One of the things I’ve always been a huge proponent of is fostering true brand loyalty for the long tail – strategic and continuous and  growth – versus getting quick buzz hits then using the rinse and repeat formula.

This stems from various reasons but the core overall one is simple – create a loyal army of consumers-turned-customers-turned-advocates, by providing solutions that meet their needs, and much of your marketing will be done organically.

This creates three benefits:

  • You have a true two-way relationship with your customer;
  • You have word-of-mouth from trusted resources that no amount of money could buy;
  • Your brand has an immediate advantage for new innovations, feedback and growth through shared ideas.

Loyalty also has another added benefit – more often than not, the cost of new customer acquisition versus existing customers satisfaction is much higher. Not always, but mostly.

If you can reduce the spend on acquisition, you can re-allocate that to reducing churn of existing customers, enhancing the loyalty and appreciation factor immensely.

Two brands that understand the implementation of long tail loyalty are BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre.

Brand Loyalty: BlogOnCloud9

BlogOnCloud9 WordPress

When I switched over to WordPress hosting experts BlogOnCloud9 back in 2010, I wrote a post then on how happy I was with the move and service. Almost three years later, nothing’s changed – except the service and approach of Dana and Karen, the founders of and partners in the service, is even better.

Last weekend, on a Saturday evening, I was tinkering with my blog to add some CSS code in order to change the email sign-up box I have at the end of every post.

Because I’m not a CSS guy, I messed up the copy/paste and completely borked my blog. Since I’d changed some code in the functions.php file, it messed up the rest of the site and all I had was a scary blank white screen of death.

I resigned myself to the fact I did something stupid on a Saturday night, and pinged Dana and Karen an email saying what had happened, and if they could help resolve. This was done not expecting anything until Monday at the earliest.

Not one hour later, Dana emailed to say he had found the bad code, fixed it, and that the site was now fully operational again. This was at 8.00pm on a Saturday night!

I was floored. BlogOnCloud9 isn’t a massive hosting company employee-wise, but that service and response at the weekend outdid competitors far “larger” than Dana and Karen’s baby.

Brand Loyalty: Livefyre

Livefyre comments system

Ah, Livefyre. Regular readers and subscribers here will know I’m a huge fan of the Livefyre comments system. There’s just something about the platform that behaves like a true comment system should.Social integration; real-time chat functionality; community fostering, and more. It’s just an awesome platform.

Recently, I moved away from Livefyre and reactivated Disqus following a crowdsource survey of my subscribers, who preferred Disqus over Livefyre (although Livefyre had a huge amount of fans in the responses too).

But I began to have issues with Disqus. Mobile load time could be slow; Reactions (how your post has been shared on Twitter) were unreliable; and valid comments were getting caught in the spam filter.

I knew Livefyre were working on a major update to their platform, Livefyre 3. The beta version is on this blog, with the public release due imminently. And I knew that I still loved the platform, even though I’d made the move away from them recently.

So I emailed Livefyre support, and the awesome Dhara Mhistry was immediately on the case. No reprimanding (even in jest) for being “disloyal”, simply happy to help get Livefyre back on the blog.

Not only did Dhara and the Livefyre technical team ensure none of my Disqus comments were lost, she also answered all my questions regarding styling the comments to be more in line with the colour scheme here.

And, just like BlogOnCloud9, Livefyre was there testing the comments on the weekend to make sure the change back over had been a smooth one.

The really impressive thing? I’m not even a paying customer – Livefyre Comments is free, although it does offer premium features for businesses and media properties.

Building Loyalty Really Isn’t That Hard

What’s key in both these examples are two things that both BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre clearly understand:

  • Customers (and/or users) mess up, and being able to clear a way through that mess together fosters trust and loyalty;
  • Losing patronage for a while doesn’t mean the brand has lost an advocate or loyal user – you have to find out for yourself why you loved that brand in the first place when compared to someone else.

A lot of brand struggle to understand loyalty – true loyalty. Offering discount vouchers and early usage of a new product may win you favours – but what you do after that to build on that quick-hit loyalty is what will define your long tail success.

