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A Good Social Experience Drives Brand Loyalty + $

Brand and marketing guru David Aaker’s article Brand Building and Social Media reminds us that social is another medium brands can use to create an emotional connection with customers.  When a company creates a brand-consistent, well-designed and well-managed community, it also creates a competitive advantage in the form of emotional connection and loyalty to the brand. 

A well executed social experience can create loyalty barriers that competitors will find hard to overcome

Using the example of Dell’s various community efforts, Aaker says, “There is now a different view of loyalty and barriers to competitors. Loyalty is now tied not just to the computer system working well and providing a good usage experience, but to the active interactions with Dell, and users in its community. The result is loyalty barriers that competitors will find hard to overcome.”

Extending the thinking further, company and product communities can be seen as assets in their own right with a financial value and ROI potential.  As extensions of the brand, they can create significant goodwill value.  They can also drive awareness, trial, and purchase along with innovation and customer satisfaction which directly impact revenues.

Aaker wisely cautions, however, that “the social experience needs to be managed and resourced. It needs to be designed to be effective, staffed with enough people to be responsive, and involve the type of people who will be concerned, friendly, and competent.”

Done right, he says, “the ROI is likely to be so high – especially if you consider the lifetime customer value – that it will be impossible to overinvest in it.”

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