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Why Design Shows Us Where We Belong [Day 16 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 16th, 2012

This is Day 16 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, Jamie Notter led a great discussion on collaborating to build fierce loyalty. Today, my wildly creative friend, Reese Spykerman,  helps us understand how design plays a major role in building a fiercely loyal community. Such a great perspective! 

Why Design Shows Us Where We Belong

By: Reese Spykerman| @Reese

A Chinese mooncake festival comes every Autumn.

The festival’s meaning varies throughout Chinese culture, but it celebrates the moon, rituals, rewards. Though I am not Chinese, its meaning for me is beauty, for with every mooncake festival comes mooncake boxes.

My husband eats the egg-filled cakes each year, while I relish in ornately crafted packaging. I am loyal to the mooncake box, for its delights, its uniquely Asian characteristics, and they house my paper clips in something more ornate than I’d ever find at the office supplies store. They are quirky, they mix modern and traditional, and they are me.

Mooncake boxes make me fall on my knees. So does Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Never mind Martha’s jail time, her ridicule of Rachael Ray for not having a garden. The beauty inherent in that magazine inspires me to renew my subscription annually.

We find meaning in design. It shows us where we belong. Visual beauty and aesthetics, subjective as they may be, ignite us in interesting ways.

My friend Gini, a mind-body advocate, raves about her Ikea stool.

“It’s designed perfectly for my height so my bare feet rest comfortably on the floor, taking pressure off my joints and allowing me to sit for long periods with ease.” Just in case Ikea should ever discontinue the stool, Gini bought and stored eight of them.

In 2010, Gap changed its iconic logo, to the passionate distress of thousands of customers. So fierce was their loyalty to the original logo that Gap reversed its design decision a week later.

Pattern and bag designer Orla Kiely introduced Stem in the midst of a fashion period permeated by solid black. The spring-colored Stem pattern catapulted her business, and introduced a landmark print to the world of hangbags, fashion and furniture.

Starbucks fans gravitate not just toward its coffee, but to its cozy interiors, warm hues and soft couches. Imagine a design change in Starbucks to stark white, with plastic hard-backed chairs and florescent lighting. Customers would revolt.

These symbols, markers, environments and visuals all give us subconscious cues about our values and often create a sense of community, too. When we see a Harley Davidson motorcycle, we immediately associate that bike with a certain group and type of community.

Design inspires loyalty. A re-used website template without any personalization inspires no sense of belonging to that person or business. Contrast that with Sarah’s illustration of her and the YT. Because of that cue, we know — from our first pit stop here — what her values are and whether they fit into our own value system.

Homogeny is death for any growing business or person in this marketplace. Neutrality, both in voice and in design, is near guaranteed failure. Design will be the great growth mechanism of the next 25 years.

Our people need immediate gut checks to decide whether to stay or go, to understand whether they belong. This means as much as you can use design to inspire loyalty, the more differentiated your design, the more you will also alienate people.

Here’s where the fear lies, and what drives entrepreneurs into the land of templates and safety. Alienation. The threat of not being liked, of turning someone away.

But for every 10 people your design, your business values or your positioning turns away, it will draw at least one exceptionally loyal fan. Think about Harley. How much it’s probably NOT for you. The same thing that makes it not for you inspires fierce loyalty among its fans and customers.

Beauty’s subjective. Design’s subjective. I can give you a million different rules to follow with design, but if there’s one adage I’d give you to propel your business forward and attract the kind of people who will walk with you into the fire, it’s this: design with your heart and values on your sleeve.

Do not compromise those, in your visuals, in your words, in how you choose to respond to the world. Use design to show people what it is you stand for, and stop trying to please everyone. Use personal integrity as your guide. Be courageous enough to be radically different (unless, of course, you’re boring as hell). But don’t be different to be different. Be different because you’re showing us your meaning and what’s important to you.

Fierce loyalty is given to the risk takers of the world. Those who stand up for something rather than speak of nothing.

To become beloved, become meaningful. And color that meaning into everything you do.


