Embrace Emotional Loyalty to Boost Customer Engagement
In the customer loyalty industry, we are regularly introduced to new technologies and innovations. Most of these stick around as ongoing components within Brierley’s strategic arsenal. We continue to curate, gamify, predict, and more. These customer loyalty strategies aren’t going away anytime soon.
It’s not difficult to see what’s likely next on this list of things to stay: emotional loyalty. By embracing emotional loyalty, brands can boost customer engagement, customer retention, and your program’s profitability.
Emotional loyalty and rational loyalty
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” — Carl W. Buehner
The interest by brands around emotional loyalty has continued to grow for several years now. What is it? Why should I care about it? Can I even measure it? What can I do with it?
While we probably don’t need to explain what emotional loyalty is, we may need to explain further about understanding the difference between emotional and rational loyalty. Emotional loyalty drives a deeper connection with a member, injecting emotions into what used to be a merchant/customer transaction.
It’s the difference between picking a brand because they’re convenient, have a better value, or you know you earn reward points, and picking a brand because it makes you feel good, and you can’t imagine making that transaction elsewhere. Emotional loyalty from your customers creates lasting bonds with your brand.
Why should brands care about emotional loyalty?
“You give loyalty, you’ll get it back. You give love, you’ll get it back.” — Tommy Lasorda
Brands should care about emotional loyalty. Emotional loyalty is a key component within the loyalty member lifecycle, and it is one of the three pillars of Brierley’s loyalty program design. A program should be more than points, rewards, and the addition of soft benefits. It should aim to forge deeper ties to the brand and help enhance & cultivate the relationship you’ve created with your members.
We know the best customer loyalty programs evolve over time. They update, change, and continually evaluate what’s best to keep the brand and the program moving forward. These changes are typically driven by business metrics and the desire to consistently improve upon them. And typically, these changes are designed via rational building blocks of a program.
How to measure emotional loyalty
“That which is measured, improves. That which is measured and reported, improves exponentially.” — Karl Pearson
The key to the future is understanding how to evolve in ways that drive the business metrics forward while embracing and improving the emotional aspect of your member relationships. And we can do that by adding the measurement of emotional loyalty to our existing metrics, for a greater total understanding.
We look at a lot of metrics in our day-to-day business activities, and we slice that data by even more segments. We look at gender, household income, program tier, annual spend, and countless other metrics. We leverage these pieces of data to inform what we do next. That’s what really matters, both to the individual member and to our business.
So why not have a metric for emotional loyalty, too? Wouldn’t it be nice to understand how your members react to your brand in ways you can’t spot from your transactional or third-party overlay data? And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to slice that by tier, spend level, gender, age group, and more?
We thought so, too, and so Brierley created the BLQ (Brierley Loyalty Quotient).
About the BLQ (Brierley Loyalty Quotient)
The Brierley Loyalty Quotient leverages a short, non-burdensome customer survey with just 14 questions: 7 rational and 7 emotional. We then process the responses through our scoring algorithm which can distill the results into a single index score to show how customers feel about a brand. This includes rational loyalty, emotional loyalty, as well as combined customer loyalty metrics.
What we and our clients have found most useful about these metrics are that we can measure the same information from competitive brands without needing access to their customer database, sales data, or other metrics. The BLQ shows the performance of your brand in the context of the competitive set.
Leveraging additional technologies such as Tableau, we’re able to analyze, evaluate, and act upon additional insights within the BLQ results more deeply. Our clients incorporate the BLQ into regular business reviews and trackers, with re-fielding of results every 6–12 months to ensure we stay as informed on emotional loyalty as we do every other important metric.
How to use emotional loyalty data
“Data doesn’t create meaning. We do.” — Martin Lindstrom
Now that such a measurement method for emotional loyalty exists, we can do exactly as we do with any other data: evaluate how we turn that data into actionable insights.
With BLQ now enabling us to get a deeper look into the emotional loyalty aspects of our members, we’re able to build stronger recommendations for our clients. We are no longer limited by the usual business metrics to understand what’s important to our members and how to best grow the customer relationship.
A recent client engagement with the BLQ helped develop what was to be the next big thing within their program. Through the BLQ results, we saw the emotional loyalty and rational loyalty scores for the client as well as those same scores for eleven of their closest competitors. With this extra data, we were better able to understand the brand’s strengths and opportunities on a per-competitor basis. Combining this information with the usual business metrics resulted in a final recommendation that would have been significantly different without.
Our recommendation was a quick and easy sign-off and deemed a logical next step for the brand and program. Through the presentation, it was clear the recommendation wasn’t based on assumptions or guessing. We didn’t need to know if the customer loyalty members would care — we already knew. The next program features would cover the bases for both rational aspects of the program as well as the emotional ones. And this combination would be key in evolving a top-rated program, keeping this client the leader in their industry.
Learn more about emotional loyalty
The loyalty landscape has evolved. What began with simple punch-cards has evolved into a competitive environment of brands with creative methods of fighting to ensure they win the most customer business. Harnessing the power of emotional loyalty might be the biggest arrow in your marketing quiver moving forward.
To learn more about how embracing emotional loyalty can boost your brand's customer engagement and retention, Brierley’s loyalty data experts are waiting to speak with you. For over 35 years, Brierley has created award-winning customer loyalty programs for major brands around the world.
Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you increase your program’s profitability by embracing emotional loyalty.