Loyalty – Whatever Happened To It?

'Experience' over 'loyalty'. That's what many people are choosing when it comes to brands. Image by Enrique Burgos Garcia

‘Experience’ over ‘loyalty’. That’s what many people are choosing when it comes to brands. Image by Enrique Burgos Garcia (CC)

I’ve joined the trend which measures brand ‘experience’ against ‘loyalty’ as I search for competitive providers and deals. People are being urged to shop around, and re-evaluate their perception of how much brand bang they get for their shrunken buck. Lately they’re powering their high tech devices to fuel this strategy.

All those marketing strategies around credibility, image consistency, service levels, packaging re-boots, ease-of-device purchase and ‘staunch’ marketplace positioning receive a severe reality check.

Does your brand story, experience and image add up, or is it need for work for a better brand development? Image by Fabio Slongo (CC)

Does your brand story, experience and image add up, or is it need for work for a better brand development? Image by Fabio Slongo (CC)

How far  will a buyer identify and behave well when an image no longer relates to their personal story?

What if a firm neither resonates to their satisfaction, nor ranks on the ‘experience’ scale?

What if the brand is being over-looked and reviewed through eg:  average service, uncompetitive rates, complex small print, ill-communicated messages, expensive short-termist stunts, unhappy staff, uncreative advertising, interrupted attention or so-so reputation?

One of the key 7 marketing Ps. Image by Anthony Pranata (CC)

One of the key 7 marketing Ps. Image by Anthony Pranata (CC)

Or, simply, the price point is off-key?

Most people’s current concern is whether or not they have enough money for essential bills, household items and food let alone savings and non-core purchases.

Renegotiating contract terms, getting everything achieved on their mobile phone or snagging extras or freebies might be deal-breakers when it comes to assessing brand loyalty.

Value - what does it actually mean these days and whose terms is it on? Image by elventear (CC)

Value – what does it actually mean these days and whose terms is it on? Image by elventear (CC)

Whilst items or new services are labelled as ‘value’ or in the ‘essentials’ range I wonder what does ‘value’ actually mean these days in reference to its traditional English language definition?

To an impartial observer like myself  - who aspires to premium though rationally knows value is the correct personal and societal choice during the recession – it appears the definition fluctuates in tandem with a brand’s messaging and best interests.

There is clearly pressure on to make loyalty an effective performance indicator in the marketing mix.

The drive to keep long term customers or routine users activating sales or opening new accounts rather than fire fighting attrition and churn registers high on the marketers’ radar.

Those strategies which support stronger loyal user behaviour are evident from the rising number of recognisable brands which link with non-competing strategic partners to cut contra deals and concessions. Which in turn appear to negotiate greater and more frequent customer reward discounts, and, potentially increased perceptions of value and loyalty.

In my case I am close to leaving two long-term providers.

Selfishly, I want value on my own terms: that is, a more modern, powerful and shiny gadget which speedily syncs with an eco-system of devices and platforms at a cheaper price point. And I want it for functional as well as for entertainment purposes.

Sadly, I realise that means I am indirectly asking a global manufacturer to pander to Western desires and in so doing review its CSR policy.

More protectively I wish to guard my savings and my intelligence.

I want to choose a provider which isn’t “forced” to hike their rates for the fifth time in nearly 18 months, and which dresses it up as though it’s the customer’s onus.

As opposed to the ‘real’ perception of incompetence: poor corporate strategic forecasting.

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