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Posts Tagged ‘loyalty’

Trust is probably the most rare thing to win, in the battle of competition, where all offers seem similar and mainstream. And while there is crisis, increasing the need for security, truth and transparency, trust becomes an unavoidable fact and skill. But above all, the derivated effects on business are out of limits, when you know how mesure and class them into smart groups. Because, the more trust you give/put, the more you are opened to loyalty, and then addict to brand and consumption.

Bearing in mind these groups, means having dedicated actions, plans and tone to address and hold several kinds of relations, customized to reality of relation. Let’s have a look at these groups/segments and the fine tuning to get the best of them.

It’s interesting to capture all the intelligence and trust you can find on social networks. And the resources you can leverage to nurture the « social effect » until the snowball. Check at the profile you can pretend within the 4 frequent types of digital implements: leaders, pioneers, scholars or novices. Each of them has a level of maturity , in engagement, knowledge and practicing of social media. We know now how social media can leverage trust and foster all efforts done by traditional promotion. The more you facilitate and offer a whole environment of engaging with your customers, the more you’ll get a builded trust with communication and Q/A from all the community, whatever the group of participant you are in. And this, while we saw very different behaviors in the segments therefore, and the consequences on revenue, loyalty and trust. If we could resume in one main thinking is : « seed, nurture and enlight the social energy in your communities, they’ll give you back lots of engaged trust ». Personaly, I do agree and foster this behavior, and moreover it’s very enjoyable to work and exchange like that…Feeling and hold the happiness level in business, may drive you to a kind of bliss and lead the brand to another values’ environment.

1) Hazard and Doubt: it always starts with this…Do you, personnaly give anyone, from the beginning, trust? It’s quite rare to bring such trust, despite spend more time and experiences, with any brand. And the rule is on for business and ability to give more money. The best action you can lend to these “beginners”: meet them and know, at first sight, what they’re looking for…

2) Triers: OK, you triggered the first reaction and you maybe heard a few details about the brand or products and just want to try. It makes you a perfect segment to have a first exception experience, to go further. The next goal is not probably spend more, but first become a fan, to hold the relation and discover the next surprise. Triers deserve the best first promotion or sample, kind of you’ll never forget. It’s not a question of “a lot” but more a question of “the whaou effect”.

3) Price hunters: ready for any promotion, they seem to be real transparent with no particularly awareness for the brand but the price. They can spend an average part, according to the proportion of rebate, and are attracted by “shots”, deals anytime that “worths” it. Now you know that language can be “figures” and promotions for that kind of segment, becaude they focus their attention to consume “rebates” of the brand, anyshape they may be. So the question is right now to stay aside, feeding them with prices but tempting a subtile charling approach of storytelling around the prices’ universe. Unfortunately, Price and rebate is not a long term debate and can’t be the only message, valuating the brand. That segment can be shifted toward “pay-to-see” ones, who are more curious and can be lead to another story, deeper and less price-driven.

4) Hot shooters: the ultime and extremism verse of price hunters, they have only one advantage, in “build-measure-learn” process inspired from the lean management: speed. They trigger any promotion and jump on any opportunity to make a deal. Even if they don’t need sometimes, just to have impression to close a good deal and play the leader role. “I control and have an extreme footprint on the brand because I make it perform efforts and deals for me. But we all know there’s so many “fake deals” and the complete energy that brands are able to invest in, is just sometimes incredible…

5) Pay-to-See: They are very discret, don’t make any noise but stare at the brand like a curious thing, ready to try something, but don’t know what and how. They need some teaching steps that allow them to enter in relation, smartly and with “try-and-buy” process. Build some “games” or contest which give them an opportunity to start an interactive relation, with no mandatory transaction. They will decide if they enter themselves in a “payment” posture, to taste the stickability or trustiness of the brand, or simplier test an offer they identified. Choose the trigger and catch the attention may be the two keys to get into relation for them…

6) Fan: let’s say you lived on an island and never heard about “fan” or “like” fever…and can’t imagine which kind of profile we have? And of course it’s where tha value and potential is with the rationnal evolution from “Fan” to “Come backer” to “Ambassador”. The tipping point and snowball effet are not obvious to trigger and scale but is worthy enough to pay attention since the beginning. Play, engage, make them participate in any “transactional”, while they stare at the “smart” brand and are supposed to be the next first adopters. They are fans, they like the brand, but probably didn’t find any opportunity to buy. And some will stay, remaining as true “ambassadors” without consuming. Yes, it’s possible, valuable and true. Check at it!

