps down the path of honest assessment of your brand’s future.