Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.
Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.
If your company uses NPS and nothing but NPS, you’ll want to download this free topline research report to see the results of our experiment. Here’s additional background for context, if you’re so inclined.
Editor’s note: This is a spoiler alert for fans of Game of Thrones (GOT). You may not want to continue reading unless, of course, you want an entertaining way of looking at what drives brand allegiance.
Like 8.9 million other people, I sat riveted to my television when the season finale of GOT aired. If you’ve never seen the show or read the novels, here’s a quick, overly-simplistic synopsis: There exists a large kingdom called Westeros. The king of Westeros dies. Many others vie for the throne, each with a considerably decent claim to it. Not surprisingly, few are open to reasonable, sit-down discussions to determine whose claim is best, and thus, things must be decided the old-fashioned way: war. To win a war, you need an army. And to obtain an army, you need loyal subjects. Thus, one could say the content of five books/six seasons of TV follows each individual’s story as he or she attempts to win over others to his/her side. I’m on Team Dany. Daenerys “Dany” Targaryen’s family ruled Westeros for thousands of years before the now deceased king took over. Although legacy isn’t everything, her lineage gives her a lot of street cred. If I lived in the seven kingdoms, I would certainly declare for Daenerys as Queen of Westeros—and according to the end of the season finale, several thousand others agree.
But it took a while for Daenerys to achieve this support. How did she go from being a frightened girl with a wish to rule in Season One to a confident woman with an impressive legion of backers in Season Six? What is it about her, her decisions or her journey that inspired such loyalty?
For nearly a decade I have watched the largest and smallest telecommunications companies attempt to gauge their customers’ experience and overall satisfaction. Measures like Net Promoter Score (NPS) have been all the rage for the past several years, where company leadership views likelihood to recommend as a proxy for brand health and happy customers. My clients also focus a lot on the quality and value of the services they provide. Reliability, accessibility, fewest dropped calls, network speed and cost give a robust picture of which parts of the service offering are working best and which are in need of attention. Taken together, these measures provide valuable information and critical key performance indicators (KPIs) that the C-suite uses to guide their decisions and maximize shareholder value.
But is it enough to have a strong product and satisfied customers? I contend not. There’s a missing ingredient—one that is essential to any long lasting relationship: trust.
We are emotional, rather than rational beings. Decisions are made at a subconscious level, though we like to think we are making rational decisions. There is a level of emotional engagement with the things we see and do. That is why constructively engaging customers in a manner they choose, with services and products they find beneficial, can lead to greater customer loyalty. The evidence is clear—engaged customers are more satisfied, more profitable and more loyal.
Loyal customers generally fall into one of three categories. There are Passive Loyals, Captive Loyals and Passionate Loyals, each requiring different methods to engage—and stay engaged.