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7) Come backers: some buy, some buy again. They are. They tried and probably are satisfied, and do it again. They start a returning relation, want to see more, consume moreover. Ok, that’s fine, you found some engaged customers to build on. Don’t miss yourself or be wrong with the message, they want your products, your relation but don’t want to be disappointed. They come from the early stages, fan or already consumer of the brand, they are not novice and probably “in the know” of the story, range or uses of the brand environment. Maybe they’re part themselves of a buyers’ environment, that guided them there. Whatever their reasons, you can rely on their relation. They did, and did it again. Not by random or foolish choice. They choose to remind you and buy your essence again. Reward them and meet their uses with your next features.

8) Ambassadors: that’s it, you are in and here we are. You achieved a performer level, having transformed mainstream customers to ambassadors. Ones that you can count on, anytime because they’re gonna be your next salesperson and your best defender. They can trigger their own advise for people who are not clients yet, convince some to jump and discover your brand and products. They are your best PR’s, arms and mouth, to spread the word about who you are, what you do and what are your values. This incredible force was far ignored before social web and has now power like never. But you know which efforts you did to bring such energy to that point of achievement. This is the ultimate step for trust, before fanatics, who could be, in a way, obsessed and dangerous. Shortly, never lose an ambassador, it could be really weaknessing your salespitch and your footprint to the community.

9) Roadies: they work hard to follow your ventures, but don’t have much revenues. They want to be at your side, in desperate long run, at all your events, doing or not, some evidences of loyalty. They like your brand, products, but for other people than their own consumption. They could be considered as “triers” in the term, but prefer be “angels”, worrying about your brand reputation and the future ongoing for you. They are “silent agent” who can give voice if they consider you in danger or being corrupted or attacked, by default. Your best “friends”, with probably less direct impact on your revenur, but keeping care of your “body”: local bodyguards, in a way…

10) Safe and Care/Admirers: the next kind is probably the most invisible, but exists. But this fact doesn’t mean that you must not stare at them, as interesting elements of your audience. They surround you, never took time or just a lift, to signal their friendship to you, but think of your brand as “cool, smart, trustable and reliable”. They have no reason to get into relation, because of lack of time, money or opportunity to get in. But they care, in an invisible “touch”. What can you consider and learn from them? The single fact that, your whole communication can sometimes risk them to be disappointed, without knowing it, so be careful for that segment too, who could wake up and give voice in the future. Voice or money, triggered by an event you can’t plan before. Just like clouds, they are energy who supports you and collaborate to your reputation, like silent witness. They deserve to be considered, like any other target, their way: “enjoy the beauty, the traction and the footprint of your brand”.

“With trust, you can raise mountains”, because you erase the last barriers to the core: the real conversation, emptied of politics, cosmetics and fakery between an environment (brand, company, organisation, people, products) and an individual. That’s where start great stories, and build a sustainable relation. That’s where we see, that relation is not only a matter of money, but lots of other things to consider, that probably in the end, grow tour business. Up to you to see and deal with it.

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Loyalty is in the end a very important part of the value of any relation. Build a trusty system means years of taming and needs lots of efforts and demonstration on how you can deliver promises, and keep them alive in a long term. This concept stands with any part of modern communication and relation and rise with it. We can quote “loyalty calls loyalty”, when we see that the most loyals subjects do, because they like and spread it. While we’re facing a big shift in the way brands speak to targeted customers and drive their whole relation, customer could be considered as less “loyal”. Because of his mobility, he becomes less “catchable”, I mean in advertising terms, underlining the new technologies that keep him alive “on” with the brand: mobile devices. The way we look at customers intentions and try to catch his “brain awareness” changes. In fact, could mobile be an awesome opportunity to enhance loyalty or a silent threat to lose audience?

