Here’s the thing about loyalty: Humans desire it but, frankly, are hard-pressed to embrace it. (Why else would one in two U.S. marriages end in divorce?) Brands seek loyalty because it keeps their marketing expenses down. Experts remind us we need to “delight” customers to engender loyalty, meaning don’t take them for granted, treat them better than family and provide unexpected, thoughtful product gestures.
Creating incentive to remain loyal to a free Web property (part three in a series this week) may seem difficult but there’s a trick. The trick is the “brand promise.” Technology can be matched or mirrored by a competitor. Services can be matched by a competitor. But it is harder to match a promise.
Companies that look within, find a value that customers want and they alone can provide, can maintain an edge in loyalty. I wrote a position paper for a free Web property entitled “Technology, service or brand?” The brand promise was future-ready and stood long after the platform morphed and evolved. More importantly, it helped provide direction to that evolution.
Loyalty is constantly being tested and needs to be strengthened over time. If a free online property has a good brand promise and stays loyal to that promise, that’s a huge start.