YOUR TURN: What company, product, or person inspires your loyalty because of design, and why?


reese spykermanReese Spykerman is a designer for business pioneers who seek knowledge on mastering the art & science of customer experience, brand image, and delight. Her company offers a variety of design services from website reviews, headers, brand consultation and comprehensive visual design systems. Her anthem for 2012 is Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out”. Reese spent a year crafting the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Mooncake box image from qqjawe on Flickr


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

Loyalty Through Collaboration [Day 15 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 15th, 2012

This is Day 15 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, Mark Silver showed us how to put our heart smack in the middle of building fierce loyalty. Today, author Jamie Notter turns the spotlight on using collaboration to build fierce loyalty. Good stuff!

Loyalty Through Collaboration

By: Jamie Notter| @JamieNotter

Everybody wants loyalty. In the business context, that means loyal employees, loyal customers, and loyal business partners. You want that stronger connection. You want people who will stay with you, keep your interests in mind, over time, even when things get rough or become unpredictable. That’s what loyalty is: when the seas get rough, the loyal ones stay the course, right by your side.

Understandably, we tend to look inward when figuring out how to secure these loyal partners. What can I/we do in order to earn the loyalty of these other people? Unfortunately this approach has an unintended side effect: it leads us down a path of treating loyalty as a transactional thing. I do x, y, or z, and that earns me the loyalty of my target audience.

Here’s the rub: it’s not about you. It’s about them. Loyalty is a relationship dynamic, not a transaction. And for the people who are your target audience (employees, customers, partners, etc.), the loyalty decision is ultimately in THEIR court, not yours. It’s something they develop inside themselves. They either feel loyalty, or they don’t.

So if you want their loyalty, I recommend starting with a focus on them, not you. Take a look, for example, at how you can collaborate with them more effectively. In Humanize, Maddie Grant and I write about collaboration as an integral part of becoming a more human organization. We look at organizational activities around things like “brand” and “strategy” and talk about what they would be like if they were truly collaborative. Where companies let their customers actually help define the brand (and even define the products and services). Where organizational “leaders” involve employees at all levels in making strategic choices (because your strategic environment rarely takes your strategic planning schedule into account when presenting you with opportunities).

This is different than how we usually do it. But by collaborating with people on things that you used to deliver to them (or at them), you stand a much better chance of gaining their loyalty. It means you will be giving up some control, and it’s going to demand a lot more clarity on your part (so yes, there are things you need to do). But in doing those things, you’re building a stronger relationship with the people that matter, and that’s where loyalty really starts.

So what could you do differently in your company that would generate more collaboration with the stakeholder groups whose loyalty you are seeking?

(image credit: )


Jamie NotterJamie Notter is a vice president at Management Solutions Plus, Inc., where he leads the consulting division. He and Maddie Grant are co-authors of the book, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.



The Three Ingredients of Loyalty [Day 14 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 14th, 2012

This is Day 14 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, Helen Kim, in her ever-so-smart way,gave us her Riff on Fierce Loyalty (if you missed it – go read it. NOW.) Because today is Valentine’s Day, I can’t imagine a better person to be posting than Mark Silver who puts the Heart at the center of Building Fierce Loyalty.

The Three Ingredients for Loyalty

By: Mark Silver| @MarkHeartofBiz

The recipe for loyalty is relatively simple, but the ingredients are not the most common ones found in business.

Ready? Here they are:

First Ingredient: Love.

You have to love the people you want loyalty from. Love comprises a number of other qualities, including caring, respect, admiration, equality, and generosity, among others.

But the heart of it is love. The human heart responds to love with more love. If you give love, love comes back to you.

Second Ingredient: Loyalty

Seems a little circular, but if you’re asking for loyalty, you need to show loyalty. But here’s the trick, you don’t need to show loyalty to the folks you want loyalty from. You’re already giving them love, which has many of the qualities that loyalty has, so you’ve got that covered.

Your loyalty has to be to something larger. And here’s why.

Loyalty is Like Faith

The human heart is made to serve, not to be worshipped. When people are given too much loyalty, it corrupts the heart. Hear me out, just for a second.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t stick with people through tough times, or that you should abandon anyone. But love is enough glue to hold you together. The human heart is healed by love.

Loyalty, however, can be intoxicating. Loyalty, as separate from love, can corrupt the best people. Because human beings are constantly growing and changing, and because we’re imperfect and constantly making mistakes, loyalty, or faith, has two choices.

The first choice is to fade away in the face of imperfections, changes and mistakes. The second choice is to become blind. “My country, right or wrong.” It’s the loyalty that creates dictators and tyrants. It is disconnected from reality.

