How much brand love do you inspire?

How to measure brand loyalty

Are you considering a risk within your marketing approach? Bold, attention-getting moves can reap big rewards. But, before you leap, there is one very important aspect of your brand health you have to consider – Loyalty.

Brand loyalty is a factor every marketer wants to understand better. That’s because high loyalty translates to firmly-implanted customers. Brand-loyal customers often describe themselves through the lens of their favorite brand (e.g., “I’m an Apple person.”) They also tend to stick with their preferred brands for the long term. It’s no wonder “brand love” has become something of a buzzphrase.

LIFT data scientists look at more than blind loyalty when measuring the Loyalty factor, one of four factors that ultimately roll into the Brand Experience Index. They also look at consideration or how likely someone is to give your brand a chance. Our research measures various levels of loyalty, from whether someone is likely to at least consider your offerings to the possibility they will choose your brand regardless of other moderating factors.
Industry considerations

Brand loyalty is strongly influenced by industry verticals. Financial services customers, for instance, tend to be more entrenched, partly because of perceptions that switching providers is burdensome and not worth the effort. They tend to remain loyal customers unless or until they feel a brand has wronged them in some way.

In the software industry, on the other hand, customers are less inclined to stick with one brand. Competition is high, and new entrants to the software marketplaces often work incredibly hard to make changing providers a simple experience. Software brands are always looking to gain an edge on the competition, capitalizing on better pricing, features and service offerings.

Regardless of the industry, no company is insulated from the threat of customers taking their business elsewhere. All brands are well-served by efforts that make their customers feel valued and appreciated.

Risk assessments

So, back to that bold, perhaps even risky, marketing strategy. Your success – or the impact of your failure – can be largely influenced by the loyalty of your target audience.

Consider Nike and an infamous campaign. The company’s leadership probably had a very good pulse on Nike’s target segment’s social attitudes and loyalty levels before launching promotional content that featured Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protests. While the strategy certainly alienated some consumers, polling after the ads were released showed nearly a third of its target demographic said they would buy more Nike products.

Pepsi came under intense criticism after an ad featuring Kendall Jenner was viewed as insensitive and tone-deaf. Pepsi ended up pulling the ad amidst the public relations fiasco. But, during an earnings call the following quarter, the company reported an increase in its revenue and profits. In this case, existing customers’ loyalty may have been strong enough to weather the storm. Despite possible disapproval of the ad, loyalists stuck with their preferences, and buying habits ultimately weren’t negatively impacted.

Employee experience is the combination of an employee’s perceptions and interactions with their organization, from when they first learn about the organization until they leave (or retire). A positive culture can lead to increased engagement and productivity, whereas a negative experience can result in disengagement and turnover. Therefore, it is important for organizations to create a positive and data-driven employee experience.

Clarity of expectations and consistent processes are essential for creating a positive work environment. Employees should know what is expected of them, and they should be able to rely on their leaders to provide clear guidance. Furthermore, the process by which employees are onboarded, developed, and promoted should be fair and transparent.

Data also plays an important role in shaping your business. Organizations can identify areas where the experience can be improved by studying employee engagement data. For example, if surveys reveal that employees are unhappy with their clarity of expectations, leadership can work to improve communication channels. In short, organizations can create a more engaged and productive workforce by taking a data-driven approach to their culture.

The different aspects of employee experience

Employee perception is a critical aspect of any business. It encompasses everything from the initial recruitment process to the day-to-day working environment and can significantly impact employee satisfaction and productivity. Ultimately, a positive employee experience leads to a more engaged and loyal workforce, which can help to drive business success. Many factors contribute to employee experience, but some of the most important include company culture, work/life balance, and career development opportunities. Creating a positive employee experience requires focusing on all of these elements, which all businesses should strive for.

How to improve

Employee experience is critical to the success of any organization. Engaged employees are more productive, have better attendance, and are more likely to stay with the company. So how can you improve the employee experience? First, start by creating a positive culture. This means promoting a healthy work-life balance, valuing employee input, and providing opportunities for professional development. You should also provide employees with the resources they need to succeed in their roles. This includes everything from adequate training to the latest technology. Finally, make sure to show your appreciation for a job well done. Recognizing employee achievements helps to create a motivated and engaged workforce. These simple tips can improve employee experience and create a more successful organization.