The mobile facts: some figures worth more than long talks…(source: ITU)

  • more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world
  • nearly 1 billion has access to 3G services
  • mobile networks access: more than 90% of global population and 80% in rural zones
  • already thinking of 4G networks, increasing speed and services
  • web access will overtake PC and domestic devices (wired), within 5 next years
  • 450 millions users on web mobile, end of 2009 (IDC)

This “jack-in-the-box cumulated figures” means that any people on earth (nearly…) can receive a simple message from any brand that wants to catch him…got it? Hate or like? Chance or fear? I think everybody will (have to) find rules and own behavior and reaction with this new environment…

The Loyalty goodness

Loyalty seems to be an actual goal for everyone: brands, couples, retail, habits…Why? Because it costs far less to nurture and care an “established situation” with uses and automatic behaviors, than draw, seduce and attract new ones. True for customers, new comers, new process…and new husband/wife. Now living in a always wired era drives us to more “online” behaviors, acquired to lots of any information. These new habits mean that we’re more demanding about brand communication and customer care, even if we’re not customer yet. This eco-system, self-feeding situations seems to find a regulation with user generating content, added by any citizen, in mobile situation. The more we are touched by mobile communication, the more we’re in fact, tied softly to brands, increasing our silent loyalty and attachment to companies. Loyalty is key for long term forecasts and ongoing business models, that can improve portfolios for brands.

What we see is a necessary change on how you target customers: awareness is not captured like any other situation and needs accuracy, what I see: bad moment for a SMS is a dead-born message…Life duration of a SMS and our ability to use it is in fact, few seconds…snatch for catch is the real art and skill of mobile communication. Even with PDA spreading everywhere, majority is often limited in size, shape and kind of message your mobile device can manage. Intrusion is as bad as choose a bad moment to send your message: as mobile is personal, you can’t be wrong with your target. Any disruption between the message and the profile of the targeted customer and you will have a storm against you: the action will give you the exact upset situation for the brand…So be careful. Last but not least, “personal” means directly linked to the individual and you can pledge for mistake or misunderstanding, or hide behind bulk message: you are supposed to engage conversation and give arguments, if the customers speaks to you…as an individual people.

Virality is a perfect territory of expression to spread loyalty. But no pain, no gain. Spread loyalty in fact means no more but no less than spread trust, through your customers…So they engage them in a risk they were not obviously prepared to assume, and will shame you if you betray and show them, they were wrong to do so…Absolutely disappointed. For a long time. All your efforts blowed in a single SMS…? That worths to think twice before act…Mobile tagging (stickybits, u snap, shop savvy…), geolocalization (foursquare, plyce, gowallah, tellmewhere, waze…) are so cute ways to follow you (without being too intrusive first…) and hold the link and relation between a brand and a customer. A personal and mobile one.

The independance riot

Lots of things, reactions and strange behaviors told us in history to care about machines control…This holy link for brands can quickly become a nightmare for customers, because being in mobility means sometimes a moment of serenity and  is particularly “my moment”. Do I like to be disturbed? It may transform our attitude in a sharp reaction, the “action-reaction” of throwing away all our good intentions and thoughts about the so called “friend” brand. Do we want “independance” or do we like to be plugged “all-wired” entity? Are we supposed to be en “engaged consumer” at all prices and times, where does our engagement start and end, as any sign of further involvement means we do accept, assume (like?) the ongoing phenomenia of being followed with our cute device, as a personal spy, shouting more and more commercials…

This schizophrenic question and dilemma may drive to bunch of protestants fence, leading to a community riot, boycotting brands and company, products and attitude. By doing this, “Lots lost lots”, underlines the surgerical need to be very careful about the final goals and uses of mobile opportunities. Remember independance drove people to blogs, forums and parallel sources of information, where trust can be refound. And I think it’s dangerous to lose with impulsive actions, trust you spent months to build. Moreover when it’s for sales matters and start to be boring with the mobile target, that just wanted to go apart from the “promotion noise”…

Human is anything else than an independant and rarely wants to be linked, promised, as he never asked for. But being opti§n doesn’t mean everything is allowed though: like the butterfly effect, a small SMS can raise a viral revolution…

Drawing the necessary conclusions

Nothing is really grave or irreversible in fact. We have what we ask for, when we see such passion for mobile devices, it must be important for us not cut the link with anything…And remember there’s a switch off that can resolve conflicts and harassment. Use it anytime it’s necessary…Brands too, sometimes switch off, when you have some claims on the way…

 

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As I progress in the discovering of social platforms, I meet a whole group of evidences and assumptions, drawing a kind of “best practices” or “most encountered”. And it shapes as the long way of spending time to build something strong and sustainable. I tried to underline the long tail to truth and trust, that magnify the social network pleasure. and compared players as “assets”, who valued, time, participation and relevance to build global community value.