So putting your loyalty, faith, commitment into something larger than you, a larger purpose, intention, or reality allows others to be loyal through you to that larger thing.

It also allows your community to own their loyalty. Rather than just trying to follow you, they are following something larger.

Third Ingredient: Semi-Permeability

Loyalty and love can all be reinforced by community, and community means belonging. But after years of working with communities of all sorts, I’ve found that one of the most under-appreciated ingredients of a community is the wall around it.

A community is not everybody. A community is a specific group of people. It can be incredibly small, or mind-bogglingly large, but what needs to be clear is that people know when they are a member of your community and when they aren’t.

This involves passing through the wall. And here’s where it gets a little tricky.

You want the membrane around the community (Whoa, switching metaphors. Now we’re into cellular biology.) to be semi-permeable. Meaning you want it to be strong enough to keep people in and keep others out, but you want it to be open enough that people can enter and leave.

The easier it is to join a community, the weaker the sense of belonging, and the less loyalty and commitment is formed. The harder it is to join a community, the stronger the sense of belonging and the more loyalty and commitment is created.

Some communities are impossible to enter, and the sense of belonging is incredibly powerful, such as those formed around ethnic identity or sexual orientation. You can’t change those, and so you know you belong. Religious identity can be changed, but even if it’s relatively easy to officially convert, it often requires big changes in your life, so there’s the gate.

So here are the questions you need to answer:

1. Do you really, truly love the people in your community? How can you nourish that love in your own heart, and express it to them in a way they’ll receive it?

2. What are you loyal to that you also want your community loyal to? How can you express your loyalty?

3. What is the membrane around your community? How does someone know whether they are in or out? What do they have to do to enter or exit your community?

Because that’s a lot to answer, I’m going to invite you to pick one of those questions, and answer it in the comments. And particularly I want you to focus on questions 2 and 3, because they are more quantifiable and easier to talk about.

Go to it. Pick one of the questions, and let’s hear it.

Mark Silver
Mark Silver and his team have worked with thousands of small business owners, teaching them that every act of business can be an act of love, and still be effective. But, you may wonder why it’s hard for him to be cheerful sometimes.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

A Riff on Building Fierce Loyalty [Day 13 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 13th, 2012

This is Day 13 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Friday, Carol Roth (of MSNBC and FOX fame) gave us an Old-School lens for Building Fierce LoyaltyToday, former Hay House radio show host and soon-to-be author Helen Kim (she’s also one of my favorite people in the world to talk to!) gives us her riff on what it takes to build fierce Loyalty. Guess what? It’s an inside/outside job. 🙂

A Riff on Fierce Loyalty

By: Helen Kim| @HelenKim

We live in times where technology has lent to the illusion that time is spinning forward faster and faster. The speed with which we can now access information and products lends a hand at making it more or less easy to inspire fierce loyalty and can influence our perceptions.

Technology makes things rather frictionless, making it easy for anyone to post and access opinions, comments and ideas. We are wired to share.

The desire to be loyal is a natural human instinct as it is deeply satisfying. People want to feel like they are part of a family or devoted to their favorite sports team, church, country,  employer,  products – anything, really.

We develop loyalty when we see leaders continue to try and make the right decisions for the benefit of their clients and employees. A business that can deliver their message effectively and instill in us a feeling of alignment toward a common vision garners loyalty or at least curiousity to experience the product or service.


No one wants to feel like you are using your business to work out your unresolved issues with your past. Self awareness is key in business and inspiring fierce loyalty. Do all the inner work (and do the outer work too because that is sometimes the way in). I once worked for a large management agency where one of the top earning agents had such a temper that there was a permanent hole in his wall where he had thrown a computer at someone in a fit of hysteria. This agency is no longer at the top of its

Know what you stand for and have create good boundaries around your brand/business.

We are constantly evolving and transforming and expect the same, or at least, hope for the same from others. This means you have to earn that loyalty again and again and again. It’s not a given. You have to manage experiences so that people want to return and be a part of your community.

It’s easy to be loyal when people behave but what do we do when we aren’t feelin’ the love? Someone with whom you feel fierce loyalty does something insensitive and it can rattle your faith in you, your business and them.

Preventive measures:

~Always be upfront, because you never lose when you tell the truth

~Be flexible which might mean that you have to compromise.

~Come up with delivery methods that better suit your clients.