The benefits of improving

Improving corporate culture is a hot topic in the business world today. And for good reason – studies have shown that improving employee experience can lead to increased productivity, engagement, and retention. But what exactly is employee experience? It encompasses everything from the physical environment in which employees work, to the systems and processes they use, to the way they are treated by their managers. In short, it’s about creating a workplace that meets the needs of employees and makes them feel valued. When employees feel supported and engaged, they are more likely to be productive and innovative. They are also more likely to stick around, saving the company money in the long run. Creating a great work environment is not only good for employees, but it’s also good for business.

How to measure the success of your efforts

Setting measurable goals that align with your company’s overall mission is important. This will help you track progress and gauge the success of your efforts. You can use a few key metrics to measure the success of your employee experience improvement efforts.

First, look at engagement levels. This can be done through surveys or other feedback mechanisms. Are employees more engaged than they were before? Are they taking advantage of new opportunities and benefits?

Next, look at retention rates. Are employees sticking around longer? Finally, look at productivity levels. Have employees become more productive since you changed the workplace environment or introduced new perks and programs? You’ll get a clear picture of your efforts’ impact on employee experience by tracking these metrics.

Major players make the effort to improve

Many companies are realizing the importance of improving the employee experience. A great employee experience can lead to increased productivity, higher retention rates, and a better bottom line.

Here are three companies that have successfully improved:

1. Google: Google has long been known as a great place to work. The company offers free food and on-site child care, providing employees ample opportunities to grow and develop their skills. In recent years, Google has also made a concerted effort to improve its employee experience by implementing policies that promote work-life balance.

2. Amazon: Amazon is another company that strongly emphasizes improvement. The online retailer offers several benefits to its workers, including competitive salaries, comprehensive health insurance, and stock options. In addition, Amazon has created many programs to help employees develop their skills and advance their careers.

3. Pixar: Pixar is a different kind of company than Google or Amazon, but it has also successfully improved its company culture. The animated film studio is known for its creative and collaborative culture. Employees are free to be creative and experiment with new ideas.

These companies have reaped rewards in increased productivity, engagement, and retention by investing in their employees.

Employee experience is a term you will hear more and more in the coming years.

It encompasses all aspects of an employee’s relationship with their employer, from recruitment to retirement. And it’s become increasingly important because companies are starting to realize that happy employees lead to better business outcomes. Start by working on your employee experience to improve your company’s performance.

If you’re ready to measure and pinpoint your opportunities to improve, check out our Employee Experience Index.

Is your brand top-of-mind with your target audiences?

Salesforce engaged our data scientists to research the brand experience of several solutions within the software company’s automated marketing product suite.

When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) software, Salesforce is a highly recognizable name. Yet, there were still a few surprises for our team when they reviewed the results of a 900-person target audience survey regarding Salesforce’s marketing solutions.

Most notably, we received 900 different answers from the respondents.
It became clear that the crowded marketing automation software field was causing brand recognition issues for the company. Although Salesforce.com had built a strong CRM brand, the target audience demonstrated little association between Salesforce products and marketing discipline.

Defining Recognition in Brand Experience

Recognition, one of the four key attributes factored into the LIFT Brand Experience Index, measures name recognition but also looks more deeply at the top-of-mind connections your target audience makes between your products and your industry.

This is critically important to brands, especially those operating in a crowded market. That’s because strong recognition helps your brand bypass the competition in the minds of your target audience. Instead of searching “marketing software” and sifting through thousands of results, Salesforce wants prospective customers to search Pardot, one of the product brands in its automated marketing product suite, so they can go directly to the Salesforce.com website to gather information.

When our data scientists are analyzing a brand’s recognition attribute within a BXi study, they’re checking to see how likely it is for a member of the target audience to name the client brand through unaided recall.

Recently, we conducted a sample Brand Experience Index in retail using household giants Walmart, Target, and Amazon. (We conduct mass market tests like this frequently to train our machine learning algorithms on brand health analysis.) In this particular sample assessment, more than half the population of shoppers named Walmart unaided when asked to name a retailer. Obviously, these are results every company in a competitive field would find desirable.

