How can brands drive loyalty in the face of digital disruption?

Customer ExperienceNews

What hap­pens when your cus­tomers and their needs are con­stant­ly chang­ing?

There’s been much dis­cus­sion on the impact of dig­i­tal — par­tic­u­lar­ly — how our behav­iours are chang­ing in the face of vast choice, with increased expec­ta­tions that we should be able to get what we want, when­ev­er we want it and how­ev­er we want it. But, for busi­ness­es, the reper­cus­sions of this are far and wide. How can brands fos­ter loy­al­ty from a con­sumer who can — and will — switch to a dif­fer­ent prod­uct or ser­vice with­out a sec­ond thought?

Adobe has been work­ing with Gold­smiths, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don, over the past few months to find out. You may have already seen Part I in the Rein­vent­ing Loy­al­ty: Under­stand­ing Con­sumer Behav­iour in the Expe­ri­ence Era report. In this, we found that half of con­sumers are over­whelmed by choice (46%) and would buy from an unknown brand that offers a bet­ter expe­ri­ence (50%). And when it comes to who they’ll spend their mon­ey with, con­sumers first ask:

  • Does the expe­ri­ence adapt to my indi­vid­ual needs?
  • Is the ser­vice avail­able when and where I want?
  • Does the brand help me to find the things I want and need eas­i­ly?
  • Does the expe­ri­ence delight me?

Using these insights, the researchers devel­oped a new strate­gic frame­work for loy­al­ty. The old loy­al­ty mea­sures of respon­sive­ness, rec­om­men­da­tion and reten­tion still apply, but to achieve new loy­al­ty brands need to be think­ing about four new dimen­sions: pre­dic­tive, preva­lent, choice and expe­ri­ence.

Now armed with a view of what the con­sumer wants, Adobe & Gold­smiths spoke with enter­prise mar­ket­ing lead­ers around Europe to see how they’re per­form­ing against these new mea­sures. The results of which are now includ­ed in our report, Rein­vent­ing Loy­al­ty — The New Loy­al­ty Expe­ri­ence.

The find­ings are sig­nif­i­cant and have big impli­ca­tions for brands and mar­keters.

Brands need to know the cus­tomer much bet­ter

The major­i­ty (75%) of mar­ket­ing lead­ers admit­ted that they don’t under­stand the chang­ing con­sumer and were neu­tral or neg­a­tive about how their busi­ness per­forms against the new loy­al­ty frame­work. And only one in four feels pos­i­tive about their under­stand­ing of the consumer—there is huge room for improve­ment when it comes to imple­ment­ing these loy­al­ty dimen­sions.

Data is dri­ving loy­al­ty through pre­dic­tive expe­ri­ences

Almost two thirds (61%) of con­sumers in this report are loy­al to brands that adapt expe­ri­ences to them. Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) tech­nolo­gies can be a great tool to help brands achieve per­son­al­i­sa­tion at scale. How­ev­er, mar­keters aren’t quite there yet—only a third (32%) are using AI to enhance cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. As AI becomes increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed, abil­i­ty to use it in cre­at­ing smart and adap­tive expe­ri­ences will be a game chang­er for busi­ness­es.

The new loy­al­ty frame­work: Good for busi­ness

To test the effec­tive­ness of the new loy­al­ty frame­work, we asked mar­ket­ing lead­ers about their aware­ness of the new dimen­sions and how well they were per­form­ing. We found that those fol­low­ing these loy­al­ty mea­sures may be out­per­form­ing those using tra­di­tion­al loy­al­ty tac­tics by as much as 14%.


As exter­nal fac­tors and dis­rup­tive busi­ness­es place increas­ing­ly more pres­sure on brands, the abil­i­ty to use data to improve the bot­tom line should be wel­comed by most mar­keters.

But how should brands incor­po­rate the new loy­al­ty dimen­sions to cre­ate great expe­ri­ences? The fol­low­ing best prac­tices should be con­sid­ered by all mar­keters as they devel­op strate­gies:

  • Adapt to the chang­ing con­sumer: With two thirds (61%) of con­sumers pur­chas­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices that reflect their per­son­al val­ues, brands must help them think ‘this is me’ when buy­ing. Tak­ing an emo­tion­al, rather than ratio­nal, approach to mar­ket­ing is vital to achiev­ing this
  • Data is good; data sci­ence is bet­ter: On its own, data isn’t much use. But incor­po­rat­ed into data sci­ence tech­niques like AI, it can help brands tai­lor expe­ri­ences to con­sumers’ needs and preferences—something which dri­ves loy­al­ty in almost two thirds (61%) of peo­ple, as long as data usage is trans­par­ent (76%)
  • Sim­pli­fy dis­cov­ery and pur­chase: Over half (59%) of con­sumers say con­ve­nience is the most impor­tant aspect they con­sid­er when mak­ing pur­chas­es. Busi­ness­es have to meet them where they are, giv­ing the cus­tomer con­trol of their own expe­ri­ence
  • Cre­ate mean­ing­ful expe­ri­ences: Brands must offer expe­ri­ences, rather than just prod­ucts. Using tech­nol­o­gy to cre­ate these is key, whether that’s through mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion or being able to proac­tive­ly offer some­thing

More than any­thing, the research showed that the impact of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion has been broad, but there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands that can cre­ate tai­lored expe­ri­ences. Thanks to data sci­ence tech­nolo­gies, this is eas­i­er than ever. Brands can scale at speed and approach their cus­tomers on a more tar­get­ed basis. Devel­op­ing a cul­ture that puts the cus­tomer front and cen­ter of every expe­ri­ence is guar­an­teed to dri­ve loy­al­ty and busi­ness per­for­mance.

To read the full report, click here.

Customer Experience, News
Garrett Ilg

Posted on 11-08-2017

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