Here is what I continue to work on for myself as I move into the next chapter of my life and business:

Your word is gold. When you say you will do something, you do it.

Show up – Attend conferences, parties, book signings, any place where your expression of support is seen, heard and felt.

Think about people’s problems and help them solve them.

Acknowledge everyone who shares a thoughtful comment/insight, whether a colleague, client, potential client, employee

Ask questions and LISTEN.


“You talkin’ to me?” ~Taxi Driver

I recently took a great storytelling workshop where the the first half of the day was devoted to listening.  Those first hours in a room with 12 people caused me to see how I skewed my own conversations with certain people was that how we listen and engage in conversation with anyone is dependent on how they are listening to us. When I think of the way

How do you listen to your employees? Your clients and customers? Is it with an open heart and mind or do you come with preconceived notions?

We all leave trails now. “With every idea we post, comment we share, we’re actually signaling how well we collaborate, and whether we can or can’t be trusted. It’s a new social currency, so to speak, that could become as powerful as our credit rating.” (Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk)


As we progress in life we have to make changes in order to stay vital.

Ask, “What’s next?”

Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, says that businesses must “innovate everyday to justify loyalty for a lifetime. Middle-aged baby boomer women are key consumers and influencers. Companies must do more than provide a product or service, they must offer solutions that respond to changing life-stage needs and desires. Older consumers demand new and different – making tomorrow as exciting as a first kiss.”

We need to meet our clients and employees at the place economists call “the coincidence of wants,” addressing needs and experiences the way  Zipcar, Rent the Runway and  Bag, Borrow & Steal have done.

In Conclusion

Fierce indicates an indomitable energy – unrelenting…

So in the words of Winston Churchill, when it comes to developing fierce loyalty, “Never, never, never, never give up.”

I would love to know what you think about all of the above. How have you developed fierce loyalty in your life (business, life – it all stems from the same place!).

Thank you to Sarah Robinson for inviting me to participate in this wonderful exchange. I feel fiercely loyal to her.


 is the founder of this company and former host of “Conscious Wealth,” featured on Hay House Radio. The program emerged from Helen’s experiences in counseling individuals in their relationship with money.  She featured teachers and authors such as Byron Katie, Julia Cameron and John Bradshaw and will continue to feature other experts’ work as it relates to money, relationships and work life. Helen is currently writing a book that will help people understand, reframe and ultimately transform their relationship to money. A former cellist, she is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

Old-School Thinking on Building Fierce Loyalty [Day 10 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 10th, 2012

This is Day 10 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, my friend Elizabeth Marshall gave us her musician’s perspective on how to play the conductor to build Fierce Loyalty. Today, in her trademark, no bs style, Carol Roth gives us some old-school wisdom on this hot new word, loyalty.

Old School Thinking on Building Fierce Loyalty

By: Carol Roth| @CarolJSRoth

Are you a VIP member of a customer loyalty program for your favorite retailer, sandwich shop or coffee house?  Well, you may have been led to believe that a plastic card (or worse, a paper punch card) creates loyalty. But does that really create loyalty to a company or just to their program?

Loyalty is not transactional. You can’t buy it with gifts or discounts.  It comes not just from a dollars and cents perspective, but from building relationships, connections and bridges with your customers.  If you don’t care about them and make them feel important, you will not earn their loyalty.

As many forward-thinking loyalty experts, like my friend Lou Imbriano, point out, this new thinking is really quite old-school.  Back when our grandparents were our age, they would go to the butcher who had a relationship with them.  They would go to the butcher who asked about their kids and family and genuinely cared about them, not the one who had a special on brisket or offered the fifth hot dog for free when you bought four.

Here are a few ways to jump start your loyalty efforts:

Know your senders and spenders:  There is a temptation to favor those who spend a lot of money with you.  But just as valuable are those who influence others and “send” people to your business.  Know and engage with both.

Listen and learn:
  Listen to what your customers talk about, not just in their business, but also their personal lives.  This will help build that old school connection.

Make them feel important:  Treat your customers like kings and queens. Everyone wants to hang out in the palace that makes them feel like royalty, if you know what I mean.

That’s it- three things that you can do immediately to start generating deep loyalty with your customers.

