Rosetta Stone builds loyalty by helping customers realize their aspirations

One of the most effective ways to build long-term relationships with our customers is to help them become more powerful, successful and fulfilled. You can learn more about this concept from Michael Schrage. Rosetta Stone narrows in on their customers' desire to become multilingual. And they don't just sell a product or service. They commit to transform their customers. 

VentureBeat: How Rosetta Stone transformed old-school loyalty into massive mobile app engagement, 2016-Jul-13, Interview of Rosetta Stone's TJ Hunter by Stewart Rogers

First thing’s first, Hunter says. “Respect the customer. And you do that by understanding what the customer’s problem is. Now decide how mobile can help you continue to solve it — not help you continue to get more users or more usage, because that’ll come naturally.”

For Rosetta Stone, it’s understanding that language learning is aspirational — users want to connect with their own heritage or culture, to travel, to advance, or change their career. And that means the company’s marketing focus is on more than just getting a customer to start the journey with a sale; they see it as a journey to motivate the user to continue using the product so that their aspirations become reality.

“Is it easy? No. In interpersonal human communication, it’s hard to understand what someone is saying and then to be able to respond,” Hunter says. “And in a marketing relationship, it’s even tougher.”

But that focus on communication is what engages customers, and turns them into the kind of fans who become evangelists for life, and keep breathing life into your app — the holy grail of marketing strategy.


Handshakes in CRM

Technology allows us to stay in touch with people and even automates those touches, but technology cannot build a relationship. It builds awareness and educates. To practice CRM, you actually have to maintain a relationship with a customer by interacting with them IRL (in real life). 

Bisnow: Why You Still Need a Handshake, 2016-Aug-22, Interview of Mark Fitzpatrick of RUHM by Kyle Hagerty

Mark isn't suggesting running away from technology; it's become a critical part of our way of life. Instead, Mark wants to reinforce the predecessor of social media: the handshake. While having a robust LinkedIn profile may confirm your credibility, there’s no technology that can replace a strong grip and warm smile to seal a deal. What’s more, beyond gaining new business, interpersonal relationships are just as important for sustaining business. Here are three reasons why:

  1. You Can Build Credibility Through Likability
  2. You Can Network To Make Lasting Connections
  3. You Can Keep Your Personal Brand Personable 


Jet Blue seeks latest tech for helping customers

Committed to staying on the leading edge of customer service, JetBlue has created a technology incubator in Silicon Valley to encourage new solutions to travel challenges. Mozio helps travelers get transportation to and from the airport. 

Loyalty 360:Technology meets humanity for JetBlue and JetBlue Technology Ventures to improve customer experience, 2016-Aug-4 by Mark Johnson

The acquisition of Mozio by JetBlue Technology Ventures is a further indication that parent JetBlue continues to strengthen its technical capabilities in support of its overall mission to inspire humanity. At the core of that effort is finding the best ways to listen to the consumer.

“Because everything is starting with this new way of listening, we are, from the customer perspective, spending time in Silicon Valley looking at that,” Scott Resnick, Director of Loyalty Marketing for JetBlue, told  Loyalty360. “We know there is technology out there that when customers reach out for help, and they’re using a certain tone and certain kinds of words, provides a footprint that can help find the best way to help that customer.” 


At SoulCycle, they really are after your soul

I encountered spin cycling in the later 90's, and quickly realized the quality of the instructor was crucial to a good workout. Maybe that's true for most instructor-led exercise classes, but spin cycling lost all its fun when the instructor had poor music, tempo and coaching skills. And that was WAY before SoulCycle was founded in 2005. My favorite spinning instructor was a small young woman with a drill-sergeant style and great taste in electronic dance music. I learned to love electronic dance music, much more than any type of exercise, including dancing. 

After that instructor left, I was not loyal to that gym. SoulCycle has done a great job of making sure the total experience is addictive: the ambiance, the activities, the people who get to know each other, as well as having extremely well-trained instructors. No loyalty discounts are necessary in these circumstances, although they may offer them. 

