An awesome idea: Win customers by making them disloyal!

Get more customers – by making them disloyal!

How’s that for a brilliant example of how “Reversal Thinking” works in creating a bold new idea?

This idea has its roots in England where the 2009 World Barista champion Gwilym Davies initiated the idea in his own café. Erik Posthuma from Antics – Digital Creative Agency and Luke Norman – coffee connoisseur and writer of Cortadito.sg, decided to try it out in Singapore. The participating cafés were Jewel Coffee, Smitten, Jimmy Monkey, Loysel’s Toy, Forty Hands, Oriole, Broers Café & SOHO Coffee.

The campaign ended on 31st December 2011. From what I heard, the response from customers, cafes, and publications like Springwise has been great.

When almost every retailer I heard of is working their guts off thinking up new tactics and promotions in winning over customers, this concept came as a refreshing breeze.

Many retailers and service deliverers work on the usual methods that “others” use. You probably heard of some of them: “one for one”, “two for one”, discounts for your next purchase, cash rebates, points in loyalty cards that can be redeemed …. you get the picture? I bet you must have seen dozens of these by now.

But since September last year, something else was created: 8 of Singapore’s top cafés joined forces to invite the people of Singapore to enjoy their coffee – and to be disloyal.

The concept is simple: customers go to any of the 8 participating cafés – enjoy their favourite coffee, receive the disloyalty card and try out the other cafés. With each coffee bought at the other café’s the card holder receives a stamp. Once the card is full, they go back and claim their free coffee from their starting café.

I am impressed with this campaign and idea for a number of reasons:

  • It stands out from the usual fare of product promotions, and bound to be a talking-point
  • It’s what small-sized retailers can think up and launch faster than the bigger players
  • It got together 8 cafés to combine their efforts: instead of competing, they shared their efforts. This is service synergy at its best.
  • They applied creative thinking, came up with the idea, and made it come alive!
  • It made customers happy

Advertisers are spending thousands or millions on campaigns to gain customer attention. What they are really hoping for is to have their messages stand out from the thousands customers face each day, and if effective, influenced the customers’ choice or changed their buying behaviour.

But by applying creative thinking, retailers can generate new ideas no one else has thought of before at a fraction of cost. All they need is a idea-generation technique and practice. The good news is, it’s as easy as eating. Like this example of creating “disloyal” customers: stand back from the usual assumption that everyone else makes, reverse it, expand on the new idea and apply it.

Now there’s a tip you can try out today.

Happy creating!

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