Creating Loyal Brands... An Interview With

Simon Uwins joined U.K. retailer Tesco when it was considered a third-rate supermarket, then helped elevate it to a multinational market leader. Now the former CMO has a specific take on the correlation between customer experience and customer loyalty.

“The thing I learned very quickly was that your brand very much depends on the customer’s actual interactions with you, not some image you’ve created in an advertising campaign,” said the 25-year marketing veteran. “So you better make your customers feel appreciated. That requires that you take a very different approach to the brand. It becomes a companywide endeavor, rather than something created by marketing.”

While that has long been true for retail, it’s now the case for every industry.

“In the connected world we live in today, it’s the reality that many marketers face now,” said Uwins, who applied his experience at Tesco to launch the Fresh & Easy neighborhood market brand in the U.S. in 2007.

Author of the book “Creating Loyal Brands: A Guide to Earning Loyalty in a Connected World,” Uwins argues that building a loyal brand goes far beyond instituting a successful loyalty program. (Uwins should know; he pioneered Tesco’s Clubcard marketing and launched the Friends card at Fresh & Easy.) Loyalty programs are a marketing tactic. Loyal branding, he said, must be a business ethos. recently talked to Uwins about the difference between traditional branding and building a loyal brand, why a company’s loyalty to its customers trumps all, the dangers of a disengaged workforce, and the one simple step CMOs can take to begin building a loyal brand. Read full interview>