Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Companies Win My Loyalty

This topic popped into my head as I was in the elevator coming up to our apartment, giddy with excitement about the package I picked up from our doormen. Just a small box, but a small box that perfectly represents why I love the company that sent it.


For my day job I work in PR and with a background and interest in marketing I have a close familiarity in how brands work to gain consumer loyalty. It’s the holy grail. Some brands are spot on – Apple comes to mind (although the only Apple products I own are two iPods) – and others that seem to miss the mark.

According to a study conducted last year by Ernst & Young, brand loyalty is only the determining factor in purchasing decisions for 25% of Americans. I’ve realized that I’m not loyal to a ton of brands. Sure, there’s Delta Airlines (out of necessity, not love), Trader Joe’s (low prices, not always selection), and my on and off relationships with brands like J Crew and LOFT, but there are very few brands that I can will actually go out of my way to recommend. And that’s what I call real brand loyalty.

I think runners and, fitness enthusiasts in general, tend to form loyalties for companies and those can become incredibly strong. On Twitter a day won’t go by when someone doesn’t profess their devotion to a certain shoe, watch, nutrition bar or studio. Well, I’m not going to say I don’t fit into this group because I do. Like I said earlier, there aren’t many brands that I have a strong loyalty to, but there are two and there are pretty specific reasons why.


From my first email exchanges with Sarah about a giveaway on this blog, I was hooked. Many brands work tirelessly to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with consumers, but none that I know of actually achieve it like the Oiselle team does. The designs catch my eye, they keep my wash loads full, and are why I drop everything when new ones are launched on the site. Even the hint of new designs over Twitter cause excitement and anticipation among the birds. The community they’ve created is strong and genuine and the reasons why Sally created Oiselle are sincere. The handwritten notes I received in my first orders (until they outgrew the in-office shipping center) and simple pieces of swag like buttons and tattoos are examples of why I love the brand: they go one extra step to make that package even more special and exciting than it already is! I love this brand so much that I’m an ambassador for it – and I plan to be one for as long as they’ll keep me!


Cherry Republic

Completely different from Oiselle, part of my extreme loyalty for Cherry Republic is family tradition. My parents hooked me on Cherry Republic during our summers at our cottage Up North, but now that I’m the one dolling out the cash for the amazingly delicious treats, I recognize the little things that make this company standout – and it goes beyond the abundance of free samples available at all its stores. Whether I’m perusing through the catalogue (which is always the first piece of mail I look at – in the elevator – whenever one arrives), visiting one of the stores, reading the weekly email newsletter or emailing with someone on staff about an order, the distinct Cherry Republic personality shines through. My favorite example is a recent one. Just after the holidays the weekly newsletter announced a trade-in offer! Did you get a holiday gift that you’re not too excited about? Email the Cherry Republic team and propose a trade. Well, I proposed a trade – my $10 gift card that I wasn’t going to use for a bag of Dark Chocolate Cherry Nut Mix – and they took it! Today, the package arrived. What an ingenious idea, right? The little fun and unique things Cherry Republic does helps to endear it with its fans – and this is just one of many examples.


If you ask me, going above and beyond, being honest and sincere, and offering something truly unique are keys to gaining my loyalty. In this economy and culture, it’s not any easy thing to do but I know companies will keep on trying.

UPDATE: I should have included this last night when I originally posted this piece. Neither of these companies had any idea that I was writing this post and very likely still do not know that this exists as I type right now. I simply wanted to share my experience because I do believe that outstanding companies should be recognized. The experiences and thoughts above are purely my own and I am not receiving any compensation, favors or anything of the such for sharing them with you.

  • Do you have any loyalties?
  • What endears you to a brand?
  • What would likely make you recommend a brand to your friends?


Today’s workout -

  • 50min elliptical
  • 3x15 tricep push-down
  • 3x10 hammer curls
  • 3x10 upright row
  • 1x40sec plank
  • ab exercises
  • stretching

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Brand loyalty is tricky these days. There’s price, selection and service to think about, and I usually need 2 out of 3 of that for a brand to earn my loyalty. As long as a brand can offer me what I need for a long time within reason, they can look forward to me being a loyal customer.