BlogOnCloud9 and Livefyre already know this. Now it’s up to your brand.

Note: BlogOnCloud9 recently launched BlogDroid (affiliate link), for a seamless WordPress experience no matter what level of knowledge you have. 

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Blog consulting with Danny Brown

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    • says

      mickeygomez Cheers, miss, and agree 100% – the product can be awesome but if the service doesn’t match the product…
      If I recall, you’re on at the minute? Livefyre is for (mainly) at the minute, not sure if could be supported due to the way they’re scripting works? Unless that blog question you sent a while back was about moving to, that is. :)

      • says

        Danny Brown mickeygomez Livefyre That WAS the blog question I sent a while back. I want to port to .org and I am terrified of losing comments. However, I very much want a better commenting system, one that allows people to interact better. Plus it’s just silly not to have my own domain.

        • says

          mickeygomez Livefyre Gotcha. Well then, I’m sure the LF guys would be able to help on that front, miss – all you’d need to do (if has the option) is Export the Posts and all that’s attached (so that would include comments as well as tags, etc), to an xml file, and then Livefyre could manually import to your new site. :)

        • says

          Danny Brown That’s why we’re hear to help mickeygomez! :) Feel free to reach out to us at support at livefyre dot com with any questions about moving to Livefyre.
          And Danny – so happy to have you back! The whole crew is excited and I know they’ve been working hard with you, so great for me to see on all sides!

        • says

          jennalanger Danny Brown mickeygomez Thanks, Jenna! If you knew me, you’d realize I can mess up walking and breathing at the same time. I am anxious to get away from the .com and go out on my own, though. This is vastly reassuring.

        • says

          jennalanger Thanks, miss – the check is in the mail. 😉  See, this is what I love about you guys, you clearly love the platform and are willing to forgive those idiots like me that keep bugging your team each time I switch on. I’ll be better. Promise! :) mickeygomez

  1. TimBurrows says

    Hey Danny…something that sure needs to be said more, “fostering true brand loyalty for the long tail – strategic and continuous and  growth – versus getting quick buzz hits.”  
    So many brands care about the quick buck and not the long term investment. 
    Also, in a world of instant yell and bitch social gripes, it is great to read about positive customer experiences.  Well done, as always.

    • says

      TimBurrows Well said Tim! I love the surprise and delight examples. That has to be baked into the culture long term. You’re right it’s not about the quick buzz hits. Even your non-customer, like this case, can be really a strong positive impact for the business. I think if you continue to have a “small-business” mentality: ie treat every single one of your customers like gold, you’re going to win.

    • says

      TimBurrows What the deuce – Tim Burrows on the blog? It must be some black magic voodoo at work! :)
      I recall your talk last summer, mate, where you spoke of branding the unbrandable when it came to the police and the local community. It reminds me of this – it’s a long journey and one that needs serious investment and commitment, from both sides. Initiating it properly is key from the brand, if you want the customer to buy in to your longer term vision.
      Cheers, sir!

  2. says

    For years, I’ve argued that my industry (newspapers) have been plagued by problems that weren’t necessarily related to the Internet, though certainly influenced by it.
    1. We don’t communicate well with our customers.
    2. Word of mouth is weakening as the American public’s trust in news weakens.
    3. Early on, we were not the innovators in media (and even today, often are still behind the curve). I still remember many years ago attending a seminar in which we were told Craigslist and Ebay would not last.

    Those newspapers that do communicate with customers, that do maintain trust and therefore the word of mouth, and are innovative are actually doing quite well (there are success stories in our industry, believe it or not).
    Amazing how the simplest things still work, no?

    • says

      ClayMorgan So true, mate. Over this way, the Toronto Star has forever been sending us free 1-month subscriptions, to see if we like it (we don’t). Then they call several times and ask if we’d like to take up their special 6-month subscription offer (we don’t). We ask them to remove us (they don’t).
      Compare that to my local paper, who inserted a hand-written note in their edition last weekend, thanking people for their patronage and here’s the direct line to the editor if there are ever any issues, or if people want to share feature suggestions.
      Guess which one sticks in my head when it’s subscription renewal time?

