Head vs. Heart
True loyalty exists when customers feel safe, appreciated, and smart. By Julie Wittes Schlack and Ed Chao. In a recent online discussion about a financial services company, a participant summed up his sentiments nicely. “Oh, I’m extremely loyal to them,” he said. “Until the moment someone comes to me with a better deal.” Considering the extreme competitiveness of that industry, this man probably will not be a loyal customer for long. His readiness to switch brands exemplifies a purely rational decision based solely on a simple cost-benefit analysis. A slight change to one side of the equation — and his decision changes. This is a marketer’s worst nightmare.
To secure true loyalty, a brand needs to have an emotional connection with its customers, but opinions vary as to what that magic feeling should be. Some would suggest that it’s all about “trust.” Others would recommend developing “passion” for the brand. Still others would advise creating an emotional experience. These are all potentially powerful ideas, but they are ambiguous, ethereal, and extremely difficult to make actionable. They may not say it aloud, but when presented with this kind of advice, many marketers inwardly scratch their heads. What does an emotional connection mean? What do I do to build it? How do I know if I have achieved it? read >>