In 2013 Forrester welcomed all brands, B2B and B2C alike, to the Age of the Customer. Defined as a “20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.” The AOC advises enterprise brands to go beyond customer-centric to become customer obsessed.

Because I know firsthand that happy customers will gladly brag about the brands they love to the people they know, I spent some time thinking about the many brands to which I would refer my friends and colleagues. And then I considered which of these brands obsess over me. I can name two cases in which the love fest is reciprocal!

I <3 U

The first brand is The North Face. I have been one of their brand ambassador for about a year now. What this entails is TNF sending me products to try in my outdoor endeavors and in return I post photos of using their products in the wild. This gives them User Generated Content and conversations around their brand in social media. Yet, I do much more than that! I tell all of my friends and colleagues how great their equipment is, and how it has made my outdoor experiences the very best they could be. I definitely go above and beyond of what they ask of me because I Love Them!

The second brand who obsesses over me is prAna. They don’t send me free product, but they do engage with me on Twitter. My favorite conversation was when Sprinklr once asked on Twitter what brand people would “date” and why. I answered prAna and TNF for the obvious reasons. To my delight, prAna replied they would date me too! Yes, silly, but it made my day.

Both TNF and prAna make me want to refer everyone I know (including you, reader!) to them. Everyone has brands they are loyal to and like and not just consumer products, but services too.

Do your customers want to date you?

There are many ways you can show your appreciation for customers, and they don’t have to cost a lot. Everyone wants to feel important, it’s a basic psychology – with so many choices out there for consumers, companies need to prioritize how they will make their customers feel valued, however, recently at Integrated Marketing Week, Forrester analyst, Tina Moffett said “36% of marketers said a big challenge is aligning loyalty with their company’s’ overarching business strategies, while 29% pointed to personalizing offers, content, and experiences based on behavior.” The challenge is to have your marketing team come up with ideas that scale with your business reach and budget and promote your values as a company, or just like unappreciated partner, they will look for something new.

A popular statistic is 1 in 3 people come to a brand through a recommendation and customers who were referred by loyal customers have a 37% higher retention rate (Deloitte). This makes perfect sense to me. Very few people want to spend their money on something that will not satisfy them and meet their needs. So what do they do?  They ask their friends and start noticing what people are wearing around town and posting in their Instagram feed. I know with many of my purchases, I have already committed mentally to buying a product before I even walk through the door or add the item to my cart. Rarely do I buy anything on impulse. This makes my purchasing decision much more satisfying because I already began my “love affair” with the item I saw in my friend’s IG before I even acquired  it for myself.

So dear brand, be honest, are you dating material?