Loyalty Isn't Bought, It's Earned.

As soon as someone mentions the need to increase customer loyalty in a meeting, most people's minds immediately dart to loyalty programs with points and rewards as the ultimate solution.

It’s a tempting scheme.

Earn points.
Turn points (mostly) into discounts.

The Illusion of Points and Rewards

A clean-cut, easy-to-understand, one-size-fits-all approach.  

And one-size-fits-all is absolutely fine for commodities. But if your brand has any kind of positioning ambition, it's likely not the right fit.

Things are very different for multi-brand Retailers, for whom point-based loyalty programs are just another way to effectively deploy price promotion policies (more on these another time).

But today, we're talking about Brands.

The Heartbeat of Brand Love

Brand Loyalty programs, in their current state, often are little more than a shiny veneer hiding a decay of indifference.

True Customer Loyalty is the outcome of CRM and Product activations that make your customers feel understood and serviced accordingly.

Emphasis on the word “feel.”

Contrast that to what they “think” they can obtain with their hard-earned points.

By focusing solely on transactions, we miss the pulse of what matters: a genuine emotional connection that leads to Brand Love.

For a Brand, a point-based program is like paying your customers for Brand Love... and we all know you can't buy love.

Redefining Loyalty: Your Game Plan

A loyalty program without a thoughtful Customer Strategy at its core is a waste of effort, funds, and opportunities.

So how do you drive Loyalty in your customer base?

Glad you asked.

#1 - In business, as in life, loyalty isn't a one-way street. Realize as a whole team that you must take on an active role in nurturing loyalty with your customers.

#2 - Collect and analyze all relevant qualitative data you have about your customers (eg: key Customer Service themes, in-store anecdotes, Social Listening insights, etc). Identify what makes your brand special to them, as well as your weaknesses.

#3 - Dive deep into your Customer Data. Run cohort analyses (eg: period of acquisition, products purchased, category affinity, etc…) and RFM segmentations to identify relevant patterns.

If you’ve run the above exercise correctly, what you should be left with is:

🎯 Well-defined and actionable Customer segments.

💚 Values and facets of your brand that resonate with your customers.

Then let Data & Creativity take the wheel, and design a series of segmented and personalized CRM test programs, with a laser-focus on increasing the brand value perceived by your customer segments.

📊 And let's not forget metrics. Track the evolution of your customer segments in terms of LTV, Frequency, and Recency to know what’s working.

In Closing

Stay the course, iterate deliberately, and you'll see loyalty emerge.

More importantly, you’ll see its effects show up in your P&L.

Ready to turn those transactional flings into long-term relationships?

Then let’s quit playing games and start building real bonds.