Good Morning Brand Loyalty.
This morning I spent 20 minutes of my valuable time filling out an online survey for Apple – and I did it quite happily. On a day in a week when my time feels in particularly short supply, I surprised even myself with how easily I succumbed to Apples request for feedback on a recent purchase from their site – no promise of any reward required.
There’s been much written about the level of brand fanaticism Apple creates in their loyal following of customers, but equally as impressive is the commercial leverage they successfully gain from that loyalty without compromising it.
Apple retail stores act as a mecca for their uber loyal customers. In the US their stores have the highest rate of revenue per square meter of any retailer – grossing $65,000 per m2 – about 25% higher than the next best retailer. Given that most of the same Apple products available in their stores are also available from Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon for lower prices, their retail performance is doubly impressive.
But back to my morning’s gesture of Apple brand loyalty. I’m not a particular fan of investing my time giving brands feedback with few exceptions. I do make recommendations on Trip Adviser as that seems to me a reasonable price for being part of that community which offers me huge value whenever I travel. Otherwise brands need to be offering me a chance to win a bazillion dollars or first class trip to the moon, if they want my help to improve their business. The exception, as I discovered this morning, is Apple.
It turns out brand loyalty has one more distinct, commercial advantage, and that is the power to engage customers and clients in the process of continual improvement. As all retailers struggle with how to build deeper connections with their customers through outstanding store experiences, the ability to be able to gather insights and inspiration directly from the horses mouth becomes hugely valuable.
As I ponder the value of Apple as a business, their continuing growth into new and valuable markets, and their rate of return on retail store investment, I wonder just how direct is the link between customer loyalty and commercial success. One thing I know for sure – few businesses could not benefit greatly from focusing on how they can turn their customers into the kind of brand fans Apple creates.
Acts of Apple Brand Obsession.
A little extreme perhaps, but a clear reflection of the status in which a brand is held is the number of loyal fans who choose to tattoo the logo on their bodies. Needless to say Apple has more than it’s fair share as testified by the collection on the Apple Collection site.
A while back we wrote a post called brand ink about the brands that draw the highest number of fans tattooing themselves with the brand’s visual identity – you can check the post here. Harley Davidson is no surprise as the number one brand people would tattoo themselves with, more surprising is that Disney ranks number two.
As this clip shows, staff interaction in the Apple stores is a huge part of creating a unique retail experience.
It all adds-up to brand love…