Fast Company: SoulCycle Wants You To Join Its Tribe, 2016-Sep by Jonathan Ringen

Skeptics wonder how long the indoor-cycling trend—or any modish exercise—can stay popular. And even if it does, what’s to keep riders loyal to the higher-priced SoulCycle brand? Can such a quintessentially New York experience translate to the rest of the country? And will the riders who give SoulCycle its cachet—all those movie stars and early-adopter cool kids—still show up once everyone is doing it?

To Whelan, these questions totally miss the point. SoulCycle, as she sees it, isn’t competing against other fitness companies. "I always say that our real competition is Netflix," she says, meaning anything that might keep you at home and not out in the world. "SoulCycle isn’t about fitness," she reiterates. "It’s about a very powerful breakthrough for people, which can be physical, but can also be emotional or about community, about connection. Once people connect to it, it becomes part of their life. So, $30 for that?"


Setting out on a journey to create a customer journey map

I recently volunteered to help a sales manager develop a customer journey map for her company. When she left I began sharing it with the CEO, but the CEO was turned off by it. The process seemed completely unnecessary to her (the CEO). 

The CEO and founder does want to share more of the selling and customer management with other people in the company, but she sees that as a matter of assigning tasks. I hope to one day re-introduce the journey mapping process, and this advice from Nielsen Norman Group will help me find the right time and opportunity. 

Nielsen Norman Group: When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps, 2016-Jul-31 by Kate Williamson

Journey maps should always be created to support a known business goal. Maps that do not align to a business goal will not result in applicable insight. The goal could be an external issue, such as learning about a specific persona’s purchasing behaviors, or an internal issue, such as addressing lack of ownership over certain parts of the customer experience. Some potential business goals that journey mapping could be applied toward are listed below.

Shift a company’s perspective from inside-out to outside-in. 

Break down silos to create one shared, organization-wide vision. 

Assign ownership of key touchpoints to internal departments.


Imagine your cooler asking for Pelligrino... Nestle innovations in brand loyalty

Imagine using your loyalty rewards to order a nice cooler. Maybe it will be cheaper because it comes with the logo of your favorite water brand. Now imagine carrying your cooler past a convenience store and that cooler reminding you to buy the branded water. Now imagine it sending a coupon to your phone! 

These ideas are not farfetched to Antonio Sciuto, the CMO of Nestle Waters of North America. Under his leadership, Nestle Waters recently opened a digital lab at the Salesforce offices in Manhattan. And the 'internet of things' is one of the most important frontiers identified by Salesforce. Wait for it. 

Marketing Land: A CMO's View: Nestle Waters CMO Aims to Connect Web, Mobile & Brick-&-Mortar, 2016-Feb-3 by Amy Gesenhues

Antonio Sciuto: At Nestlé Waters, for example, we developed a digitally connected cooler with demographic recognition, iBeacon, and touch screen to enable a personalized consumer experience integrating online and offline leveraging different content based on consumer target and consumption pattern during the day.

In this arena, it will be of particular interest to see the development of near-field communication (NFC): embedded chips in phones to exchange data on contact with objects that have NFC tags.

The price of these tags lowered already at 15 cents, so a large number of companies could build them into a larger number of devices, generating a massive expansion of new interactive experiences.

Ad Age: Nestle Cozying Up to Salesforce with New Digital Lab, 2016

"It's a meeting space for them to bring their retail customers, like grocery chains, and show them what they are doing," said Stephanie Buscemi, exec VP-product and solutions marketing at Salesforce. For Salesforce, having a client on site "is a lab for us that inspires new software functionality," she added. 

Photo by Karen Bryan,

Loyalty's dark side on display in pharmaceutical industry

The same communication tools which support our health can be used to encourage overspending and dependency. We have to be careful with our loyalty. Luxury brands won't solve our status challenges, and expensive drugs can't solve our health problems by themselves. We have to integrate a healthy, skeptical search for loyal suppliers that fit our budget, our lifestyle and our future. 

