They laughed when I sat down at the piano—but when I started to play. …
—John Caples, copywriter, 1926
A strong relationship develops not by driving brand involvement, but by supporting people in living their lives.
—Susan Fournier, guru of the relationship metaphor
Any CEO who cannot clearly articulate the intangible assets of his brand and understand its connection to customers is in trouble.
—Charlotte Beers, J. Walter Thompson
Integral to a business strategy is creating a cadre of loyal friends and customers to the brand based on a strong brand relationship. The larger the cadre and the stronger the relationship the better. It will provide a base business and, often as important, a potential source of brand advocacy, the most effective brand building that exists.
A loyal customer base is the ultimate competitive advantage because it is shielded from competitors. Loyal customers will have little motivation or interest in competitive offerings. As a result, competitors will find it expensive to try to gain converts among this group. If the customer base represents the most involved part of a categories market, a competitor may be in a highly disadvantageous position. In addition, because maintaining customers is much less expensive than attracting customers, the marketing effort to support the customer base will be relatively modest.
There are many routes to a customer relationship. Three of them are explored in this chapter. First, ...