By Elisabeth King
To gain true brand loyalty, brands need to interact with consumers over seven key areas - technology, spending habits, entertainment, health and fitness, relationships, education and politics/ environmental views. Overselling and condescension has had its day. Interaction, clever campaigns, quirkiness and personal service is the way to reach today’s new breed of consumers.
With such a saturated market, fierce competition between existing brands and the entry of so many new brands, consumers are faced with retail walls and online stores offering near-identical offers in innovation and price, says Monique Smith, Marketing Director, Coty Consumer Beauty ANZ. “However, if just one of those brands makes an effort to engage with a consumer in a meaningful and memorable way, it makes the first part of choosing the right foundation or mascara a lot easier. It’s like going to a party with a crowd of people you don’t know well. You always gravitate towards a person you’ve met before, who has been nice and shown interest in you.
It’s the same with a brand trying to create brand love, which leads to loyalty and repeat purchases with the brand”.
Developing a meaningful relationship with consumers in a more personal and real way through live brand experiences is a key focus for our brands in building loyalty, adds Smith. “We connect with our audience by seeking partnership and activation opportunities that tap into their key passion points. For key brands in our portfolio across cosmetics, fragrance and hair, we have live brand experience strategies in place with the aim of seeking 1000 more people that love us to over 10,000 people who just like us. Brand love is the key to loyalty”.
Rimmel recently partnered with AmplifyLive, a youth platform that connects teens with their favourite YouTubers, says Smith. “It aligned with the values of the brand in celebrating individual expression over perfection, a message that enables these YouTube sensations to connect with millions of followers. By creating unique opportunities for these passionate teens to meet their heroes, by being there with makeup touch-ups so they looked their best for meet-and-greet photo-opportunities and creating meaningful and relevant content with the YouTube stars and more, Rimmel was literally at every touchpoint. I can confidently say that the 8000 teens we touched across Australia will always remember that Rimmel was part of one of the best days of their lives”.
We have also partnered with the Splendour in the Grass & Falls Festival in Byron Bay, connecting with teens through their passion for music, notes Smith.
We are truly living in the era of the empowered customer, says Corina Pantelos, Brand Manager, philosophy skincare. “With so many choices and ways to connect - on and offline - companies and brands need to provide meaningful value that exceeds customers’ expectations. As a wellbeing beauty brand which combines science and inspiration, philosophy strives to deliver a memorable experience at every touchpoint. Whether it is a tailored skin consultation at one of our counters, a curated e-newsletter delivering educational how-tos, a media sendout or a beautifully styled social media post, philosophy aims to deliver service, education and inspiration”.
Customisation and personalisation are popular buzz words, but by delivering exceptional bespoke service and brand engagement to customers, brands can cater to the wants and needs of individuals more effectively, adds Pantelos. “Asking customers for feedback and insights through in-store encounters or through Facebook community management allows brands to stay in touch with what customers really desire and expect of the brand in real time. To earn customer loyalty, improving the customer experience must remain top of mind in every interaction”.
Sampling and ‘must-have’ GWPs are key initiatives Trilogy has successfully established in Australia to build new and existing customer loyalty, says Louise Clayton, Trilogy National Products Brand General Manager. “We like to call it Trilogy Love. We know from years of feedback that once people try our products, they are highly likely to purchase them. We usually conduct two mass sampling campaigns a year, supported by a number of smaller, more targeted activities”. To create hype and drive brand visibility, each initiative is accompanied by a PR and advertising campaign combined with great customer service - online and in-store, says Clayton. “In February this year, we launched the Trilogy E-Learning platform to support and educate retail employees. A mix of user-friendly product and brand learning, it is a great asset to help retail staff assist potential and existing Trilogy customers with personal and professional advice”.
Discover Trilogy’s Power was the largest campaign we initiated in-store and online in 2016, notes Clayton. “We released sample packs containing three deluxe minis as part of an integrated in-store, outdoor, print and digital campaign. Store participation and customer response was huge, with over 20,000 packs sampled by new and existing Trilogy fans through online channels and 70 in-store events. The campaign generated a 21 per cent increase in sales in the following months. We also saw a significant increase in social media activity and engagement, customer enquiries and solid media coverage throughout the duration of the campaign”.
The Red Door Experience is at the heart of Elizabeth Arden’s exceptional customer experience, says Michelle Wilson, Brand Manager. “It’s the ultimate in-store getaway, where science and expertise partner with pampering and experiential spa heritage. We are able to create in-store activations and deliver a personalised experience to strengthen and build brand loyalty”.
The Red Door Speed Services are wonderful for women on the run, says Wilson. “A range of 10 minute beauty treatments which we offer on a complimentary basis at select counters. There’s the Oxygen Beauty Blast, a spa refresher based on an exclusive oxygen mineral serum.
