Loyalty. \ ˈlȯi(-ə)l-tē is how you spell it according to the dictionary.
That is dry, impersonal, meaningless in its definition of “the quality or state or an instance of being loyal”. Back to square one, what is that determines for anyone, in any situation ‘being loyal’?
We need more. Let’s try and make some sense, here.
We are all loyal, whether to someone or something. Loyalty gives us the possibility to deploy the best of our resources, it allows us to connect with people we care about or respect, it is ultimately our own and personal gradient of value that we apply to the world around us.
Challenge: the world around us has deeply changed in the past 12 months. So have customers, priorities, needs and wants, and companies. Indeed also ‘customer’ loyalty has changed, or better, has not even changed entirely, it is in constant beta. The big challenge then, if we do not have the faintest idea of what makes ‘loyalty’ a bit more stable.
In Deconstruct we have recently been analysing customer loyalty, and we have elaborated the Trust, Relevancy, Iteration (TRI) Model, a framework to understand loyalty even when it is a touch too wavy – at least for the time necessary to make our adjustments, as people and companies.
Loyalty is a product of three factors:
In simple terms, people are loyal to us – or an idea, or indeed a brand – because they trust us, since what they know about us, about what we have done consistently in the marketplace. The trust message becomes a foundation because what we are, represent, and deliver is relevant to the person’s lifestage and status. Trust and relevancy are magnified in importance if confirmed during every iteration of a customer’s interaction with us from any angle or touchpoint, digital or other. She or he may stop loyalty from waving around.
The TRI Model we use in Deconstruct takes into account a series of variables making Trust, Relevancy, and Iteration (TRI) a specific combination of values for different companies and across different sectors. After all, we are not all equal. Same same, but different!
Today, Trust, Relevancy, and Iteration are under threat, as some global trends and occurrences put a question mark on what companies have done until now to keep ‘loyal’ customers and business partners. Globalisation and de-globalisation, the impact of sustainability and conscious capitalism, diversity and inclusion, climate change, and geopolitical imbalances were already forcing companies to revise their stand, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the impact of those trends, adding an unprecedented level of fear and uncertainty at a global level.
Loyalty brings rewarding, long-term relationships, whatever is at stake in the connection. In business terms, loyalty brings a reliable source of revenues and competitive advantages, sustainable over time, in many different forms. It is – therefore – paramount that executives focus on reinforcing loyalty leveraging coordinated and informed changes across all three dimensions, holistically.
To give loyalty to someone or something today is a far more important act than ever before, as it determines your possibility to believe in a liveable future. Companies have to act as role models and foster environments in which customers can thrive as human beings for a better future. That is why we like to think that we could be at the doorstep of a ‘Customer Renaissance’, from a period guided only by sheer profit to an age in which ‘health’ takes the place of ‘wealth’. And this is quite a big change.
If you would like to read our brand new report focusing on customer loyalty and learn more about our TRI Model, please get in touch with the Deconstruct team!