Loyalty Fatigue: Big brands are missing out on consumer aspirations
Article by David Grant, joint MD, The Infinite Ideas Company
Big brands are mired in the traditional content of marketing communications, missing out on new ways of generating customer loyalty. The result is loyalty fatigue, created by consumer cynicism and resistance to message bombardment from the same old tired promotional strategies.
Today’s consumers know what the game is and who is playing it – and they believe neither the message nor the means of delivering it. Sales promotional giveaways, for example, are mostly disposable, valueless and second rate. Who needs another baseball cap, tee shirt or stress reliever? Every store group has a loyalty card – so no-one remains loyal.
And many brands, especially retail, are still hooked on the celebrity cult. There they all are, beaming out of newspaper ads or TV commercials, many of them having slipped from A to B-list, relegating your brand with them and cancelling-out out all previous attempts at loyalty generation.
Unless, of course, you can afford to hire Jamie Oliver – but I’ll come back to him in a minute.
So how do major brands overcome loyalty fatigue? By adding value and by being valued. By thinking laterally and marketing credibly to consumers by identifying with – and satisfying – their lifestyle needs.
One industry that has locked into this growing passion among consumers is besieged world of publishing. The self-improvement genre (oh, and Harry Potter) has been its lifeline. The publishing world has grabbed the consumer lifestyle aspiration trend and is making bug bucks from it. Paul McKenna has recently been awarded a £3 million advance by his publisher for his next three self-improvement books – and the publisher will still make money. Amazon has reported a 40% increase in lifestyle-enhancement book sales in 2004.
Two can play at this game. By identifying with consumer lifestyle needs, your brand also has the marketing opportunity to show consumers that you are interested in what makes them tick. The daily aspirations of the people who buy your product should be at the heart of every loyalty programme. Publishers have shown the way – and it has helped that industry out of a deep trough.
Now marketing people anywhere can exploit the apparently insatiable consumer demand for self-improvement. By managing the issues that matter to consumers, brands can credibly appeal to their loyalty. It’s credibility (and no longer just street-cred) that is the magic ingredient which sets Jamie Oliver apart: the one top personality employed by marketers who identifies with and caters for people’s everyday needs – in his case food.
But brands don’t have to succeed through food or Jamie alone. Consumers worry about health, relationships and finance. They want to excel at sport, in the arts or education. They want the most from their leisure activities and fulfilment from their lifestyles.
There is a whole world of issues to manage for credible and effective loyalty generation – but how do brands access these issues as publishers have done so effectively? And how can marketing budgets avoid the crippling fees charged by seriously credible, top box-office celebrities?
Launched last year, Infinite Ideas operates solely in the lifestyle enhancement field, and is the highest-funded new publishing enterprise in well over a decade. The twin purpose of Infinite Ideas is to publish books that satisfy the lifestyle aspirations of consumers – and to license out the content to marketers for their own exclusive brand loyalty campaigns.
So brands can now instantly gain a shortcut to exploit the consumer lifestyle enhancement trend by licensing, for example, an entire co-branded book, or 20 ideas on fitness for a promotional booklet, or 10 ideas on financial health for a weekly email newsletter, or one idea each on dressing to kill, seducing in style and better sex, for a women’s magazine offer.
These ready-made loyalty-generating ideas are a flexible solution for any campaign and any budget. Each campaign simultaneously identifies and satisfies your consumers’ needs, building a relationship based on their confidence that your brand understands them as individuals.
So you don’t necessarily need Jamie to get the Jamie Oliver effect.