Get To Know Me

cdiesbourg    October 13, 2015

Organization Name: Banana Republic

Industry: fashion retailer

Web references:,

Get To Know Me


Basically, loyalty is emotional before it’s transactional. Loyalty is a choice.  As an example of this, I am loyal to Banana Republic because their brand helps identify me in some way. Its quality, style and price point work for me and reinforce the loyalty I feel towards the brand.

Banana Republic needed a better way to engage with its trend-setting customers to ensure the company could set fashion trends, not follow them. The Banana Republic Customer Engagement team drives customer loyalty and affinity for the brand through a portfolio of products and offerings.

Why does customer engagement work?

The new frontier of customer engagement: Gallup reports that fully engaged customers represent an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer. Actively disengaged customers represent a 13 percent discount on the same measures.

Social media: the way to your customer

Using Twitter has become second nature to the brand after receiving significant accolades for their campaign during the Twitter IPO. How Banana Republic Cleverly Crashed Twitter’s IPO Party for interacting with winning content on twitter The brand got about 400 tweets and was just behind CNBC, CNNMoney and NYSE Euronext. Customer engagement works in the crowded minds of consumers.

Vision Critical helped develop Banana Republic Insiders, an insight community of 50,000 trend-conscious customers. ‰What is a Banana Republic Insider? A select group of shoppers that provide feedback about products, stores, and marketing. It’s working! Monthly questionaires are sent to the group to ask for input on various buying trends that the company then works to incorporate into their marketing campaigns and product offerings.

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Engagement‰ is not just a buzz word; it‰’s a phenomena, everyone is doing it in some way.

“I really feel the key is in the word understanding.  It’s about investing the time to know and understand who your target is – what motivates them, what’s important to them,” said Tamra Krefman, Consumer Strategist with Banana Republic. While Krefman’s team is technically part of the marketing department, she said a key to its role and the company’s success is the focus on integrating customer feedback into all areas of the business.

Krefman explained that Banana Republic has established a “Consumer Insight Toolkit” to capture customer feedback on as many fronts as possible. While focus groups, shopalongs and syndicated shopping data are all parts of that Toolkit, Krefman pointed to the brand’s Insiders Consumer Panel as one of the most effective insight drivers.

Launched in January 2006, the panel is made up of loyal shoppers in who fall into the company’s target demographic of 25-44 year old consumers. The Insiders are contacted every 3 weeks with a survey link or an activity invitation and the group is offered incentives ranging from appreciate cards to merchandise. “This continues to be a key vehicle for us to understand customer issues in greater depth than a traditional tracking study or qualitative group can provide. Incentives vary from appreciation cards to merchandise.

Lessons Learned

Customer engagement is more than just knowing my email address and adding me to a newsletter chain. It’s understanding what makes me smile when buying my clothes for the season. Where I buy my clothes, how I buy my clothes, what clothes I’ve purchased before. When I make a mistake, they make it easy for me to work with them to get it right. When they make a mistake, they own it and let me decide if I still want to do business with them.

Their Twitter and Instagram sites inspire me to do business with me. They continue to reach out without annoying me and provide content I’m interested in viewing.  All keys in my mind to successful customer engagement.

Check out the video here to get some tips for being successful when gathering customer insight.

Finally….Today, marketing teams should be able to ask a question in the afternoon, have the answers the next morning, and take action before noon.

Ask fewer questions.

Here’s a difficult pill to swallow: people usually multitask while interacting with your company. While tweeting about your new widget, they also check Buzz Feed or watch the latest viral video on YouTube. The consumer’s short attention span demands you engage people accordingly.

Get the why and the how.

Social media gave companies a way to hear directly from people. But social media offers some challenges when it comes to customer engagement. Transactional, behavioral, and social data are all important, but to truly engage your customers, you need to facilitate a two-way conversation.

Show that youre learning quickly.

Action speaks louder than words, so show your customers they didn’t waste their time engaging with your brand. Provide evidence about how their input influenced your decision.