At Loyalty360, we’re excited that the speaker lineup for Customer Expo 2019 is filled with industry leaders that have a host of fresh ideas for driving customer engagement and loyalty. The conference is just around the corner, and we’re previewing the thought leadership the Expo will offer. Recently, we spoke with Robert Passikoff, Founder and President of Brand Keys and author of The Certainty Principle, who will present his insights at the Expo.
 
In his published works, Passikoff has explored the role of customer loyalty and how that has changed in the last two decades. In his conversation with Loyalty360, he noted, “The world that we used to know, where it really was ‘Coke versus Pepsi,’ has disappeared. This reality has made the road to loyalty more difficult.”
 
Taking a nuanced view of this “difficult road,” Passikoff said, “When we look at [loyalty], we’re basically saying, ‘Is there some structure in place that is going to get people to behave better toward one brand than another?’”
 
Brand Keys recently released the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, which examines customers’ relationships with 822 brands in 90 categories. Passikoff said of this index, “Part of it was a matter of understanding what drives loyalty and what people expect regarding the category.”
 
He continued, “What we do is go out and we talk to a massive amount of people. This year’s going to be something between 55,000 and 60,000 people who self-select categories in which they are actual consumers, and then, depending on the category, there’s a top-20-percent screener for particular brands that they use.”
 
The study is national and ensures that the demographic makeup of participants is reflective of contemporary consumers. Passikoff said, “They participate in an interview that is part psychological and part rational. It’s independently validated to measure the degree to which the brand is able to meet the expectations that consumers hold for the ideal.”
 
Passikoff made the case that technological developments have often clouded marketers’ abilities to truly understand their brands’ relationships with consumers. He said, “What we’ve seen over the last 12 years is a shift, from a 70-30 emotional-rational ratio to an 80-20 emotional-rational ratio in terms of decisions. The issue is that, since digital has allowed everyone to capture everything and to target everyone, what they’ve done is they’ve substituted targeting for branding, and they’ve substituted entertainment and likes for what is true emotional engagement and loyalty.”
 
The Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index is intended to remedy the situation. “What we look to do is be able to say, ‘This is how your consumer is looking at the category. This is what your consumer expects from the category, and then ultimately, you’re able to open up the category drivers.’”
 
Clearly, Passikoff and his research have a lot to offer brands seeking to improve customer loyalty. We look forward to gathering further insight from his presentation at Customer Expo 2019. We have a feeling that it shouldn’t be missed. We encourage marketers and representatives to come learn what their category drivers might be.

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