Brand loyalty: Time for a rethink

Mignon Buckingham
ICLP Worldwide

In these tough economic times, brands must keep their loyal customer base engaged, but research shows global differences in how well consumer interaction is working.

At a time when much of the world is still struggling in the post-recession economy and with many sectors under unprecedented pressure, the focus for all brands is the same – how to increase customer loyalty, drive sales and boost profitability.

Technology is driving a significant shift in consumer behaviour, which is fundamentally affecting the way brands need to think about driving customer loyalty. The adoption of smartphones and tablets, the multi-screen consumption of media and the movement between devices based on the context of their use is fundamentally changing the way consumers interact and transact with brands.

The recognition of these trends is already being demonstrated by retail brands. The concept of 'clientelling' is being used in-store to leverage individual customer data preferences and technology to personalise the customer experience. For example, US retailer Neiman Marcus offers an 'Associate' app, which enables customers to engage with their in-store assistant, create wishlists and receive alerts on exclusive events. It also gives the sales assistants access to purchase history and Facebook photo identification when their most loyal customers are in-store.