On my way, I borrowed some elements to BCG, and famous matrix for companies’ portfolio, to make a similar research between players, engagement and value (even if I don’t really like the term for a free global chain of collaboration). We can find some common facts with “influencers”, in the way participation seems to be quite in relation with popularity and influence, as soon as there is relevance in sharing and talk. Don’t forget before act, listen is the first key to understanding the global noise…

I found 3T as key concept to build and walk into social engagement: Time that goes, Trust which raise as you are relevant and reliable, and Truth. But where does start truth? And when does it trigger, in the global involvement? Who is responsible of truth, and what gives us total control on it?

Everyone involved in such process has one day, crossed through this concepts of starting blind, taking direction in the dark forest of web links, RSS and informations. And Everyone may be recognized now in a complete profile or way. But one thing I know for sure: the most famous one is probably the quietest, spending time to “time”, and taking it to mesure each part of encountering and thinking. You can go fast and touch the stars, but also crash you down. Building trust needs time, and giving credit to “your” truth too.

As you can stare, there’s probably a long tail too for relations…those who can count on. Social media means at start, discovering, listening and staring lots of noise, events, posts and information. Some you can hate, some you can like. But anyway this is not the most important thing to bear in mind. What we can stand is that at this step, lots of people don’t go on and vanish. On 10 people, there’s probably 3 who continue their quest and maybe only 1 who can stay in a long term investment…That means lots of dead end and “lost” time…I used quotes as I don’t really think it, because any path can learn you something, that can be used one day.

Leaving the first step needs humility, in starting the conversation: finding relevant topic, adding ideas that raise the debate and giving al for nothing. World of exchange, without any “return on investment” mindset, that’s the long story of growing influence. Influence you sometimes wait for a long time and like a boomerang, comes back to your ears: your first “friend”. The one who comment and found attention to your thoughts.

First dead end: blacklist, bulshit and boring people. You met them, and wish they leave, kind of forrest gump 2.0, lots of troubled guys who pollute the sheer timeline of conversation. Yes, it’s an entertainment too, but spamming for fun (eg as fun is sometimes too individual…and may be misunderstood) spread some fog about the collaborative efficiency. I won’t speak about blacklisted (spammer, followers hunters, robots?, rude people or “no limit” behaviors). Stop. They stopped themselves, killed, suicided.

But you may prefer the royal way, gearing up your condition, finding your vocation and spending time enough to have a rocket path to heaven: if you work in PR or decide to use blogs and communities for your own carrier, you can become a star…A-list influencers get there quickly, but this needs a lot of investments:

  • be relevant “best shot at best time” and learn how to improve it
  • find the good viral spots: you have to show they are right to trust you
  • be “liked”, guess like the famous FB button
  • always listen and reward your audience: many thanks, RT or spreading the news…for nothing of course
  • share, share and share: “dare web square for share”; don’t miss an opportinity to be useful and help someone in request or trouble…

I could (you can comment too) add bunches of others things you should do…but there’s one that you must not miss: be yourself. there’s nothing more boring that discovering a hidden (bad) face/side, having been faked…some taste of bitterness that never goes out. But that’s life, you might be exposed to.

I would like now make a short trip, next to “social capital”, that helps you to swim easily in these oceans. I’ve been whispered and somekind, blowed with a new wind of “socialization”. Carried with the new “whuffie effect” book from Miss Rogue (called Tara Hunt in real life, from Canada), blogging at horspigcow(dot)com. No, not with animals, but with her verse of social capital, kind of never ending asset we can grow with. Another way to discover the power of human relations, growing inside that can move mountains in fact, if we train it and know how to get the best with it. Still there, no particular rule but be perfectly straight, honest and right with your audience, never trying to exploit it without agreement and rewards in someways. Is this the new asset, if we can really talk about “assets”? I would say yes while it’s a long time run, and asks lots of time to see the sparkle of enlightment…And that’s why lots of fellows give up before…Don’t confuse “speed of reaction” of web interactions with be too in the hurry…

And then comes the real path…poetic, chaotic and progressive, it drives you step after step to different horizons and levels that give you piece of experience: experience is a fuel that addicts you to more and reveals sometimes a hidden face of your personality (tip: second lives in gameplays…). This way is set with several encounters, informations and aggregations that build your own circle of influence, your “X-ray” footprint in network walks. A fairy tale? Maybe. A tale? Sure if you decide to be a storyteller too, giving others the best, with nothing to give but enthusiasm, kindness and experience. It took time to build web network infrastructures, standards and wires. It takes time to play with it, even if speed and our ability to zap is increasing, digesting more for more is crap. Time to get Trust, Time to tell the Truth. and Time to enjoy being in a tremendous network, spreading thoughts and opinions. For real, for fun and for mankind.

 

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