The Eyes Have It refreshes the eyes with a gel patch treatment followed by Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Serum and Beautiful Color Bold Defining 24HR Liquid Eye Liner. The two other popular 10 minute services are Lady Liperty, a lip facial, and Pampered Hands Treatment to exfoliate, moisturise and hydrate the hands”.
We also have a full facial menu in a private room setting inspired by the iconic Red Door spa in New York, adds Wilson. “Customers can choose from the Ultimate Facial, Anti-Aging Facial and Oxygen Facial, ranging from 75 to 90 minutes and priced between $65 and $85. The booking fees are redeemable on the purchase of two to three Elizabeth Arden skincare products. Off counter VIP events also offer exclusive experiences to our regular customers”.
Living in a digital age, we are acutely aware that customers can access so many different channels to discover the latest makeup trends and tutorials and, more importantly, purchase products without the need to visit department stores, says Gemma Rogers, Estée Lauder Education Manager for NSW. “This means that for all our brands, we must echo Estee Lauder’s pioneering spirit. Constantly seeking alternative ways to engage face-to-face with each customer and create memorable experiences for them to build a loyal customer base. At Estée Lauder, we do this in several ways. We know that customers want fun, curated editing of their favourite products and girlfriend advice. Our beauty advisors are trained to deliver on each of these factors, as opposed to a more ‘prescriptive’ way of selling. We also focus on trends, quick product sound bites and tutorials in the training process, so that our beauty advisors are using the same language that customers are used to seeing online. Social media and all it offers is so important to customers today. But we believe our beauty advisors to be the greatest influencers across social media channels and actively encourage their participation with their own personal hashtag”.
In-store, our counter teams are empowered to create loyalty by keeping in touch with VIP customers for offers of facials and makeup events, adds Rogers. “We also focus on key recruitment drivers such as Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup. Estée Lauder offers a complimentary 10 day supply to all customers, for example, and makes contact with new customers after the sampling period. Other successful ways to build loyalty include our 3 Minute Beauty makeup tips, Digital iMatch foundation and colour finder, Re-Nutriv luxury services and focusing on the latest makeup trends”.
Tom Ford customers are highly knowledgeable about the life and work of Mr. Ford and his desire to create the first true luxury brand of the 21st century, adds Rogers. “With that in mind, our Tom Ford Specialists are trained to offer a luxurious, bespoke service that meets their expectations. Using Mr. Ford’s inspirations to tell stories, our specialists don’t just describe fragrance notes. Our team is largely made up of fragrance connoisseurs and they build great relationships by knowing top customers by name and their olfactive preferences”.
For the select counters that carry Tom Ford makeup, our beauty advisors educate customers about Mr. Ford’s concept of makeup and show them exactly how to use the products, says Rogers. “Whatever customers buy, our counter teams stay in touch through their database and invite them in-store for makeup or fragrance events or specific product launches.”
Service, Service, Service
At Ultraceuticals, we place exceptional emphasis on the value of service standards, education and the ethical prescription of solutions and products to build long-term customer relationships, says George Gougoulis, Events & Education Executive. “We strive for a new level of client liaison excellence, especially around relational marketing. One of the most effective ways is to listen to what customers have to say. Conducting focus groups and surveys is a long-term strategy to continually develop business and drive clinics and salons to a new level”.
To encourage customers to take part in surveys, we offer them a voucher incentive for their next treatment or a trial kit, says Gougoulis. “In our experience, Ultraceuticals has found that clients and guests become even more devoted to the business when their opinion is sought. We not only host VIP shopping nights, but tie these in with a product launch or guest speaker.
“By offering engaging presenters to key clinics and salons, we have paved a new direction and dimension of service excellence. International skin care experts, combined with our Global Education Ambassador provide a highly informative and engaging workshop scenario. This encourages interaction from guests, and builds more credibility and buzz to cement loyalty. Attendees will often request to bring friends after experiencing their first workshop, so it’s a great way to recruit new guests and clientele to the business”.
Competitions are also a great way to build loyalty, says Gougoulis. “Something as simple as offering a treatment or the latest must-have products from the Ultraceuticals range. We also help to educate and coach staff at our valued clinics and salons, not only on the value of exceptional consultation skills but through targeted retail training”.
At Jurlique, we like to ensure that no customer leaves empty-handed, says Anya Badu, National Retail & Education Manager. “Every customer who has been provided with skin care advice by a beauty expert receives two or three skincare samples, as well as a sachet of a Jurlique bestseller such as Rose Hand Cream. Appropriate brochures are also provided and a follow-up call or email is scheduled a week or so later”.