The Brand Experience Index for Salesforce identified key issues for the company’s marketing team to address. This provided valuable guidance to develop a concerted marketing, branding, and communications strategy that strongly focused on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Using the Brand Experience Index as a diagnostic tool proves extremely helpful even when a company recognizes a general problem. Pinpointing the root causes or market nuances can be difficult in those cases. The Brand Health Score reveals those details.

Working from home has become a popular option, but it’s challenging. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits and challenges of working from home so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

WFH Challenges

While there are many benefits to working from home, there are also some challenges that come with it, including:

  1. Loneliness – When you work from home, you can sometimes feel isolated and lonely because you’re not around other people during the day.
  2. Distractions at home – Many distractions at home, such as children, spouses, pets, etc., make it difficult to focus on work.
  3. Limited resources – When you’re working from home, you may not have access to the same resources that you would in an office setting.
  4. Lack of motivation – It can be hard to stay motivated when you’re working alone without anyone else holding you accountable.
  5. Unpredictable hours – If you’re working from home, your hours may be less predictable than when working in an office setting.
  6. No separation between work and personal life – It can be hard to draw a line between your personal life and your business when they happen in the same place.

The remote work revolution is upon us. More and more businesses are embracing the benefits of letting their employees work from home, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re a business professional, entrepreneur, or organizational leader, it’s time to learn how to work from home successfully. This course will teach you everything you need to know about remote work, from setting up your home office to staying productive and connected. You’ll also learn about the future of work and how remote work can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Check out our How To Rock Remote Work Course →

How familiar are consumers or clients with your brand?

Even if your business sells the most obviously useful product or service, remember: the laws of consumer perception still apply.

A fundamental principle among consumers is a dislike of the unknown. It translates in this basic way from a marketing perspective: People are more likely to do business with companies they know. If someone is unfamiliar with your company, it will be much more difficult for them to choose you over a competitor they feel they know better.

Particularly for the segment of people you hope to gain as customers, it’s important to understand how much they know about your company. It can tell you a lot about how to shape your marketing efforts.

The Familiarity factor within LIFT’s Brand Experience Index™ measures how familiar people are with your brand and the depth of that familiarity. During a Brand Experience survey, we ask your target population questions beyond name recognition to gauge how fully your target understands what you can offer.

Although our data scientists have found a strong correlation between a high Familiarity score and a high overall Brand Experience ranking, we still advise clients not to despair when the Familiarity metric is low. Instead, embrace it as an accurate picture of where you are today. Getting a low initial benchmark for Familiarity is not unusual, particularly when marketers are in a testing, beta, or pilot phase… or simply looking to establish a starting point in a long-term branding initiative.

That said, everyone wants to change a low score. Here’s how you go about it.

Changing a Low Score

If your Familiarity index is lower than desired, there’s a strong rationale for increasing the saturation and aggressiveness of your marketing efforts. Flooding the market with information can boost Familiarity rather quickly.

Brand Experience research uncovers what an audience values most in a brand. This is critical information to help marketers create alignment between an audience, company priorities and marketing messages. Companies benefit most when they measure first to obtain benchmarks and identify deficiencies. Next comes the implementation of marketing efforts to exploit strengths and address deficits. Marketers then measure again to see how the needle moved – that’s the fun part!

Take, for example, a financial institution that wants more Millennial customers. One of the first constructive steps it can take is testing the current level of brand knowledge. While the initial number may be low, the financial institution now has a benchmark starting point. The score will also give them a better idea of what Millennial banking consumers want, allowing them to confidently develop highly targeted new products and marketing campaigns.

The Brand Experience Index (BXi) breaks down four key attributes of your brand and tracks how each evolves over time.

To arrive at your Brand Experience Index, LIFT’s data scientists use artificial intelligence to produce incredibly accurate, machine learning-based results in four core areas of brand equity:

  • Recognition
  • Familiarity
  • Perception
  • Consideration

These results roll into a simple score – your LIFT Brand Experience Index™ – that is easy to communicate and track over time.

Perception

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your key brand attributes?

Anyone who has worked for an organization long enough develops a good sense of where it shines and where it could use improvement. This instinct often guides marketing efforts and determines where to invest resources. People trust their gut – and let’s face it – devoting traditional brand experience measurement time and expense before deploying a strategy is often untenable.

Confirming beliefs about the brand experience with primary target audience research is pricey, often takes many weeks (if not months), and the results can be incredibly nuanced and complex. Marketers (and the leaders they report to) are usually left with more questions than answers.

