Two Key Take-Aways from Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl Image

Image from: www.residentassistant.com

As we approach Super Bowl Sunday, there is naturally a lot of talk about nacho dip, Katy Perry and the comical marketing endeavors of companies with several million dollars to spend on a 30 second time spot. Since there are football breaks between Super Bowl commercials and refilling the guacamole dish, there’s also a smattering of people talking about the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Amidst the cacophony of Super Bowl chaos, there is one vantage point on which the internet has yet to elaborate. Both of these teams have massively loyal fanbases. So, what can each team teach us about customer loyalty

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks demonstrate the success that is born out of atmosphere and gratitude. Anyone who has ever been to a Seahawks game will attest to the overwhelming presence of the “Twelfth Man,” or the additional “teammate” embodied by the fans as a whole. The Seahawks have attributed many home game wins to the earth-shaking (literally) power of their fanbase. The “Twelfth Man” has become such a Seattle staple that the Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 in honor of their fans. When the Seahawks make it to the playoffs, a “12” flag can be seen on the Space Needle, attributing the team’s play off status to the fans. This gratitude generates even more fan fervor, which ultimately benefits the team by driving them to victory (… and helping them sell a ton of 12th Man swag).

Applied to the hospitality industry: There are many contributing factors to creating the kind of atmosphere that in turn creates loyalty. Engaging your customers through creative promotions, raffles, giveaways and the like is an excellent place to start! Spice things up with a themed party, social media keywords for prizes or an in-store scavenger hunt for bonus points. Also, be grateful to your customers when you achieve success milestones. You wouldn’t be in business without your customers, and your gratefulness will inspire loyalty.

New England Patriots

The Patriots demonstrate the role that consistent performance plays in growing and retaining a fanbase. They have had winning seasons for the last 14 years and their current record is 170-54 for a .759 winning percentage. They made the playoffs 12 of the last 14 years. They have been to 6 of the past 14 Super Bowls (including this year) and have won 3 times. If you live in New England, this consistent solid performance leaves you no reason not to cheer for the Patriots (well: that and the fact that there are no other NFL teams in the whole of New England).

Applied to the hospitality industry: Control as many factors as possible to be sure you are providing a consistently positive experience for your patrons. The value of having a loyalty program that’s always there for your customers (instead of just running promotions or special offers occasionally) is, in part at least, the fact that it helps provide a consistent positive experience for your customers. It’s great to surprise your customers with something special on occasion, but nothing beats consistent, thoughtful, intentional customer service.
So there’s the last Super Bowl article you need to read. Go eat some things wrapped in bacon and sing your heart out at the Half Time Show…  you know we will!

bacon wrapped

The Golden Rule of Loyalty

By Ethan Tuxill

In an age where the business environment continues to evolve, accelerate and everyone seems busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest, I want to hit the pause button and reflect on what has remained a vitally important element of the B2C relationship: understanding and being understood.

Whether you’re an international Fortune 500 company or a single location coffee shop, your brand’s success is directly tied to how well your business and product offering resonates with the public. This may be obvious, but there are countless businesses that don’t take this into consideration when building their brand.

Think about it for yourself; anytime you elevate a specific brand or business over another in your mind, it’s usually due to the fact that what they offer you as a customer aligns with what you hope for out of them as a business and what you care about. This is especially true for loyalty programs.

There are an astounding number of loyalty programs floating around the business stratosphere, and most of them are just added noise in the already cluttered marketplace. Customers can see through a crummy program that offers little benefit for frequenting a business and often, having such a program can be damaging to your brand. Adding more complexity and “features” that customers don’t find compelling is not only a waste of resources, but a mark of an out-of-touch business.

Offering rewards that give a real benefit to the customer and that are perceived to be meaningful, not only generates goodwill and loyalty, but shows you are attuned to what your customers value. Generosity and graciousness show that you care about your customers enough not to presume that you deserve their business.

A glowing example of gracious generosity and an in-touch business comes from one of our most successful businesses; Wooden Legs Brewing Co. On Christmas morning, they sent out a free Christmas beer to their most loyal customers, a no-strings attached gift. This kind of approach to customer generosity and long-term relationship building is part of what has made their program wildly successful.

Customers aren’t ignorant; they understand that business owners can’t give away the whole farm just to get them in the door (good loyalty programs are careful with and focused on margins, profits and sustainable pricing). Customers also know that getting 10% off after spending $200 is like paying with a $20 and telling the waitress to keep the change on a bill for $19.82. However, there is a sweet spot in between skimping and getting pillaged, and customers gravitate towards companies that understand that and whose loyalty programs reflect that.

The most valuable business to customer interactions are more than just an exchange- they are about building a relationship. When this happens, repeat revenue is sure to follow.