      • says

        Danny Brown Ummm, yea.
        One thing I’ve started recently, that is receiving a huge positive impact is that I insist that customer service give me the name and number of any person who calls to complain that they didn’t receive their paper or with some other delivery issue.  I take that information and I, the publisher, calls them, apologizes, assures them we’ll do better, and then give them my DIRECT PHONE NUMBER, inviting them to call me if their problem doesn’t get resolved.
        Our retention rates are actually improving. Hmmm….

  3. says

    If I was starting a company today, we would have one overall goal: Do whatever it takes to improve the customer experience. That’s it. Nothing else. Simple customer service. I do not understand why so many companies are hesitant to adopt this philosophy. It works. Here are two more examples. Good stuff, DannyBrown.

    • says

      JGoldsborough It’s crazy, mate – how do companies expect to survive with zero to little customers? So why not recognize the import from the start? Hey ho…

    • JGoldsborough says

      @dannybrown Totally does. Talked content marketing with a client yesterday and emphasized having a short-term AND long-term approach.

  4. says

    Hi, Danny …
    We are so pleased you wrote about our hosting service, BlogOnCloud9. We are always happy to help you and any of our clients that we work with.
    Have a fabulous weekend, Karen & Dana

  5. says

    Thanks for the kind words @DannyBrown, and thank you for continuing to help us to improve Livefyre. dharait and I are both really excited to have you back on Livefyre, but we will always consider you part of the Livefyre Community Danny.

    • says

      meghankrane dharait Thanks, Meghan, you guys always make people feel at home, and I wish more companies had your passion in simply building something and welcoming those who wish to use it.

  6. Libby Cortez says

    I’m especially loving your take on the benefits of loyalty, particularly that it fosters innovation, feedback, and growth through shared ideas. This isn’t something we hear about as often – perhaps because it’s not as easy to quantify – but it couldn’t be more true. Thanks for the good insight!

    • says

      Libby Cortez One of my favourite examples is that of Nintendo, when they brought the Wii out, and Super Mario was deemed too easy, compared to the classic Nintendo 64 version. Nintendo had made it to attract new fans, but the loyal customers felt the franchise had been dumbed down too much.
      The head of development listened, and promised the next game in the series would return to its hardcore gamer roots, as well as bring new innovations to the way games were played.
      You can’t pay enough for that kind of feedback from the customers who stick with you through thick and thin. And listening to them the way Nintendo did? Just made them even more loyal.
      Cheers, Libby, have a great weekend!

  7. says

    So you are switching back to livefyre :) As long as you keep it between disqus and livefyre, then I think you will have many happy commenters. Your points about consumers-turned-customers-turned-advocates and absolutely spot on. This blog is an example of you advocating for two of your favourite products. The question is how many customers out there for Cloud9 and Livefyre are equally satisfied with their service but not as vocal. This is why companies need to take a proactive approach when it comes to mobilizing their advocates. When they do – the results are astounding  You might be interested in two recent case studies prepared by Influitive about how two of its customers, Ekton and SMART, ( and, used Influitive’s advocatehub to  mobilize their advocates. Feel free to contact me if you want more information about Influitive or if you would like get in touch with VP of marketing or CEO of Influitive.

    • says

      abdallahalhakim There are actually quite a few examples across the web of praise for both brands. It’s a fine line to tread – how much can you ask your advocates to promote organically without appearing a spammer.
      Thanks for the slides, I’ll check them out.

      • says

        Danny Brown abdallahalhakim We are in agreement. I am not surprised that both livefyre and cloud9 receive a lot of praise given their apparent great customer service. A good advocacy program will not work if all you do is ask things from your advocates. The process involves nurturing a relationship and also providing benefits and value to your best customers. I hope you find the case studies useful.

  8. says

    Danny I was pretty upset when you went over to Disqus – I really missed he interaction that Livefyre gives.
    So good to see you back with Livefyre.