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Brands breeding loyalty through digital

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Major League Baseball

As America's favorite past-time has grown, it has undergone continuous innovation. And Major League Baseball's internet and interactive branch, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), continues the commitment to innovation. As CEO Robert Bowman has notably stated, "Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense." One of the best ways to open up the conversation with consumers is through blogs. This notion is clearly expressed through MLB's community blogging site, MLBlogs.com -- currently the host of 12,000-plus blogs.

Brands breeding loyalty through digital

MLBlogs provides the platform for everyday aficionados to rub virtual shoulders with its "pro bloggers." Rather than allowing new bloggers to struggle aimlessly to create a digital presence, MLB representatives provide useful posts updating users on new features for personal blogs, such as the post entitled, "New: Embed MLB.com video in your blog." By teaching bloggers to post MLB.com video rather than content leading away from its site, MLB maintains traffic on its own site. In addition, MLB's monthly post "Around the MLB.com Blogs" aids users in their search for valuable content within the community. Furthermore, MLB rounds up the most popular blogs ranked by page view every month in its "Latest Leaders" post. The comments beneath the list make clear a sense of competiveness and pride among users -- solid fuel for building loyalty.

Brands breeding loyalty through digital
 
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By creating a welcoming environment for a wide variety of fans to share their passions, MLB allows the fans to step up to the plate. By empowering the consumer to perform digitally, the brand nurtures the deep connection necessary for sustained engagement.   

Macy's

According to a recent study, seven out of 10 Americans visit a Macy's store or its website at least once a year -- that's 70 percent of America. As Macy's CMO Peter Sachse states, "We saw we don't need more customers -- we need the customers we have to spend more time with us. Therein lies the whole idea of loyalty. We put the customer at the center of all decisions we make." To build this loyalty, the retail giant launched its "My Macy's" campaign four years ago, which it still upholds today. The campaign capitalizes on the large stream of consumers that interact with Macy's by creating a highly personalized, omni-channel shopping experience that underscores its consumer-centric strategy.

The Macy's website receives a strong flow of visitors to its "My Macy's shop ahead services." For example, the feature allows online customers to check the size, color, and availability of a dress at a local store. By seamlessly blending the in-store experience with its digital platform, Macy's drives consumers online to the store -- and vice versa.   

In addition, Macy's recently launched a new strategy to secure the loyalty of Millennials through two digital experiences. "mStyleLab," aimed at ages 13 to 22, is an online community that "collects the opinions and thoughts of youth across a broad range of topics." This feedback is used to improve Macy's products, programs, and overall shopping experience. mStyleLab members spend time online discussing topics and answering questions regarding shopping habits, interests, etc., and the company compensates these members with gift certificates. In addition, "Impulse," serving customers 19 to 30, is a microsite within Macys.com that highlights key fashions, tips, and events.

 

Comments

Denyse Drummond-Dunn
Denyse Drummond-Dunn August 20, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Thanks Kyle for all the time it must have done to collect such an inspiring collection of examples.
Following on from Brant's comment about being more than "digital minded" I agree, but for slightly different reasons.
What all these brands have understood is that digital is so much more emotional than other media. It is intimate and direct, which in my books anyway is the best way to get a message into the heart of a customer.
All these brands also seem to have a passion for customer centricity that comes through what they do, how they do it and the words and sentiments they use in their connections.
Be warned I will steal with pride a few of your great examples - but will of course give you the credit!

Brant Emery
Brant Emery August 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Looking through these cases, which are great examples of brand based CRM initiatives - I'd say it's much more than being ''digital minded''. At the heart of most of these are strong value-add services. It's like saying "shops build sales through bricks". Digital is merely a facilitator, a building material, for developing compelling, customer driven, elements. Digital media does enable faster, more iterative, development of customer value-adds, but don't forget the basics too. Also, would be nice to see actual results - but I know details like that are rarely made available.