The Loyalty Program Is Dead, Long Live the Loyalty Program
The ultimate goal for any brand is to have their customers become brand advocates or ambassadors; thereby creating a momentum and a story that is authentic and therefore most meaningful for consumers. This is particularly true for Millennials, who trust their friends and family much more than companies.
Most importantly, loyalty efforts need to be consistent with your brand mission and promise. Here are two examples of brands that are engaging their customers and engendering loyalty:
Gilt is a members-only lifestyle destination. They conducted in-depth customer research (qualitative and quantitative methods) to design a customer experience which is truly personalized based on what their members purchased, but also their preferences and attitudes. They recently launched Gilt by Appointment, their personalized shopping experience. And they proactively ask questions of the customer based on new behavior trends or changes to continually evolve to meet their customer’s needs. For their best customers, they have set up an advisory panel to influence the brand, and have instituted member reviews.
In October, I saw Black Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, speak at the &THEN DMA 2015 conference in Boston. He understands the importance of creating a mission that resonates with consumers, which not only engenders loyalty but creates brand ambassadors who are as passionate about TOMS as the founder himself. His company started with giving away a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, and has grown to TOMS eyewear which has restored sight to hundreds of thousands, to TOMS Roasting Company which has provided safe water to tens of thousands. TOMS has unlocked the secret to creating a demand among a millennial audience: give consumers a mission, share your company story, and give them a stake in the outcome.