Brands breeding loyalty through digital

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Building on the success of its global multi-channel "Stay Hilton, Go Everywhere" campaign, Hilton launched the hospitality industry's first iAd interactive extension for Apple devices. Embracing the power of imagery, Hilton's interactive iAds for the iPhone and iPad take users on virtual vacations around the globe.

Image source: Hilton Global Media Center

At the bottom of the screen, a compass allows users to navigate between various images of destinations with a swipe of the finger, making the ad the first to employ the three-axis gyroscope on Apple devices. According to Dave Horton, global head of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, "This iAd reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of our brand as one that ventures beyond the norm to ensure it stays as relevant today as when it was first created."

Hilton's commitment to staying relevant with modern, tech-savvy consumers is evident in the following video, which details the company's "Lobby Initiative" -- a strategic plan to redefine the lobby experience to best engage guests.

In addition, rather than broadcasting ads across social media, Hilton listens to its customers and provides relevant responses -- evident in the following Facebook post:

Image source

Hilton is a forward-thinking brand, ensuring that discounts and added value are extended to every consumer. As the 2012 Gay Pride Season commenced, Hilton launched the "Stay Hilton, Go Out" package, which provided lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) travelers and friends of the LGBT community traveling to Pride Season celebrations with special offers. By staying relevant and focusing on its guests, Hilton thoroughly engages its customer base.


In the digital marketing world, mistakes are common. Before AT&T developed an advanced email marketing strategy, it made a few mistakes. For example, the company's VP of general marketing sent customers a generic email detailing AT&T's planned infrastructure spending. The email infuriated recipients, who quickly swarmed AT&T's Facebook page with complaints. Ready for the onslaught, AT&T representatives responded to each and every post, tempering consumer's anger. As a result, AT&T now bolsters customer loyalty by sending personalized and geo-targeted emails.

More than 2 million people a day visit AT&T's website, which is a lot of customers to maintain. According to AT&T's SVP of consumer digital experience, Phil Bienert, the most critical activity for great customer service is to listen: "From formal surveys to digital analytics to social media to crowd sourcing, we're constantly gathering feedback from our customers in a number of different areas to ensure we're continuing to improve." 

And listening closely appears to be working. In 2011, AT&T wireless recorded the "fewest number of Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints and received the lowest BBB complaint rate among the four largest national wireless carriers."

Yet, AT&T still suffers from a common symptom among wireless carriers: Despite loving their smartphones, customers feel a "disconnect" with their smartphone carriers. And customer connection breeds customer loyalty. In order to improve its relationship with consumers, AT&T continues to evolve its "Rethink Possible" campaign to center upon human experiences. For instance, take the following video. Rather than flaunt AT&T network speed, the video highlights the phone's ability to allow individuals to share their exciting new experiences with others.

Kyle Montero is an editorial intern as iMedia Connection.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Marketing concept: pixelated words Customer loyalty" image via Shutterstock.




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.