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By: Juliana Azuero

    Industry experts across retailing, foodservice and hospitality gathered to discuss how brands can succeed in an increasingly competitive digital world at CONNECT: The Mobile CX Summit in Chicago.  Keynote speakers provided insights and shared best practices on next-generation brand loyalty and focusing on the customer in this digital era.

    How to Foster Next-gen Brand Loyalty

    A recurring theme throughout the conference was that brands are constantly challenged to gain and foster customer loyalty. Digitalization has given consumers immediate gratification. Mary Hines, Citigroup’s customer engagement & innovation managing director, highlighted the importance of establishing frequent and high-quality interactions between the brand and the consumer. She explained that offering simple rewards schemes in which consumers can easily perceive and use points earned on everyday purchases, cardholders are able to recognize how the brand is continuously adding value to their lives.  The ease of integration into consumers’ lifestyles is expected to foster brand loyalty.

    During a panel on rewarding experiences, speakers discussed the challenges that arise after a brand’s app has been downloaded and used once. Dana Dimitri, VP of integrated marketing and customer engagement at Potbelly Sandwich Works, explained how instant rewards have driven app downloads and first-time users. Dimitri shared a successful strategy using reminders about rewards or rolling out time-based promotions via the app to foster brand loyalty. The panelists agreed that simple, tailored messages through the app were better received than additional communication attempts from the brand such as text or email.

    Desmond Overstreet, global digital product marketing at McDonald’s, emphasized the same point during a session on mobile strategies. Overstreet said that push notification strategies tailored at a local level are gaining traction among their customer base. Other speakers shared how location-based marketing has gained momentum since it is key to provide the consumer with the right message, at the right time and in the right place.

    Focusing on the Customer

    The second day of the summit kicked off with Amanda Manna, former head of narrative and partnerships at Lowe’s. Manna compared traditional organizations that are risk-averse and efficiency-focused with disruptive organizations that embrace change and are driven by a bigger purpose. With Lowe’s in mind, she described how focusing on the customer resulted in Lowe’s changing its central value proposition. Manna’s case is an example of complex customer insights collected at the point of sale turned into a successful business model transformation. As a result, Lowe’s was selected as the number one innovating company in 2018 by Fast Company.

    A recurring theme at the conference was the importance of providing exceptional customer experience across multiple mediums. Panelists stressed the importance of tailored communication and consistent messaging to provide a seamless customer interaction with the business. Brands should keep in mind that a successful mobile strategy is not a one-size-fits-all model. Company leaders need to experiment with their customer base to find the ideal engagement solution.

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