For more information on the future of customer loyalty, watch my presentation on Customer Loyalty 3.0 (courtesy of SOBCon):

Carol Roth
Carol Roth is a business strategist and New York Times bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation. Carol’s firm designs and implements customer loyalty programs for companies of all sizes. Contact her at


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

A Musician’s Take on Connection and Community [Day 9 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 9th, 2012

This is Day 9 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, the lovely and insightful Britt Michaelian shifted our language from “me” to “we”. Today, my dear friend, advisor to today’s best-selling business authors, and professionally trained musician, Elizabeth Marshall, turns her musician’s lens on the ideas of connection and community.

A Musician’s Take on Connection and Community

By: Elizabeth Marshall| @LizMarshall

We live in an increasingly fragmented and disconnected
world. In the midst of this isolation, our potential
followers and clients (including us) are looking for
community and connection.

Which begs the question:

Can we, as entrepreneurs and leaders, truly create the type
of community that our potential followers (and we ourselves)
truly want? Not the superficial version of “community,” but
the type that fosters meaningful and rich relationships.

Is it possible? I believe that it is.

In this video, we’ll explore a few lessons that the world of
music can teach us about community, including how those
lessons directly relate to our ability to build a fiercely
loyal community in and around our work. You have insights
on how you can evaluate your role as “community catalyzer”
and steps you can take to strengthen your community and

I look forward to hearing your comments, questions and


Elizabeth Marshall
Elizabeth Marshall 
is dedicated to helping messengers spread their message and sell their books. She does that through her coaching, teleseminars, and out-of-the-box workshops, like Book Breakthrough NYC.

You can learn more about her by going to



P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

Building Fierce Loyalty: It’s Not about You [Day 8 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 8th, 2012

This is Day 8 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, the wise and savvy Jeffrey Summers challenged us to create a more social experience for our community and dished out a TON of expertise in the comments. Today, the lovely and brilliant Britt Michaelian shares her super secret sauce for building her fiercely loyal tribe.

Building Fierce Loyalty: It’s Not about You

By: Britt Michaelian| @MamaBritt



Living your truth.

Building your tribe…

It seems like every year there is a buzz word or phrase that you hear everyone using. These buzz words are usually popular because they are incredibly important during specific times. They are a piece of history and right now, the word community is a HOT topic, especially if your community is fiercely loyal.

In this quick video, you will find out one of the MOST important (according to moi) aspects of building loyalty in your community. It doesn’t have to do so much with you actually, but it does have to do with how you act. Confused? Exactly why you need to watch the video and then leave your comments so we can discuss! 😉

About the Author:


Britt Michaelian, MA (also known as @MamaBritt) is a community builder, artist, author, radio show host, Founder of Work Smart Lifestyle and Co-Founder of Girlfriends Productions. She is currently involved in working with her business partner and 20th Television to build the first ever Social Television community “Friends of Ricki” for the Ricki Lake Show.



P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

Building A More Social Experience [Day 7 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 7th, 2012

This is Day 7 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, the uber-fab Shelley Kramer took us out on the limb of being human. Today, one of my oldest, dearest and most business savvy Twitter friends, Jeffrey Summers, takes our conversation in a new and challenging direction. Be prepared to think. 🙂

Building A More Social Experience

By: Jeffrey Summers| @JeffreySummers

Just as a great photograph isn’t simply taken, it’s created, so does the story you tell about your business and the experience you offer those who have or have yet to, choose to do business with you. Consumer’s mindsets have gone through a recalibration in terms of how they perceive, establish and value – value, trust and loyalty, as well as how they now define their overall relationships with brands. Gone are the days of endless push marketing tactics. Today’s successful marketers understand “social pull”. Therefore, understanding how to create a compelling story and then communicate that story to those who would feel compelled to participate in it, is extremely critical in successfully defining effective marketing and a successful social business. The most effective means of communicating these values, now happens within communities.

So when considering the question of how to build deeper (real, organic) loyalty and trust (not the frequency scheme kind) with your customers through the creation or participation in a community, you have to consider the strategic nature of four critical issues.

Listening Or Know Your Customers

Sorry, but the Golden Rule no longer applies. Because it’s not about you. It’s about your customers (and employees!). You don’t treat others how you want to be treated, you treat them how they want to be treated. Huge difference. Obviously, the key is in knowing how they want to be treated.

Secondly, how can you add the right value to your customer’s experience with your brand if you don’t understand what drives their interest in the first place? Too many rely on anecdotal evidence and internal likes and dislikes.

