Creating Brand Cheerleaders through Loyalty Hacking
Norwest hosts brand leaders in San Francisco for an evening with loyalty architect and author Craig Wilson
Did you know that it costs about 500% more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones? Nevertheless, as companies shift attention from rapid acquisition to customer retention, many struggle with how to do it effectively. According to Craig Wilson, loyalty architect and author of The Compass and the Nail, the answer lies in the connection made between the people that make a product and the people that use a product.
Norwest recently invited Craig to speak in San Francisco about his brand ecosystem. Some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Patagonia, Kiehl’s, Seventh Generation, prAna Living, Burton Snowboards, and many others, have used his model with tremendous results. Company founders, CEOs, marketing VPs, and leaders of brand partnerships gathered to hear ways they can enhance brand loyalty and quantify the connections between their company and customers.
Craig discussed the importance of authenticity, noting “the value that distinguishes one product from the next, one brand from the next, is born in the character of the organization and the people behind the scenes.” He further added, “When the end product and brand experiences manifest the values of the organization, then there is a basis for connection—a basis for relationship.” Craig explained that this customer relationship exists across a continuum that starts with “prospects” and ends with “cheerleaders”. He emphasized that it’s rare for a cheerleader to be created overnight.
In Craig’s experience, the best companies not only identify the basis for their relationship but effectively migrate customers through the continuum with targeted interactions, ultimately creating advocates for life.
Within Norwest’s own portfolio, Kendra Scott, CEO and founder of Kendra Scott Design, built her fashion jewelry brand on the core tenets of fashion, family, and philanthropy. Fourteen years later, her brand now has 52 retail locations, major wholesale partners like Nordstrom, and a rapidly growing online presence. Even at the beginning as a single-person company, Kendra laid the groundwork for her brand by participating in local charity auctions and never turning down an opportunity to make a charitable donation when asked. Today, that ethos is exemplified by the Kendra Gives Back program. This year alone, the company will host more than 6,000 in-store events (that’s more than two per store, per week!) and donate approximately $2 million to worthy causes, along with 60,000 pieces of jewelry.
Kendra’s brand magic lies in her ability to extend her culture through every facet of the organization, from design to retail to customer service. Kendra Scott employees are guided by the “Sister Rule” — to take care of fellow team members and customers like they would family. Through this rule and a unique store experience, customers typically bypass Craig’s traditional spectrum and are instantly converted into “Cheerleaders”. This is a loyalty “hack” 15 years in the making, confirmed by tremendous organic traffic to Kendra’s e-commerce site today.
Attendees who joined us for the evening with Craig Wilson focused on what they could bring back to their brands and organizations while remembering a great product is just the price of entry.