Staying connected with our customers helps Jurlique to provide on-going advice and recommendations, in addition to providing VIP clients with the excellent service they expect, says Badu. “The follow-up calls allow our beauty experts to answer any additional questions and confirm that chosen products and samples are providing the desired results. Four weeks after an initial consultation, we make contact again to see if customers would like a professional treatment or 1:1 workshop in-store. We then ensure we stay in touch every three months to assist with replenishment, update recommendations and keep VIPs informed of special events and new launches”.
One of our most popular special events is a Jurlique Masterclass, adds Badu. “Hosted by a Jurlique ambassador, the day or evening in-store workshops guide small groups of customers through applying a complete Jurlique ritual to their skin. We keep things fun and informative and customers leave with radiant skin and a complimentary gift”.
Meaningful engagement with consumers that leads to customer loyalty is imperative to drive any brand forward, says Lauren Belcastro, Aveda Australia Marketing & Communications Manager. “Driving loyalty is part of Aveda’s DNA and is visible in every part of our 360 degree service cycle. From the tea we offer guests when welcoming them into stores to the hand-written invitation cards given out at the end of a visit and contacting customers for special events and offers”.
Providing a consistent and authentic experience across all distribution channels is the foundation for customer engagement, notes Belcastro. “One of the key drivers for accelerating retention rate centres on delivering relevant content at the right time and in the right format, so we can be more than just a product company. We call our customers guests and we aim to be their go-to for any styling woes, tips, tricks and the latest trends”.
Aveda’s global birthday program offers guests who share their birthday and contact information a $23 value customisable composition oil for their birthday, says Rachael Ostrom, Executive Director, Aveda Global Consumer Engagement. “We know guests with a birthday on file spend 50 per cent more annually than guests who do not have a birthday on file. Our VIP programs offer all international markets resources and eventing guides for quarterly offers and events. VIP guests are invited to exclusive events with lifestyle tips and wellness sessions”.
It is key to the success of a brand to build customer loyalty, especially in such a competitive retail market, says Julie Chan, Retail Marketing Manager, L’Occitane Australia. “These days a lot of customers are more cautious. They are less willing to part with hard-earned money unless they feel loyalty to a brand. A lot of our customers return because they feel connected to L’Occitane. They love the in-store service and we always strive to listen to their concerns and provide the best advice and care’.
In-store we aim to truly engage customers and some become almost our friends, adds Chan. “We keep in touch with them by phone if they prefer, rather than by email. But many customers prefer to be contacted by EDM or email to hear about offers, events and VIP parties. We regularly run offers to introduce new products or ranges and GWPs and PWPs. In addition to VIP events, we also event in-store and online for occasions such as Mother’s Day, Bastille Day and Christmas. We have had a lot of success with the Vogue Fashion Night Out promotion, which has drawn new customers to the brand”.
L’Occitane also has a loyalty program called Passport to Provence, says Chan. “Customers can sign up in-store or online. It allows members to access special offers, discounts, pre-orders of new launches and wish lists”.
Building loyalty is key to Benefit’s main strategy, says Beth Glancey, General Manager Australia. “We communicate with targeted customers based on purchasing habit datas. We also encourage repeat purchases by providing them with targeted rewards that offer value, surprise and delight”.
Benefit also participate in the loyalty programs of retailers, adds Glancey. “We offer exclusive product pre-launches, complimentary services for birthdays, in-store events for key launches, samples and GWPs to reward Myer ONE and Sephora Beauty Pass members”.
One of the main factors in La Prairie’s success is the strong relationships we have with our loyal customers who shop across all of our main channels of distribution, says Ai San Beaumont, Regional Marketing and Public Relations Manager ANZ.
“Exceptional service and an authentic desire to get to know our customers is critical for long-term engagement. The first step in the process is the model we call Diamond Service, which guarantees that customers receive consistent and exceptional service wherever they choose to shop. The thorough consultation process, combined with subtle body language and active listening provides an environment where genuine rapport is achieved.”
The training of our consultants is crucial to the loyalty of our customers, says Beaumont. “La Prairie invests heavily in developing service experts. But customers should also develop a strong relationship with the brand itself. This is achieved through targeted and relevant opportunities to return, particularly with specific promotions that suit individual needs. Following their first purchase, customers are contacted to ensure that the products are delivering the expected results. From lunches and workshops to facials and VIP events, we organise activities that suit customer needs and preferences. Excellent service, recognition as a valued customer and rapport with consultants are all key elements in building genuine loyalty”.
