Last week, when debating with my current GMBA students how to promote loyalty in Consumer Markets, one of them, referred to an interesting term from HBS: THE LOYALTY LOOP .
The Loyalty Loop is basically stating that “… today, consumers are promiscuous in their brand relationships: They connect with myriad brands—through new media channels beyond the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s control or even knowledge—and evaluate a shifting array of them, often expanding the pool before narrowing it. After a purchase these consumers may remain aggressively engaged, publicly promoting or assailing the products they’ve bought, collaborating in the brands’ development, and challenging and shaping their meaning.
Consumers still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when—at what touch points—they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points…”.
In other words, the focus from our marketing efforts should not lie so much into getting the selling done but going beyond it: We need to focus on the touch points that determine the customer experience and eventually customer satisfaction.
Easy to state; not so easy to implement I am afraid. It requires creating a customer focused organization and a full support from Top Management for implementing it. And a good dosis of patience: It may take years to implement and get tangible results. However, I am afraid, there is no chance but to adapt ourselves if we want to succeed…
Having said that, I woud like to share with you the experience of a company aligned with this loyalty strategy: Bugaboo. I referred to this company when reflecting the tough journey towards deciding which stroller to purchase  for your baby.
Bugaboo managed to a good job in terms of creating a powerful brand thanks to an offline and online promotion, but has not stopped there. From my experience they are really showing a straight commitment towards customer engagement and satisfacion, as you can foresee in these two examples:
1) CRM initiative. They have created a powerful Bugaboo Tribe by inviting the main decider and customer (in this case, mainly mummies), to join the Bugaboo Community and participate actively in it. They manage to do so by providing them with updated and useful information about babies treatments, communicating with them through Social Media (mainly Facebook) and inviting them to special contests and events. Being the latest ones the Bugaboo Donkey Weekends  and the Bugaboo Contest Mother´s Day .
2) Postsales. We have already stated that they is not to have a perfect product but to be able to respond properly  upon unexpected problems. So was my case with our Bugaboo Donkey, that suffered two tyre puncture in two weeks! We first went to the Retailer where we purchased the stroller, and the complained heavily directly to Bugaboo. And in both occasions we got a straight apology, an explanation of what were the reasons behind and of course, an immediate replacement of the tyre. That made us feel treated in a fair a careful way.
Take away? Review your marketing mindset and make sure to understand how Branding and Customer Loyalty currenty work. Basics remain the same, but Tools and Implementation will never be the same…
PS: Thanks to my GMBA March 2012. You are really inspiring me!
PS2: Special thanks to Sujatha and Vidut for the research and mention to HBS and Mc Kinsey.