Creating brand alignment can be a challenge for loyalty marketers, but the potential benefits are highly attractive.

Marc Rashba, vice president, Sony Pictures Entertainment, spoke with Loyalty360 about how his company views the current customer loyalty/customer experience landscape, including six critical pieces that help brands achieve internal alignment.

“If we’re talking about being aligned with today’s consumers, then our view is that everything has changed,” Rashba explained. “For instance, the grocery business used to be as simple as real estate. People picked the market by geography. If it was close and convenient, they went. Simple. Flash forward to today and markets have to specialize. Do the brands specialize in value? Do the brands need to focus on organics? Do they have to focus on bulk buying?”

Rashba added: “Do consumers even want to get dressed anymore and even go into a grocery store? The explosion of home delivery services (Blue Apron, Instacart, GrubHub, and the like) erases the need to go out to buy food to prepare a meal at home. They are an example of selling convenience. I’m not sure if the services filled an unmet need or whether those services themselves created a need, but consumers have spoken. The traditional grocery retail brand has to change and adapt, or they will not be aligned with tomorrow’s consumer. It’s experiential and there is healthy retailing out there. You have to give people a reason and an experience. We just have to make it easier for them and make it attractive so that a brand stands for something.”

Rashba said that creating brand alignment is a “huge challenge and opportunity” for retailers.

“We basically have these six categories,” he noted.

  1. Add value without lowering price.
  2. Every brand has to be digitally relevant. It’s critical to get this right.
  3. How do you showcase innovation? You have to be in front of it and keep coming back with a unique piece to enhance the brand.
  4. Engagement is more than ever is critical.
  5. Instant gratification. No one has any patience left. People want things right away.
  6. You want them to buy more. Increase basket spend. Can you get more out of your core group of loyal customers?
 
“Those are our essential six things we think that are on most companies’ minds,” Rashba said. “That’s what we help address and we help create the right tactics and solutions.”

In the entertainment space at Sony, its brand focus is around movie titles, tv shows, game titles, or artists.
“We don’t have a specific program that we go and sell,” Rashba explained. “We are in a unique position because our company covers so many diverse businesses. When we look at things, we really try to go in and problem solve. We understand what it’s like to have rapidly growing categories and rapidly shrinking categories. We understand what it’s like to expand into digital and transfer to a digital business. We’re an active, living, very successful corporate brand that can bring that unique perspective to a partner and help solve their problems. We take all the data we gather and we can look at it to curate it ourselves to find the right opportunity for a partner. Our insights are real-time insights that we learn from actual experiences, not just from directional data analytics.”

Rashba said the company’s goal is to understand that particular consumer and what’s going to make sense.
“We follow what the consumer is doing,” he added. “Many young parents have already migrated to that digital experience. We’re following what they lead us to. It’s better to follow what people are doing, more than what they’re saying.”

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