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Inspiration Company Q&A: Reflections on the State of Customer and Brand Loyalty

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Inspiration Company Brand loyalty The Inspiration Company is a Swedish organization that delivers valuable results to clients by designing quality B2B customer loyalty programs and motivational employee rewards clubs. Its goal is to help brands capture greater market shares by acquiring more profitable customers and by becoming more interesting employers.

Inspiration Company prides itself on a process that is thoroughly researched to shape loyalty programs that reinforce messages, clarify goals, build strong relationships, and deliver concrete results. Its success with numerous clients, both in Sweden and internationally, has given Inspiration Company some unique insights into the current state of marketing today.

Stefan Thorberg, Inspiration Director with the Inspiration Company, recently spoke to Loyalty360 during an illuminating conversation that offered a glimpse into the industry.

How do you define customer loyalty?

Thorberg: Loyalty is exemplified by a client who is not just satisfied with their last encounter with a supplier. A satisfied customer may change a supplier at any time because of a rebate offering, ad-on, or for any number of reasons. But a loyal customer won’t change suppliers due to price. A loyal customer is willing to pay a premium price, interact with you to help your business grow, and will voluntarily act as an ambassador for the supplier. Studies show that customer loyalty is six times more valuable than customer satisfaction.

How can brands create engaging customer experiences that serve as a baseline for creating loyal customers?

Thorberg: We look at customer loyalty from two perspectives. First, brands have to build and secure loyalty through the positive interactions that customers have with the employees of their suppliers. So companies need to first make sure they have engaged and motivated employees in order to secure customer loyalty.

Secondly, loyalty can then be further built and maintained by creating and establishing a loyalty program. And we recommend a systematic long-term strategy, which we call Loyalty Management.

How can employees be motivated and engaged to help build customer loyalty?

Thorberg: This can be done by establishing a long-term motivational program for the employees, which can also be systematized. We call this Motivation Management. Brands must build the desired activities and behaviors that they want fulfilled into the structure of the motivation management program. Employees will then endeavor to continue doing these activities and behave in the appropriate manner. And in doing so, customers will continuously experience great interactions with their suppliers.

How do you see the state of marketing today? And what are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that marketers now face?

Thorberg: Marketing is in a transition from traditional brand exposure marketing to value-based content marketing. Here the primary interest is the prospect of communication vs. USP-based communication. We strive to be at the edge of “Inbound Marketing” to educate, inform, and sell when it´s right timing.

The biggest opportunity for marketers will be understanding the complexity of prospects in the buying process, and what information a prospect needs when seeking a solution for a supplier and how they want this information. Being able to provide exactly that will be the key to success. You need to be able to truly understand the prospect’s situation. You must be able to see their needs through their eyes.

Today marketers are forced to use more data than ever. Do you have any advice for creating actionable insights from all this data?

Thorberg: Data accumulation is the easy part, but what to do with it all . . . that’s the hard part. So many sources and so much data add to the workload, and one must ask if all data really is necessary. Marketers can look for common denominators that convert prospects and then use them over and over again. But they must test only one thing at a time in order to track the true effect.

We should also not get
caught up in a race for new technology. We need to focus on the prospects needs, and not what the tech drives.

With the advent of emerging technologies, how do brands improve the customer experience and engage their audience in this challenging and very dynamic marketing environment?

Thorberg: By being relevant with media and content, by making the experience of the interaction fun, and by being consistent. Being consistent is one of the biggest challenges. 

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