#166: Community, Connection and Neuro-Diversity - Loyalty-led Marketing with Dr Chris Arnold (Short Summary Show)

Dr Chris Arnold is a marketing strategist and a “proudly dyslexic” champion of thinking differently.

With a deeply held belief in the power of community to connect us to each other, Dr Chris highlights the challenges of relying on social media and measurable marketing, rather than focusing on building a truly customer-centric business.

Dr Chris believes that connecting our loyal customers with *each other* creates greater loyalty for our brands and businesses.

Show Notes:

1) Let’s Talk Loyalty Episode #52: Connecting with Community for Local Loyalty – with Dr Chris Arnold

2) Dr Chris Arnold 

Audio Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s):

Welcome to “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.

I’m your host, Paula Thomas and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

This show is sponsored by Comarch – the global software house that delivers advanced it systems and services, including an end-to-end AI driven loyalty marketing platform for building long lasting customer relationships.

Comarch is also known for providing loyalty experts, with opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas.

Its upcoming webinar is called experts round table 2021 customer segmentation and loyalty programs featuring Forester.

And it’s taking place today December 7th.

For more information, go to www.comarkch.com.

Hello and welcome to episode 1 66 of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, an episode where I took a slightly different approach and started exploring some important themes that I think we as marketing managers need to be thinking about.

These are themes that influence customer loyalty, but are much harder to measure than simply a loyalty database or a loyalty currency.

My guest was Dr. Chris Arnold – a UK based loyalty strategist who specializes in creative consumer marketing strategies, ethical marketing consultancy, and he was also formerly the creative director and a board director for the marketing agency, Saatchi and Saatchi.

Chris is also proudly dyslexic and he said he believes the world needs more neurodiversity as well as a return to basics.

When it comes to customer loyalty, our discussion focused on a number of important themes, predominantly how most of us feel much more connected to certain communities than we do to any brands.

This might mean our local area or a different part of our lives, such as people who are parents with children in the same school, our faith, our family, or more importantly, things like common passions and interests for a hobby such as fishing, which has an extraordinary and a huge community.

Dr. Arnold explained how powerful these communities can be even for brands that he has worked for, like Pampers nappies or diapers as I know, many of you would call them.

For brands like Pampers, it turned out that beyond PR or beyond their advertising, the communities word of mouth marketing was much more influential in terms of actually driving sales.

In an age, particularly of social media with increasing distrust of online content, communities offer us a way to scale up that word of mouth and connect with people by focusing on being of service to them.

Aa marketers, we’ve become obsessed with data and algorithms and even in many cases, we’re outsourcing our customer connections to social media brands rather than focusing on powerful, but maybe less measurable metrics like connection.

Just because it can’t be measured doesn’t mean it’s not important.

And Dr. Chris believes it’s incredibly important to connect rather than focus on likes and follows, which I think as we all know now really don’t affect any consumer behavior.

Dr. Chris also highlighted some classic examples of brilliant loyalty campaigns in the UK when, for example, the grocery retailer Tesco stepped in many years ago to provide computers for schools at a time when the government was failing to provide this basic social need to support children’s education.

He also emphasized that the theme and topic of sustainability is not just about the planet.

It’s equally about people and that as businesses, we need to begin with our core purpose and then build from there before we focus on profits.

Instead, the purpose benefits people and then profits naturally arise.

He believes that most UK loyalty programs are still purely transactional and wondered why more of us aren’t focusing on connecting our members to each other, creating a common unity that could make us all proud to be part of something great.

I know it’s easier said than done, but then no one said that gaining customer loyalty would be easy.

Amusingly, Chris also dismissed the power of data and algorithms that monitor our online activity.

And he said that even in his own partnership with his wife, he never knows what she wants for Christmas.

He told us a great example of creating loyalty on an emotional level with the brand of Virgin Money, who last year offered to take calls, advising anyone how to deal with financial challenges during the pandemic.

They were very clear that there was no need to be a customer of Virgin Money, or even give them your data for their marketing database.

They showed up simply to be of service and he believes they probably will end up truly selling in the future without really needing to sell.

As human beings, Chris things that were actually not much more advanced than pack animals, and he really wanted to caution against buying into trendy ideas like neuroscience, but instead find a way to connect with people in places and passions they already care about and then cultivate emotional loyalty by helping alongside all these great ideas.

Dr. Chris truly believes that marketing needs a massive rethink and his new book “Flip everything you know” is due out soon to help us all understand his fascinating ideas in more detail.

That’s it for today’s episode of “Let’s Talk a Little Loyalty”.

Please do join me this Thursday when I’m interviewing one of the world’s best known names in loyalty, Fred Reichheld of Bain and company and creator of net promoter score, who joined me to talk about his new book “Winning On Purpose” in which he shares his brand new framework, which is called the “Earned Growth Rate”.

I know you’re all going to love it, so I look forward to talking to you on Thursday.

This show is sponsored by “The Wise Marketer” – the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news insights and research.

The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For more information, check out TheWiseMarketer.com and Loyalty Academy.org.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”.

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