Brands breeding loyalty through digital

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Across the board, Amazon is No. 1 in brand loyalty, recently overtaking fanatically supported Apple. As the largest online retailer, its sheer selection of goods is enough to continuously reel in customers. However, a company does not get to the top of the loyalty charts by treating people like fish.

"Amazon Prime" is a membership program that gives users unlimited shipping for $79 a year. Not only does the program offer free shipping on goods, but it also provides a wide array of free digital services. Prime members can access unlimited, commercial-free, instantly streaming online videos through Amazon Prime Instant Video. And with the release of its new Kindle, the Android-powered Kindle Fire, Amazon provides an affordable tablet on which to view content.

Brands breeding loyalty through digital

Although Amazon is hesitant to reveal the numbers, according to comScore, the Kindle Fire makes up 54.4 percent of the total Android market, likely due to Amazon's loyal customer base and the tablet's low price ($199). This market domination has attracted the attention of big brands like HBO, as the HBO Go service is now available on Kindle Fire. HBO Go provides members access to HBO's original shows, such as "True Blood" and "Game of Thrones."

A new licensing agreement with MGM will add hundreds of movies and TV shows to the Amazon's video catalog, which now offers more than 18,000 videos. According to Brad Beale, Amazon's director of digital video content acquisition, "Our customers tell us they love having tons of movies and TV shows to choose from, which is why we are focused on adding even more titles to our already extensive Prime Instant Video library." Once again, the key to happy customers is listening.


Nowadays, nearly every vacation begins with an online journey. Web-hopping from travel site to travel site can be as draining as a red-eye flight, but many find that the personalized experience, DIY satisfaction, and extra money saved from online booking are worth it. If you have recently planned a trip, the odds that you visited Expedia (or its affiliate network of travel sites) are high. In fact, one of every 20 hotel rooms a night is booked through Expedia -- the world's largest travel company.

To reinforce its dominance, Expedia launched "Expedia Everywhere," which places social media and mobile at the center of its marketing strategy. For instance, in 2011, the company created the largest Facebook-hosted sweepstake game, "FriendTrips," which gave away five trips entitled, "Trips of a Lifetime." According to Expedia, the game increased the company's fan count by 750 percent.

By developing strong relationships with influential bloggers, Expedia understands the value of travelers' sharing stories with others. In late 2011, the company invited 16 top travel bloggers to lunch and to a corporate suite at the Seattle Seahawk's football game. In addition, the company sponsors road trips with travel bloggers, such as the "Touring California with Travel
Blogger Spencer Spellman
" feature.

Another online platform Expedia uses to develop positive relationships with consumers is the digital newspaper. Expedia partnered with to serve as the exclusive online booking engine for its travel site. Visitors to Travel are able to access Expedia travel content and book hotels, flights, rental cars, and cruises. To develop customer loyalty, Expedia makes sure the individual knows they are just that: individual.



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.