Published on October 14, 2020, at 6:55 p.m.
by Tess Hensley.
Coke vs. Pepsi. iPhone vs. Android. Chick-fil-A vs. Popeyes. Spotify vs. . . every other music-streaming app. Spotify continues to lead paid music subscriptions and today, users are more active and loyal to the brand than ever. Brands strive for this type of following, and companies on a smaller scale than the global powerhouse that is Spotify can follow in its footsteps.
Spotify is customer-obsessed, constantly letting its users know that the company knows what they like. It offers suggestions in different Daily Mixes, Discover Weekly playlists and Wrapped, which shows their music habits throughout the year. No user’s app looks the same as their friends’ – and that’s a superpower.
Spotify validates its customers by illustrating how much it understands their preferences. Ashley Pullen, marketing strategy manager at SFW Agency, said this personalization is key to the Spotify experience.
“Spotify doesn’t just know their customers as a whole — they know each and every individual that is on their platform and customizes their experience to each of those individuals. The power of AI is alive and real with Spotify, and it has truly added value to the platform,” Pullen said.
This uber-personalized approach builds trust and brand loyalty with every note that has played from the app. To Kristyn Wilson, Upright Agency vice president, this trust is the most important factor in a brand. If consumers don’t trust a brand, they won’t buy from a brand.
“As the saying goes, trust is hard to earn and easy to lose,” Wilson said. “Technology has empowered every person to have a voice of authority, and we are seeing a decline of trust in institutions. If brands don’t proactively engage in establishing trust signals that provide validation, they will lose customer loyalty and market share.”
Spotify recently released a new feature, Group Listening. Premium users can share a link with multiple users and listen at the exact same time, even when they’re apart. This feature could not get more usage than now; a time when people are encouraged to stay apart and social distance during the pandemic.
According to Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index, 80% of customers say that they are more loyal to brands that continue to find new ways to be relevant in their lives.
Group Listening not only demonstrates empathy and understanding but also gives users more tools to enjoy the app in different ways than they did before. When researching audiences, Pullen advises professionals to lean on psychographics sometimes more than the demographic research, when possible.
“You need to discover what the challenges are that your audience faces and how you can solve those challenges. What does your audience value? What are your customers’ interests? And how can you as a brand insert yourself into those interests,” Pullen said.
Spotify exemplified this advice: It understood that its users were missing concerts, the social aspect of listening to music with their friends, and generally being in a group. It presented a solution to the challenges people were facing that was both safe and fun.
Research can be sometimes be glossed over in crafting public relations strategies in the excitement to get to design or promotion. However, Pullen said to be strategic, companies have to apply the research they have on their customers.
“You could have customers that vary in demographics and psychographics but knowing where each of your customers’ shops, researches, reviews, posts, etc., is important to your brand. You want to meet customers where they are, not just have your customers come to you,” Pullen said.
The biggest mistake that professionals make when getting to know their audience, Wilson said, is “making assumptions that cloud their ability to think objectively and don’t acknowledge implicit bias.” Consumers today want to be seen by a company in ways other than age, ethnicity or household income.
Whether using AI software or not, there are simple steps any company and any employee can take to provide customers an unforgettable experience. “Give customers a reason to love your brand, and then encourage them to speak on your behalf. It’s about honest elevation,” Wilson said. Create opportunities for people to share their unique experiences and invite their communities to join and create their own.
If companies remember and consistently respond to their consumers’ preferences, consumers will hit repeat again and again and become loyal customers for life.