The ultimate goal of any brand leader should be achieving off-the-charts customer engagement.
Unfortunately, far too many marketers spend the majority of their time and money on awareness or
acquisition-based advertising. Their resources would be far better used crafting and implementing strategies
aimed at increasing customer advocacy.
Advocacy-based marketing (which we affectionately refer to as Cult branding) has eight core tenets. Several
of those tenets can be enhanced with a formal loyalty program. However, loyalty programs are tricky because
there are so many good, and so many bad, examples. Also, many beloved cult brands, like John Deere, Apple,
and Red Bull, do NOT rely on loyalty programs to achieve their success. Yet other adored, iconic brands
do employ forms of membership-based programs, such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Costco. So, it begs the
question, “Who’s example should I follow?”
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