In our kitchen stands a Philips mixer, in the living room a Philips TV and a Philips music system. My parents were Philips loyalists.
More than 30 years later, we walk into consumer homes to see many different brands within the same product category. Ask consumers about the meaning of loyalty in current times and pat comes the answer “Loyalty, what loyalty?”. We see this all around us in our daily lives, when we make custom on which brand of shampoo to buy, the brand of shoes and now even the bank we want to give our business to.
One of the biggest changes in current times that has impacted consumers is the Internet and the easy access to information it brings. There are many research studies which show that word of mouth is the single most important factor when consumers make decisions/custom. As consumers get more informed and the cost of switching gets lower, loyalty diminishes. So are we less loyal now (or perhaps we were just ‘forced’ loyals in the past as a friend says).
Brands recognise this and have started talking about advocacy of the brand and work towards growing this. This has implication on loyalty programs and the way we measure and understand loyalty.
Learning from the real world and word of mouth/advocacy as a measure of loyalty, we have adopted a story telling approach to understanding drivers to loyalty. The idea is to get consumers to tell us their ‘stories’ of good/ugly customer service or attractive/ugly brands. The conversations that these stories trigger and the kind of themes that emerge from these are far more insightful than a usual Qualitative research/group discussions could achieve.
The story telling and classification is more fulfilling for clients, researchers and consumers themselves as it reveals new aspects and dimensions otherwise hidden.
I have a story to tell ….