Brand loyalty is pivotal to ongoing acceleration and the long-term success of Sisley’s business, says Tonia Casswell, Sales and Training Manager ANZ. “High customer care is a prerequisite for a prestige brand like Sisley. Service that exceeds expectations - from the initial contact to the on-going development of a longterm relationship. Consultation focusing on product knowledge, counter demonstration and beauty room services help to gain a customer’s commitment to repeat visits, allowing more opportunities to introduce more solutions to satisfy individual needs”.
VIP initiatives are also an important part of the equation, says Caswell. “Repeat purchases are rewarded with a tiered rewards program, encouraging multiple purchases. Data from Gallup reports that only 13 per cent of employees are actively engaged at work. So we invest strongly in improving the commitment and loyalty of our teams. As leadership guru John Maxwell says - Tend to the people and they will tend to the business. Team is always first at Sisley. Without commitment and passion from our teams, the most effective sales methodologies and customer loyalty programs with fail”.
At Bobbi Brown, our customer relationship management program ensures that our content is targeted and resonates with user groups for high level engagement, click-through and conversion, says Astrid Proia, Marketing and Sales Coordinator. “By utilising audience segmentation strategies through the customer journey and implementing various messaging from welcome through to product launch cycles, we’ve been able to improve retention and increase re-purchase rates”.
These initiatives enable the brand to build and maintain customer loyalty, while eliciting the required response such as driving the consumer in-store or to our e-commerce business, notes Proia. “We build in calls-to-action in our campaigns such as deluxe sampling, GWPs, events and one-off offers, which are used strategically to drive relevant product franchises, reward key customer segments and support pre-lapsed customer initiatives”.
Building customer loyalty provides a robust database of dedicated customers who enjoy purchasing and hearing from Crabtree & Evelyn, says Vicky Kalofolias, National Brand Manager. “It’s important for customers to feel important and known to their favourite brands. Rewarding our most loyal and top spenders often transforms customers into brand ambassadors with organic reach. From our standpoint, we gain quality feedback from key demographics.”
Crabtree & Evelyn have introduced several successful initiatives in creating customer loyalty, says Kalofolias. “One of the most popular is our National Shopping Events for important shopping periods such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. We also host intimate VIP customer events in our flagship stores. Early reviews of new collections and access to unique promotions and offers also reward loyal and familiar faces”.
Customer loyalty is an integral driver of the TBX (The Beauty Exchange) brand because it’s all about tapping into the desire to own the whole collection, says Emma Little, TBX Brand Manager. “The product itself encourages brand loyalty because of the unique nature of the magnetic makeup brushes and storage solutions that can’t be used with other brush brands. Once the customer is aware of the many benefits of magnetic brushes, they keep coming back for more. We remind them of the standout benefits of the brand at every touchpoint - from advertising through in-store communication, PR, social media and online”.
To drive loyalty at point of sale, in-store makeup demonstrations have been highly successful, says Little. “Customers love to see the product in action and they provide an opportunity to interact and encourage brand loyalty on an individual basis”.
TBX’s PR and social initiatives are heavily focused on building brand awareness and loyalty where our consumers are spending most of their time - online and on Instagram - says Viv Henderson, TBX PR Manager. “We began an initiative called The Clique named for our hero product - the magnetic brush-holder frame. With Instagram as the content platform and a great communication strategy, we have fostered relationships with countless influencers that are posting regular content for TBX. The Clique program has driven over 1.3 million impressions and tens of thousands of likes - all in a few months. We love The Clique and we work with influencers to build brand awareness and loyalty.”
Creating brand loyalty is a tricky business in today’s market says Charmaine Pichler, Marketing Manager, Weleda Australia. “The Internet has given consumers more flexibility to research and buy anywhere at any time they want. Few customers stay loyal to a brand and why should they with so much choice. Fortunately, because Weleda has been around since 1921, many of our customers are ‘brand lovers’. We are also seeing a steady increase in new customers, in addition to a loyal base of customers who have been with us for many years.
Weleda builds loyalty in six major ways, adds Pichler. “High quality is paramount for Weleda and consumers love the fact that we control the whole supply chain right down to the field or tree the ingredients come from. Greenwashing is all too common in the beauty world and we reassure the consumer they are getting the real deal. We are members of leading organic certification organisations such as NATRUE and our initiatives in biodiversity and sustainability are consistently woven through our communication with consumers”.
“We stay relevant though innovations such as our Evening Primrose skincare aimed at women aged 50-plus and Tinted Lip Care for teens and 20-somethings. We also partner with bloggers, editors, writers and brand ambassadors who not only recommend our products, they also help to tell our story. We take customer feedback very seriously. There’s nothing worse than writing a comment on Facebook and not receiving a reply. Fast responses, personal interaction and the occasional ‘surprise’ gift can turn a negative experience into a positive one - and continued longterm loyalty”.
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