Creating Loyal Brands : Themes Of The Week...

So much content, so little time...

A weekly round-up of the themes and posts I found particularly interesting or useful.

Simple, but powerful lessons in brand-building were the flavor of this week, together with good conversations around the changing nature of customer experience, and developing strong relationships.

Lessons of simplicity and practicality... 

Several posts this week offered some simple, but powerful lessons to brand builders everywhere.

A simple approach to creating Loyal Brands... provided a powerful 5-step framework for building brands centered on earning loyalty.
Unlocking the Keys to Loyalty and Word of Mouth highlighted 9 customer-centric lessons from Apple to Zappos.
Finding and Defining Your Brand and Voice offered practical advice for budding enterpreneurs, setting out to build their first brand.
7 Marketing Strategies That Work Better Than Advertising gave great examples of what you can be achieved with zero advertising and a better story.
While Good Analytics Can't Save a Bad Strategy made the simple point that there's no substitute for a good strategy.

It's all about experience...
In today's connected world, brands are increasingly defined by the entire experience customers receive.

Funnel Vision: Why Companies Need To See The Light At the End of the Funnel argued that the traditional sales funnel has been disrupted, and brands need to focus instead on shaping the customer experience.
Marketing's New Frontier: Intelligence After the Sale explored how data is enabling marketers to build customer satisfaction and engagement after the purchase.
The Heaven and Hell of Customer Experience offered a CMO's advice on how to ensure that every part of the organization is delivering on the brand promise.
While Future Customer Experience Differentiation Will Require New Operating Models looked at organizational barriers to improving customer experience, and offered advice on creating a new operating model.

Let's get together...
Rather than advertising or marketing at people, today's marketers should be building relationships and encouraging brand advocacy with customers and employees alike. 

CMOs: Build Digital Relationships or Die urged CMOs to use the opportunity that digital presents to build stronger relationships with customers, rather than obsess about the brand.
Your Brand's Uber-Fans Are Not Uber-Advocates. So Who Is? explored the difference between fanboys and influencers, and provided some good advice for developing advocates.
While Successful Brand-Building Requires an Army of Advocates looked at how a brand culture can be developed that excites, educates and enrolls the entire organization in becoming brand advocates.

Finally, if your interested in retailing, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek Leads the Cheapest, Happiest Company in the World and J.C. Penney: When Cool Vision Collides With Boring Reality offered two contrasting stories.