Building brand love

A customer-centric approach to loyalty

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


‘Generation Tinder’ is a mindset that creative agency Hey Human believe is representative of today’s culture. With so much choice at our fingertips, we are now empowered to accept or reject brands with little thought. Brands have to work harder to build true sustained loyalty and love.

In the 2013 book, The Human Brand, authors Malone and Fiske explain that we tend to evaluate our relationships with companies in remarkably similar ways to how we behave towards people. Similarly a recent study by Hey Human, in which people were asked to describe their relationship with brands, showed that words like ‘enslavement’ or ‘marriage’ are often associated with banks, whilst McDonald’s is described as a ‘secret fling’  - the quick and dirty option.

We’re now seeing an ever-increasing number of brands adopt a customer-centric approach as a way of inspiring loyalty. IKEA has recently introduced free babysitting after recognising its core customers were families, whilst Nespresso has opted for a full lifestyle experience designed for coffee lovers with member-only events and tastings.

The typical loyalty model of points and discounts is being reworked. Our perception of brands has evolved from the rational evaluation of costs and benefits, to one that is focused on the emotional elements of the experiences they provide.

Read on for examples…

Ordering Domino’s goes from functional to fun

Pizza chain Domino’s is widely recognised for being a good listener. “We don’t innovate purely for the sake of innovation  - we always think about how an innovation we come up with will benefit our customers,” said Tim McIntyre, Vice President, Communications.

In 2015 Pizza Legend was launched - a platform to transform the pizza personalisation process from functional to fun. Customers can design their own pizza with a base, sauce and toppings and appear in the  online Hall of Fame.

In Australia, the brand enables customers to earn a profit from their creations with Pizza Mogul. Customers can spread the word via social media and earn between $0.25 - $4.50 per pizza.

Domino’s is perfectly aligned with its customers’ needs and embraces their ideas through product innovation, ensuring a vested interest in the brand which will in turn reward them with loyalty.

Agency: Iris, London & Crispin Porter + Bogusky, London

Pizza Legends created in first 40 days
amount customers can make on Pizza Mogul

Liberty turns social likes into rewards

Liberty, one of London’s oldest department stores, has embedded Instagram into its new loyalty app, which serves up content that is uniquely personal to each customer. Customers begin by building their Tapestry board - adding their favourite brands to follow through Instagram, such as Kenzo or Barbour. As they step instore iBeacons activate bespoke push notifications containing perks, such as invites to trunk shows from brands they follow, ensuring they only ever see content that is relevant to them.

Agency: Suburb & The Upside

Jack Daniel’s has a friend for life

Jack Daniel’s lives by the promise of ‘making every adult a friend of Jack’s for life.’ The brand uses a sophisticated CRM and social media plan that engages  customers at key stages as their tastes and interests change. Jack’s ‘tell not sell’ policy means coupons are off the table. Instead they use storytelling as a form of communication, adapting the tone and products depending on the consumer. They carefully leverage the ‘maker’s world’ in Lynchburg, Tennessee and the ‘drinkers world’ alongside the iconic rock and roll  association.

Agency: Communicator

GE fuels the minds of tech fans

An American energy supplier is not a company you would associate with a loyal following, yet this is something GE (General Electric) excels at. The brand fosters a community of science and technology fans through events such as GE Garages  - a mix of education, hands-on workshops and public projects with collaborators from Quirky to MakerBot. And GE Reports, an award-wining online content platform delivering stories about innovation, science and technology.

Agency: Sub Rosa