For many companies, assumptions about brand experience have become “good enough,”… but that’s about to change.

Measuring Brand Experience in the Marketplace

For a long time, primary market research was a domain occupied only by businesses with the deepest marketing resources. We’re seeking to change that at LIFT. Strategic marketers at businesses, both large and small, know that measuring, testing, and benchmarking brand attributes with target audience members is critical to understanding if and how your marketing efforts are having an impact. So, we’re helping you afford it – from cost, time, and simplicity standpoints. We’re doing it through the LIFT Brand Experience Index™, one simple and unbiased metric that communicates the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Performance is among the four brand metrics analyzed in a Brand Experience Index study. Designed to help marketers gain a clear window into the minds of their target audience, the Performance measurement looks at the strength and weaknesses of 12 key brand attributes.

Our clients define exactly who they see as the target market, and we implement a battery-tested questionnaire customized for your industry. It gives you insights into four key pillars of your brand’s performance with a high degree of confidence.

We analyze things like:

Is your brand trusted by the target market? Your target market needs to believe you will deliver on your promises.

Does the target market view your brand as skilled in the industry? Your targets should view you as capable of meeting or exceeding their expectations.

Is your brand likable? Customers increasingly want more than a company that meets their needs. They want to do business with a company they like and feel good about working with.

Does the target market value your brand? If your offering isn’t the least expensive, will customers still choose you because they believe you add value?

It can be particularly beneficial to obtain a Brand Experience Index before and after significant marketing efforts to measure the actual impact on the minds of your intended targets.

Marketers, both client and agency-side, find even further value when they use the Brand Experience Index to better understand how target audiences view competing brands. That’s right – you can get a BXi for your brand and any brand.

So, you can measure your own strengths and weaknesses and then determine how it positions you relative to competitors.

Bank Iowa, a statewide community bank, uses our Brand Experience Index to do just that. To first assess its market position, the chief marketing officer and his agency, Lessing-Flynn, will determine the best strategic opportunities to gain ground against other financial institutions available to Iowans. Gut instinct tells the team they must work to attract younger, digital-native banking customers.

The Brand Experience Index will not only help them confirm this assumption but will also identify competitors who are doing great and not-so-great jobs in this area. The BXi will show them how far they need to go to catch up if necessary – and where to begin gaining more market share among Millennials and other segments of the state’s younger population.

By Emily Hammer

Recommendations and guidelines are good for what they do: demanding a bare minimum. But rarely are they able to keep up with the fast-evolving digital spaces that we interact in, for which there is no precedent of “accommodations.” In response, we must be more generous with our standards for accessibility, going above and beyond what may be expected and desired of us. You should design your digital spaces with accessibility in mind – not as an afterthought.

You’ve probably heard of an ‘image description’ (or ‘alt text’). These provide descriptions for screen-readers and other assistive technologies to read aloud to their user and must be included for images on your website.

Similarly, ‘video descriptions’ that detail its visual content should be included for videos on your website for assistive technologies to read. Accessible videos will include captions and a transcript, but also feature contrasting colors and refrain from flashing content. When possible, avoid playing videos automatically on your website – this will interfere with screen readers and confuse users.

Add image and video descriptions across your website – and ensure the user experience across your site is consistent. Users should not lose out on content or context because they are disabled or require assistive technologies. This can mean changing the colors of your website to be more contrasting for easier digestion or choosing a different font which is more friendly to dyslexic readers.

Technological accessibility extends beyond providing accommodations for your digital spaces. For example, consider adding a livestream option to physical events. This opens up your viewership to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make it to your event due to disability or distance. Additionally, use technology to make your physical spaces more accessible, such as using adjustable-height desks and counters for direct customer interactions.

Implementing digital accessibility and disability inclusion can make a difference in your workplace – and your world. It’s good for your business, too; organizations that focus on accessibility can reach a whole new market. Choose to be proactive. Accessibility is everyone’s right, no matter the business or its size.

Listen to this in a 3 minute video below.

