Brands breeding loyalty through digital

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Patron Tequila

According to Brand Keys, hard alcohol breeds hard loyalty. At around $50 a bottle (750 ml), Patrón does not create loyalty out of everyday affordability. Rather than appeal to drunken college crowds on spring break, Patrón uses its marketing dollars to establish an elite club for those that consume and appreciate their ultra-premium tequila.

Brands breeding loyalty through digital

When asked about Patrón's strong consumer connections online, the company's Greg Cohen explained, "Recognizing the importance for a luxury brand like ours to engage consumers, a number of years ago we created The Patrón Social Club, an online members-only gathering spot for Patrón aficionados." Club members are given access to unique cocktail recipes, the latest tequila trends, and chances to win special prizes. As Cohen states, "We're a firm believer that brands should talk with consumers, not to consumers, and the Patrón Social Club fosters that two-way communication."

In addition, the Patrón Secret Dining Society invites members via email to exclusive dinner parties. For example, Chicago members followed a series of clues leading to a candlelit warehouse, in which Chef Rick Bayless prepared food while skilled mixologists made tequila-based cocktails.

According to Cohen, "In addition to the Patrón Social Club, we've also built a loyal following on our Patrón Cocktail Lab on Facebook. The application encourages fans to create winning cocktails, and the winners are given prizes and access to events, while their cocktails receive a spot on Patrón's official recipe list.

Jennifer Long, brand director for Patrón Spirits, explains, "By leveraging a social networking site like Facebook, we are able to provide our loyalists access to share and build drink ideas." In rewarding those with the best recipes, Patrón creates loyalty by stirring up emotion -- a potent ingredient in the loyalty cocktail. 

Home Depot

For DIY enthusiasts, the Home Depot is a trusted companion. Not only does the company offer a low-price guarantee, but it also provides a progressive loyalty rewards program.

Striking a loyalty chord with in-store customers is not the only way the Home Depot maintains strong connections. Online video is the perfect medium for reaching the DIY community, and one look at the company's YouTube channel proves it understands the value of topical video content. Rather that repurposed TV commercials, the videos feature Home Depot DIY experts detailing specific products or taking viewers step-by-step through home improvement projects.

By producing how-to content that engages the viewer, the Home Depot reinforces the approachability of DIY projects, which continually funnels consumers back to the store and online.

The Home Depot also offers an impressive digital magazine that helps customers discover unique home improvement projects, trends, and design ideas. The magazine is produced quarterly with content tailored for each of the seasons.

Brands breeding loyalty through digital

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In addition, the company launched "The Home Depot Style Guide" app for the iPad. The app features a series of articles with clickable images for more information. For instance, one article pictures an unadorned hallway that gradually fills with design changes, demonstrating how little alterations can have a large effect. In addition, the app links to the Home Depot website, custom-made for tablets, wherein all items within the app are available for purchase.

By providing the knowledge and goods for consumers to act on their ideas, the Home Depot empowers a sense of accomplishment within the consumer. Once an individual completes a project from start to finish, there is a strong likelihood that that person will be back for more.        



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.