Brand Loyalty Is A Two Way Street

10/25/2005

Jack_daniels_town_square_1"Dear Squire Bloomberg," the letter began. "I guess you remember the problem when they put up our second red light." And goes on ...

We already had one at the library corner, which was suppose to solve all our traffic problems.The only thing I saw that it did was cause the traffic to backup down to the square in the mornings when we were trying to get to work. Then they added the one up where Price's filling station use to be. But a couple of years later, the State decided we didn't have enough traffic for two lights so out it came.

Well, now there's talk of getting parking meters around the square, and I'm a great believer in once burnt, twice learnt! I can't see any good at all in this. If anything, it will cause more traffic problems and I'll stand to lose some of my business, and I can't afford that.

I know this has already been talked over by most of us at one time or another, so my main reason for writing is that I think NOW is the time to take some action before they put those things in. I just don't think our town needs more money for things like parking meters. Besides, who wants to pay a dime to park for 15 minutes when it only takes 5 minutes to do your shopping!

Squire Bloomberg, most everyone I've talked to is of a like mind on the above, especially the other merchants. We've got a meeting set up in the trustee's office at the courthouse this afternoon, and I've got a good feeling we'll be successful. If you don't hear back from me, you'll know that things will stay the same here in Lynchburg - at least for a while longer.

No, this is Not spam. You see, I am the proud owner of Plot no. g34019 in town of Lynchburg, TN. Mister Clayton Knight was updating me on the goings on of the town. Seems traffic - or non traffic - is a great concern at the moment. Kind of him to keep me posted especially since I'm not living in the community.

Gottcha! It's part of Jack Daniels' innovative loyalty program. Several times a year Squire Bloomberg (how cool is that I ask you?) receives letters keeping me informed about the goings on in town. I even get a neat calendar each December.

Brand loyalty is sought after by marketers from teeny towns in Tennessee with huge brands like Jack Daniels to marketers in major markets promoting local restaurants. Relationship building is at the heart of most loyalty programs. And of course, we know that's not as easy as it looks. Blogs are one great tactic but there's more.

Don Schultz, professor at Northwestern University and president of Agora Inc., has authored an interesting piece in Marketing Management on The Loyalty Paradox. Professor Schultz lists several reasons why consumers are brand loyal...and not all are what you might want to concentrate on for a  long-term strategy.

1. The product is the only one available - such as in a monopoly marketplace situation
2. Consumer inertia - repetitive consumer behavior and the path of least resistance
3. Indifference - all available brands are considered alike, cost the same, are a commodity product
4. Customer satisfaction - customer believes there is good price/value relationship and the product     or service is consistent over time
5. Brands are a badge of honor or identifier - customers want to be affiliated with the brand. Those reasons may range from ego to self confidence to being a member of a special group. Harley- Davdison is a great example. How many other brands do you know of where customers actually       have a brand logo tattooed on their bodies?

I couldn't agree more with the good professor when he says, "My view is that brand loyalty doesn't exist for many products and services, and is declining for those who have a modicum of it, because the marketing organization and the brand are not loyal to the customer. Brand loyalty is a reciprocal process, with both buyer and seller getting what they want."

Actually, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. How many people do you know that are really great at developing and maintaining personal relationships? Why should creating a business loyalty program not be as complicated? Holding_hands_drawing

If we've learned anything in the blogosphere, it is that we're dealing people. And that's what loyalty programs are - or should be - about. People connecting to people. For that matter, isn't that what excellent marketing is all about?

A few questions to consider If you have, or are thinking about  developing a loyalty program
- Objectively review your strategy. It is a fair trade deal? Are both parties getting value?
- Are existing clients being appreciated?
- Can you keep your promises? And what happens when you can't?

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A few questions to consider If you are thinking about developing a loyalty program

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