The new James Bond film Skyfall and the ‘next frontier’ in customer loyalty

In Customer Experience, Loyalty & CRM, Marketing and Sales by emily

1123220 - Skyfall

The first trailer of the new James Bond film, Skyfall, was released this week.

Known for drinking Martinis, in this film it is anticipated Bond will be seen drinking Heineken, as the brand has signed a partnership deal. Heineken's global Skyfall marketing programme will include James Bond actor Daniel Craig in the campaign.

A masterstroke in product placement, the benefit of customers seeing celebrities associated with certain brands is well documented.

But while this may have the short term effect of making the customer aspire to the brand, what is the long term impact on whether that customer stays loyal to the brand?

According to a study released last month, the more other customers look and act like their peers, the more likely it is that the customerwill stay loyal.

Michigan State University marketing expert, Clay Voorhees, who co-authored the study, claims that the presence and behaviour of other customers is just as important as customer service when it comes to brand loyalty.

"We're sizing up other customers all the time," said Voorhees, assistant professor of marketing in the Broad College of Business. "Customers want to be around people they relate to, and the effect that the image of other customers has on loyalty was surprisingly dramatic."

The study, which appeared in the Journal of Retailing, examined the customer loyalty of more than 840 people in three settings – a clothing store, a sit-down restaurant and a theme park.

"Basically, do I feel like they're the same type of person as me?" said Voorhees. "Do they look good? Do they behave? These factors increase the likelihood of people returning to the store."

Voorhees described better managing a portfolio of customers as the "next frontier" for businesses, saying most companies are already good at managing staff and customer service.

While die-hard Bond fans will surely be both shaken and stirred that Bond is to swap his usual tipple for another, what brand wouldn't want to be associated with a character as debonair as Bond?

However choosing someone to be associated with is easy, the problem is that most companies can't choose their customers.

What do you think? How much do customers views of each other impact on brand loyalty?