This is a guest post from Spike Jones — Group Director of Engagement at WCG and co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.
Brands talking about loyalty has been happening for decades.
And it’s a frequently visited topic for articles, blog posts, conference sessions, and the like these days. We’ve got loyalty programs. Loyalty membership. Loyalty cards. The list goes on and on. And when you think about, there really haven’t been very many revelations or advancements when it comes to how brands think about loyalty.
Let me take a quick moment to remind you, as I wrote three years ago, that frequency doesn’t necessarily equal loyalty. Take that gas station on the way to work. You go there frequently because it’s convenient and on your route – but are you loyal to that gas station? I doubt it.
But I digress.
By the current state of thinking, brands are asking you to be loyal to them.
They are asking you to join their program or carry their card. They, in essence, are asking you to buy more and buy more often. Sure, you can earn points or miles or free meals, etc., but in a lot of instances, it’s a game.
But what if we changed how we think about loyalty?
What if we turned the tables? What if a brand had to join your loyalty program? So instead of pledging your loyalty to them, they pledged their loyalty to you? So American Airlines could join Spike’s loyalty program. Or Starwood. You get the idea.
So often we ask customers to put skin in the game and do things for us. Maybe it’s time brands did as well?
Just food for thought.