It’s also, despite previous posts on this theme, not about simply being human, but about what kind of human? What values, traits and characteristics does your business identify with, that reflect your core target market? What about your experience is calibrated or engineered to reflect, support and facilitate those very attributes?

So it’s critical that you do some fundamental work toward understanding better, the who, what, when, where, how and why of what makes your customers, be customers as well as what makes them continue to be your customers.

Just who are they? Where do they get their information about products and services? Whom do they trust and why? What are their communication preferences? How do they establish trust? Who influences them? Whom do they influence? Why? What values do they subscribe to and how do they differentiate among them?


Whatever you think about how abused this word is, it still has powerful meaning.

The adage, “If you build it they will come” is a prescription for mediocrity and failure. You must go where your customers are and engage them on their territory and on their terms. Which is why it is important to have listened to the point of knowing and understanding where your customers (and others like them) hang out, what interested them, what they talk about, who the influencers are, etc…

Then you can formulate a plan for inserting your experience into the conversation, where doing so adds enough value that it creates customers – which we know to be the only goal of any business.


Provide the focus and platform for your own conversations (and their direction). Don’t try to control the conversations – because you simply can’t (there’s more of them than there are of you!) and you will come off as simply another ‘push’ marketer. Ask questions. Dig down into what your guests value and what values they consider most important when choosing whether or not to do business with you. Ask for feedback. Ask for references and testimonials that celebrate those common values that bind your community and allows your business to thrive in their presence. Nothing is more valuable than someone who influences others (trust) giving their community a sincere testimonial on your behalf.

What if you don’t have any communities around your brand or products & services? Simply create them. Whether through a forum on your existing website or even a completely separate one which allows for and encourages interaction, open and honest comments about your experience, etc…  And don’t forget the offline events and activities that can leverage and support real loyalty.


This is a powerful point. Not many brands today are as open and honest about the value they provide – most because they don’t understand it from their customers perspective. Mediocre brands focus internally, not externally.  They are not “community-centric.” And heaven forbid they encourage participation from their customers in refining and supporting their products and services.  So the first one to do so will win every time.

Say what you mean and do what you say. Communicate to a power of 10. Add “meaningfully differentiated value” at each and every touchpoint in your experience. Map out your entire customer experience from start to finish (is there a finish?) and look at each and every touchpoint and ask yourself how you can maximize the meaningfully differentiated value you offer.  You should also identify real opportunities to creatively add personalized value at the point(s) of engagement with each customer. Coach every employee on this every day.

Final Thoughts

Social Business is simple, it’s just not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it right? It takes coordinated effort and strategic thinking to make it work seamlessly. Consumers reward businesses that create more social brands with both their heart and their wallet. So the question you need to ask yourself, is how are you creating a more social business? Now it’s my turn to listen to your thoughts. Leave a comment and further the discussion. It really is too important to ignore.


Jeffrey is a 30 year veteran of creating, operating, Coaching and consulting with successful restaurant & hotel concepts that include national, international, franchised and independent brands. He is also the president and founder of the Summers Hospitality Group a full-service, national and international, Restaurant & Hospitality Coaching and consulting firm based in Fort Worth, Texas.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

The Secret to Building Fierce Loyalty? Be Human [Day 6- 28 BFL]

February 6th, 2012

This is Day 6 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty (We take the weekends off during these series to play catchup). Friday, The always brilliant Danny Brown offered us a brutally honest post where he also cussed and talked about dog poo. 🙂  Today, one of my very favorite in the whole world, Shelly Kramer, takes us out on a limb so we can build Fierce Loyalty. 

The Secret to Building Fierce Loyalty? Be Human

By: Shelly Kramer| @ShellyKramer

When Sarah asked me to be a contributor to her Building Fierce Loyalty Series it seemed like a no-brainer. I mean, loyalty. That’s a snap, right? Building it isn’t all that difficult. Or is it?  Upon reflection, I realized that building loyalty is hard. And scary and intimidating. Who was I kidding?

So here’s what I think about building loyalty. As an initial step, in order to garner loyalty, one must first do something. Make friends, reach out a hand, show up at an event, say something out loud, write something, publish something, share something, create something, or maybe even stand up and be brave enough to share a thought or an opinion. You’re getting my drift. These things – I call them stepping out on a limb.