Steve Reasner, Chief Innovation Officer and Founder at LIFT

Continuous improvement is the key to long-term success. It is the ability to creatively evaluate a program, product or service with internal and external feedback to ensure it is meeting the needs of the marketplace. Continuous improvement implies a long-term view of a situation, though it can be applied to short-term projects, too.  This is often the case in Agile Sprints or the Lean Methodology. The goal is to take a lifecycle approach to systems and products which focus on:

  • Defining the current market conditions and gaps
  • Creating a plan for how to make changes which could include improvements, merging solutions or ending a product in favor of something different or better.
  • Implementing the changes
  • Measuring your results by establishing a baseline to know you are on the right track and adjusting as needed

The benefits are ensuring you are delivering the solution that still meets the need of your organization, customer and market. Organizations which are not continually improving may be disrupted given the right market conditions.

Every IT team can benefit from continuous improvement. The goal is to test your processes and programs against the current market conditions to ensure proper investment of time and resources. Building a software solution in-house makes sense when it provides a competitive advantage.

Over time these systems might be commoditized in the marketplace, and it becomes cheaper to migrate to external solutions. This only happens if systems are evaluated and improved on a regular basis. Efficiency, differentiation, security and scalability are the name of the game.

The best way to get started is by creating an inventory of some of your systems, processes and programs. The goal is to not get overwhelmed but start the process. Track the information in a database, spreadsheet or IT software like ServiceNow. Capture when the solution was first implemented, last evaluated, the value it creates, strategic importance and priority to the organization.

After an evaluation has been completed and you leave it as is, update it, or redesign it, update the data to reflect the decision date and put an expiration date in to alert your team the last possible date for reviewing it again.

IT teams are not always aware of how a system is being used or the level of criticality of each system. Some solutions are still in place, but rarely used while others are not being updated regularly but are critical to the overall health of the organization.

Shadow IT often happens when team members don’t feel they are being heard or their needs are being addressed. The most important thing IT can do is to be a partner to all departments within an organization and actively collaborate to ensure efficiency, fiscal responsibility and the overall security of the organizations data and competitive differentiations.

Organizations, especially IT, need to continually improve their processes to stay current and avoid increase costs, friction and frustration. Having a healthy internal lifecycle for all systems is the key to success.

Steve Reasner, Chief Innovation Officer and Founder at LIFT

As employees return to the office after the summer break, it is important to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. Think of it the same as kids returning to school. You have several communications before returning to school which talk about your classes, supplies needed, expectations and rules. The thing most kids look forward to is seeing and playing with their friends. The same goes for the office. Before we look at technology, we should consider the experience we want to provide. While this may seem like we are pandering to our employees, the reality is that when your employees feel comfortable, connected and confident, they do their best work.

To achieve success, plan out the month of September as the “return to office”. Build the experience you want for your employees. This starts with a small committee of peers who can articulate what experiences they would want and allow them to build the process for your teams. The process includes an overview of the activities people can experience at the office and the emotions you want them to feel. This includes excitement, competition and nostalgia.

  1. Games: What games can you use to help people engage and create fun competition with a leader board? Trivia games consisting of work history, people traits and hobbies and funny cultural items from different decades, for example. Create teams across different office locations to increase collaboration locally and connection between offices.

  2. Lunch: Rather than ordering out, can employees bring their favorite foods to share making it a social potluck

  3. Mocktail Happy Hour: While alcohol is great, there may be people that can’t or would rather not participate. There are amazing new non-alcoholic mixers and drinks that can be used to give the festive feeling without the buzz.

  4. Common Area Video Meetups: Put large video units in the common areas in each of your offices and leave them on all day so people can have chance encounters with employees at different offices. The coffee room catch up is one of the things people miss about the office; hard to do when remote and impossible across offices. By adding this option, you can break down the distance walls and find ways for people to connect.

  5. Guidelines: As “digital citizens” in our offices, we have a commitment to add value through our work and protect our company both physically and digitally. This should be openly talked about with rules that everyone should be informed about and agree to comply with. You may consider electing mayors and/or council people for each office that allows people to have additional leadership responsibility to share culture and enforce the rules. This takes the weight off departments, like IT and Finance, and mainstreams it to all workers. This eliminates the feeling of superiority and focuses on success and compliance. This is the same as student body officers in school. They have limited power but get to make plans and create meaningful experiences for their classmates.

The goal is to engage people, make them feel included and provide them with a way to have a voice. Technology helps to scale this by providing flexibility, security and inclusivity. IT organizations should focus on the value you are providing and how you are enabling the success of the people and the company as a whole.