First step in loyalty: be loyal to yourself
Our customers take steps in a journey, not a slippery slide down a funnel

Second step in loyalty: connect to a shared interest

Tq-120815-tbMost businesses plung into a loyalty program with their most frequent or biggest customers. Although it's not a mistake, there are pitfalls in this approach. We may discover that our biggest customer is only accidentally our customer--a big cause for concern on many levels. 

Before we invest in in a loyalty program, we check our most important customers to find out WHY they are using our services. In the first place, we'll discover whether or not it's sustainable. Then we enter a loyalty program with our eyes open as to the real long-term opportunities. 

Hub Magazine: Sweet Spot (Excerpt from Aaker on Branding), 2014-Sep/Oct, by David Aaker

To connect with a shared-interest area provides avenues to a relationship much richer than those of an offering-based relationship that, for most brands, is driven by a functional benefit and is relatively shallow and vulnerable. Further, people attribute all sorts of good characteristics to brands that they like and with whom they share values and interests. If Pampers is so intimately informed and involved in baby care, its products will be perceived to be both innovative and high quality.

A shared interest also provides a source of energy for the brand. All brands need energy. It is a discouraging truth that brands throughout the world that lack energy have been losing equity for more than a decade at a disturbing rate. It is not easy to inject energy into a brand that is not one of the rare brands blessed with visible innovation or high customer involvement. One answer is to create a shared-interest program that will serve to energize the brand through its innovation, involvement, or purpose-driven content.