For some people, stepping out on a limb can be very intimidating. That limb usually looks thin, shaky and–most of all–lonely as hell. That limb is a metaphor for so  many things. It can be a party you’re invited to where you know no one. It can be writing – and then publishing – your first blog post. It can be going on a blind date. It can be day one at a new job. Or it can be venturing into an unknown that is the social media space.

It will come as no surprise that I’ve stepped out on that limb many times. But no matter how confident I might seem, I’m really somewhat of an introvert. Quit laughing. I really am. And even I have to regularly grit my teeth and force myself to do things that I don’t love doing. I remember a number of years ago when I was working on getting the courage to blog, and one curmudgeonly friend used to regularly ping me and ask where I was in that process. I kept waffling, procrastinating, coming up with a million excuses why I was to busy to launch that blog. In reality, I was afraid of the limb. I’m a decent writer – and I know that. And I have a brain that works pretty well, too. But the limb that represented blogging, and putting my thoughts and words and ideas out there … that was frightening. But I did it. And once I did, it was no big deal. And amazing how intimidating that had once seemed. Sound familiar?

That’s just one example, but the thing that makes all of it … all those journeys that we respectively manage to make out onto all those limbs … worthwhile, well that’s pretty simple, too. The rewards, at least in my experience, are too many to name. But some of the biggies include things like friendship, respect, camaraderie, kinship. And most of all, loyalty. And, if you’re really lucky, fierce loyalty.

So what’s the magic potion? How is it that you can live your life, do what it is you do best, or what it is you love, or what it is you’re most passionate about – and inspire fierce loyalty? For me, the answer is clear – it’s all about being human.

I’m not a big God Squadder (not, of course that there’s anything wrong with that), but I was sitting in Mass last week and listening to the homily and the words of our priest struck me such that I grabbed my phone (ignoring the frown on my husband’s face) and jotted down a note.

His message was a very simple one. A life driven by humility is the path to happiness. A life driven by ego opens the door to evil. I’m a huge fan of humility and it’s no surprise that this particular bit of scripture resonated with me. Think for a moment of all the people who have been fueled by ginormous egos and ultimately felled by them. The list is as long as any one of our arms, isn’t it?

Make no mistake – this post isn’t about religion – that was just an aside to emphasize a point. For me, however, humility is the answer – especially when it comes to loyalty. Inspiring fierce loyalty is all about being human – and being humble. Being prideful and ego driven are easy temptations, especially when success is in the picture. But being prideful and self-absorbed and constantly amazed by your own greatness–those aren’t the character traits that inspire fierce loyalty. At least not in my book.

Conversely, people who are humble are people I want to revere. Not because they ask for it, or expect it, but because they earn it. They deserve it. Want some examples of people who inspire great loyalty? What about Mother Teresa or Gandhi. Or Meryl Streep. Or humble athletes like Tim Tebow, Hank Aaron or Steve Nash. While thinking about this post, I did a bit of research and discovered the book “Start with Humility: Lessons from Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers” featuring case studies of CEOs like Starbucks’ Howard Schulz, Pepsi Cola’s Craig Weatherup, and Sara Lee’s Brenda Barnes, to name a few.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who thinks humility is an integral part of the road to success. Whether as a CEO, an athlete, a celebrity, a coach, a business owner, a manager of any kind, a blogger … well, pretty much you name it, humility is, in many cases, better than pride and egoism.

And you know what I love about humility so much? It’s about people. Humility is all about being human. Recognizing that we’re all just people, and we all put our pants on one leg at a time. We all have moments of insecurities and we all make mistakes. And when we have great successes or moments of brilliance they rarely happen because of us and us alone. Remembering that is, to my way of thinking, a formula to build fierce loyalty.

So, whether you’re wondering as an individual, a CEO, a manager, a coach, a parent, etc., how it is that you can inspire fierce loyalty, my suggestion is that it starts with being human – and practicing humility. Being grateful for the gifts you’re given, for opportunities or kindnesses, being grateful and appreciative of the time and talents of others, being grateful for the time people take out of their lives to read or share something you’ve written or created, comment on something you’ve said, etc., is a good start.  And no matter what, just focus on being human.

I’ll even go out on the limb and predict you’ll find that once you get on the humble train, you’ll find it is a far better ride, with far better company along the way, than the MeMeMe Express that so many others choose to ride.

