Always Learning: Brand loyalty in an age of influencers
by Kirsten Dewar. The latest research I’m reading paints a worrying picture of how consumers think about brands.
Traci R has had it with Capitec. In a post titled “Capitec service is terrible” on the customer service site, HelloPeter.com, she writes, “A week ago n in for the to a reversal on my account and they said they can’t and that I should call the company that debited. I’ve been emailing and calling this company and no one responds.. So wha t do I do in this situation. How can my bank not assist me. This is ridiculous.” [sic]
This is just one of many complaints on the consumer-service site that takes issue with South Africa’s second-largest retail bank. Capitec doesn’t fare well on the complaints and accolades site, where it gets an average score of 2.8 out of 10. But most big banks get rated pretty mediocrely when it comes to service — as seen by the screengrab from Hellopeter.
In stark contrast, insurance companies are nailing great service. MiWay Insurance comes in with a strong 9.9 for service.
Not happy with brands
Should Capitec be worried? Absolutely! The Cross-Generational Customer Experience Report reveals that today’s consumers share one thing in common — they’re not happy with brands. The just-out study, undertaken by software giant Oracle and customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss, reveals that 82% of consumers surveyed is disappointed in brands.
“Consumers have high expectations, and companies aren’t always passing muster,” the survey authors write. “Over the last few decades, technology has empowered consumers to become the innovators. Brands are no longer in charge of the buying journey — their customers are. And consumers have taken the reins, fearlessly experimenting and reimagining ways to interact with companies every day.”
The survey comes with a strong warning: “As customer experience (CX) professionals across marketing, commerce, sales and service departments, our goal is to adapt to this evolving relationship between consumer and brand. We must unite our efforts to meet our customers’ diverse expectations — even exceed them — or risk extinction.”
Wedded to survival
Customer experience is so strongly wedded to survival in any brand’s future that future-fit companies are reinventing how they approach every aspect of the consumer’s journey to ensure their brands remain relevant and resonant with today’s humans.
So how may influencers help? Take a look at how Lego is mashing influencer marketing with relationship-building and crowd-sourcing to create a remarkable innovation community. Run by Chaordix and The Lego Group, Lego Ideas is a site that enables users to submit their concepts for Lego products. The best ideas are turned into Lego sets that are sold by the toy group. Each original designer gets 1% of the royalties from these Lego sales.
Lego is a brand that has built massive brand loyalty and an almost cult-like following among its customers, and this is one of the reasons why. The Danish toy company is all about innovation, and this unique use of influencers enables Lego’s own customers to participate in the brand’s commercial processes and value chains.
Not only does the plastic-block maker show it understands digital and demonstrate how progressive it is, but this innovation in influencer marketing also ‘leans into’ relationship-building. It offers consumers an opportunity to shine and connect with each other by showcasing their amazing Lego pieces. It’s an incredibly smart play that must be building massive consumer support for the brand. Certainly, it’s a viral, self-marketing machine because customers love showcasing their new Lego creations.
The big thinking breakthrough in this clever Lego campaign is that not all influencer marketing efforts need to look the same or operate in the same way. By reimagining influencer marketing and collaborating with your customers, you will not only build brand better loyalty but brands can create marketing virality. And if there’s one thing we know for sure. it’s that humans trust other humans a whole lot more than they do brands. This means this type of influencer innovation will drive brand loyalties that will benefit your business from a bottom-line perspective.
Influencer marketing is a winning strategy — but that doesn’t mean we should stop striving to make it even better, just as Lego has done.
Kirsten Dewar started her career in data and research, before moving into technology, which took her to Platinum Seed; today, she is the managing director of the digital specialist company. She contributes the monthly MarkLives column, Always Learning, which aims to teach marketers more about digital marketing, from how to conquer Facebook’s algorithms to what LinkedIn’s new company pages mean for B2B brands.