Our loyalty is valuable and we should invest it carefully. 

Collective Evolution: How Big Pharma Maintains Compliance, 2016-Jul-26 by Laurie Powell

Patient education is big business for pharma. One missed dose of hypertension medicine is not life-threatening but pharma has many medications that require regular doses to keep patients on the hook and on schedule.

There are numerous websites that are disguised to look like they are created by patient advocacy groups and legitimate healthcare organizations for caregivers of relatives diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, cardiovascular disease, autism, Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, etcetera. By creating an organization and/or an online community, they are able to get large groups of people to buy into and share the marketing messages as they are fed by pharma.


Why hotels have started attracting and supporting locals

Not many of us think about hanging out in a hotel in our hometown. Often the food is just okay, and the decor very corporate. Hyatt, Westin and Marriott have recently instituted programs and rewards to attract local residents. Travelers are reassured by seeing locals, and their experience becomes more memorable. Have you thought about rewarding the best hotel in your neighborhood? 

NY Times: Why your local hotel is trying to hook you, 2016-Jul-25 by Martha C. White

Hotels are always eager to get people in the door, of course, whether to spend the night or their money at the bar. And catering wedding parties and banquets has long been central to the hospitality industry. But the newer trend is to focus on getting repeat business from a local following. So the innkeepers are sponsoring running clubs or organizing other attractions like author readings, art shows or musical performances.

“You’re trying to look for incremental revenue anywhere you can,” said Bobby Bowers, senior vice president for operations at the travel research firm STR.

The effort includes making lobbies and lounges more inviting hangouts, rather than simply places to stare at your smartphone while awaiting a car to the airport. The theory is that a vibrant group of local patrons can make the hotel more attractive to out-of-town lodgers.


Why we have to always keep an ear open for the customers' words

We want to provide the very best solutions for our customers. So we study the competition carefully, committed to staying on top of the latest trends. We study the research, hoping to be the first to unearth an important new insight. 

Unfortunately, those honorable activities often cause us to disconnect with the customers. We overwhelm them with new options. We talk in cryptic jargon designed to differentiate the most recent insight. We overwhelm them with informational riches. 

To balance our approach we have to reconnect with our customers concerns. We have to speak to them often so we are familiar with their language. We have to answer their questions and solve their problems at the level of sophistication that make sense to them. 

Conversioner: How to Leverage Trust to Increase Landing Page Conversions, 2016-March by Shuki Mann

You need to know your audience better, speak their language, create value and show it to them, as well as design and incorporate elements that make the visitor feel that you are the best choice for him.


Brand imaging, KIND example of acting it out

When we build an image for our brands, we have to consider so much more than "marketing communications." Our actions and our interests convey so much more than tweets and advertisements could ever communicate. On of our role models in 'acting out the brand' is KIND Snacks. 

Prophet: The Not-Only-for Profit KIND, 2016-Jun-29 by David Aaker

KIND is driven by a clear vision to be a healthy, tasty snack in a sea of snacks that look and feel very different. ...

The vision is incorporated into the brand, all the way down to the clear packaging that allows customers to see the ingredients. The tagline “ingredients you can see and pronounce” reinforces the message, and the message is emphasized by its transparent packaging that other brands can only admire. The presence of healthy snack options directly helps fight the obesity epidemic, driven in some part by processed, sugar-laden snack foods.

A Higher Purpose—Acts of Kindness

The Kind Movement stimulates acts of kindness throughout the community. There are #kindawesomeness cards that are handed out to someone doing a kind act for someone else. The card has a website and code and leads to the card holder to be sent a packet of KIND bars from the company. The bars are also sent with another card for the customer to give to someone they spot doing an act of kindness. As of today, there have been 1.2 million documented acts of kindness as a result.