What about you? Am I totally off base here or does humility resonate with you as much as it resonates with me? Is it part of your formula for building fierce loyalty? I’d love to know what you think.

Shelly Kramer is the Founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. A 20+ year marketing veteran, she’s a strategist, brand storyteller, digital marketing pro, content marketing expert, speaker and corporate trainer – she’s and a well regarded figure in the worlds of tech and social media. Recently recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 50 Social Media Influencers, she’s half marketer, half geek, with a propensity for numbers, producing results and a dash of quick repartee. Her client experience includes working with startups and not-for-profits, as well as Fortune 500 companies and agencies of all sizes, budgets teeny to gigantic, in both B2B and B2C markets.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

If You Want Fierce Loyalty, You Need To Be Fiercely Loyal First [Day 3- 28 BFL]

February 3rd, 2012

This is Day 3 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, my ridiculously smart and creative friend Les McKeown gave us simple and succinct choreography to build fierce loyalty. Today, the brilliant Danny Brown (who has a wicked accent and an even wickeder sense of humor) share the single thing we have to do if we want fierce loyalty.

If You Want Fierce Loyalty, You Need To Be Fiercely Loyal First

By: Danny Brown| @dannybrown

Loyalty. A funny concept. One that can mean so many different things to different people at different times.

Sports teams have loyalty from their fans. Well, the true ones do. Think Manchester City as opposed to Manchester United, where the latter’s “fans” are more interested in prawn sandwiches than a good soccer team.

Indie bands have loyalty from their fans. Until they sign that big record deal, that is, then they become sell-outs.

Humans have loyalty from their dogs. But then you would be pretty loyal as long as you had someone cleaning up your shit.

So, yeah, loyalty – a funny concept. And yet it’s something that’s so important to so many people, they spend their lifetime(s) trying to work out how they can build loyalty around what they do.

After all, build loyalty, you build bigger success, right? More sales; repeat sales; referrals. Get that gold rush and you don’t have to worry about marketing.

Okay, maybe just a bit about marketing (I’m a marketer by trade, so I’d be dumb to say you didn’t need my services, right?).

So, yeah – loyalty is something pretty much everyone wants to achieve in some form or another. And not just loyalty, but fierce loyalty. Because if you grab that piece of gold, the world is truly your oyster. That shit starts revolutions.

And so companies spend thousands (millions?) on trying to create loyalty programs. Bloggers spend thousands of words trying to say the things they think their readers want to hear to become loyal. Social media “gurus” spend all day on Twitter when they should be doing real work, just to try and get that extra loyal follower to buy into their crud.

And it’s all a waste of time. Seriously.

Because you don’t need to spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars trying to build loyalty. You don’t need to be that desperate typist. You don’t need to be that good-for-nothing-except-quotes-for-Mashable social media douche whose only loyalty comes from those laughing at him religiously.

If you want loyalty – fierce loyalty – it’s easy. Be fiercely loyal first.

Show people you care. Show people you mean what you say. Every time. Show people they can trust you. Show people you deserve that trust. Show people you’re not a dick who simply panders to those stroking your ego (or your dick). Show people every one of them is equal.

And it’s not fucking hard to do this.

  • If you’re a blogger, encourage dissention of your views and don’t let fanboys be your voice.
  • If you’re a business, embrace your critics as much as your fans (if not more so).
  • If you’re a manager, let everyone speak and not just Tommy Kiss Ass.

In fact, no matter what you do, in what discipline and in what medium, it’s really not hard at all to build loyalty.

Think like the person you want to become loyal to you and ask what really matters to them.

Get that simple thing right and you’ll have loyalty so fierce you’ll wonder why you were making it so difficult to achieve to begin with.

What can y ou do today to start thinking like the person you want to become fiercely loyal to you?

Danny Brown
Danny Brown is Director of Retention and Social Media at Jugnoo, Inc., and an award-winning marketer and blogger. His blog is recognized as one of the leading marketing blogs in the world, and is featured in the AdAge Power 150, Hubspot’s Hot 100 Marketing Blogs, SME’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs 2011 list and Canada’s Top 50 Marketing Blogs. In 2010, it won the Hive Award for Best Social Media Blog at the South by South West festival. Danny is also the author of The Parables of Business.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here. (Yesterday, I gave away Les’s book, Predictable Success, to someone on the email list!)