20 Feb What a monk can tell you about brand loyalty
A monk once told me the secret code for loyalty. Even now I cringe at the intent behind my asking him the simple question, “what is loyalty?” You see, at the time, I just wanted to know how to address a common marketing goal – creating brand loyalty. Asking a monk about brand loyalty is like asking a doctor how to put a sticky plaster on a grazed knee. It’s well beneath them. And besides, what would a reverential monk know about brand loyalty? Quite a lot actually.
Little did I know that the simple answer he gave me would be so profound. I’m fairly certain he knew I was asking a fairly worthy question, but with a very commercial intent. So with a knowing smile and a glint in his eye he said, “do something for someone in their time of need.”
In their time of need.
Simple. Poignant. Powerful.
Of course he was talking about people and how people earn loyalty, but here I was breaking it down into marketing strategy. So you have to do something – that means taking an action, mobilise, do more than just communicate. For someone – not everyone, not a mass audience, a person. In their time of need? I mulled this one for a long time. A person’s time of need is the moment where and when a brand actually has an opportunity to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a life changing time of need or a reaction to a disaster event (though it can). Just a quiet, simple recognition that this is when your customer needs you. Might be buying them a coffee on Monday morning, providing shelter, giving them an experience worth talking about, access, entertainment or even just a “thanks”.
It’s a simple way to keep your marketing plans in-check. Ask yourself with every brief, what are we going to do for our customer in their time of need? To deliver on this you need courage to invest in an action, you need to know your customer and you need to take the time to understand what their time of need is. If you keep it simple and relevant, the effect on people can be magnetic.
Over the years, the monk’s definition of loyalty has infiltrated other aspects of loyalty. Need to reduce staff churn? Need to retain more clients? Need more people to do more work for you or your company? Oh, and there’s another enormous side effect to earning loyalty this way – it feels good to do something for someone in their time of need.