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@oboqs - I am putting together more thinking about the future of advertising for leading brands. The current model is quite broken, but still works enough for everyone to be going down the same "proven" path. Most times just saying "I hear you" can build more loyalty than a loyalty program ever would.

@Janet - experimenting is important. Prototypes, field observations, testing new ideas quickly can all contribute to a stronger outcome. The key is to learn when the testing is done sufficiently. There are some things that take time, especially new things, to have an impact. From feedback I receive, for example, I know that people advance new thinking on some ideas presented here sometimes weeks if not months later.

Great article, thank you Valeria. Agree with your choice of 'improvise' very much. Having spent a majority of my career in high tech middle mgmt, I now lead marketing for a very successful e-commerce SBO. Our experience improvising includes testing new ideas very quickly -- customer research, new marketing promos, customized selling strategies, etc. What we've learned from our quiet 'spot' tests has allowed us to refine (and profite from) our unique value add in a whole new way. In my past roles, corporate 'rules' that would have prevented us from being as nimble in the past.

very nice article.
points # 1 & 2 above are easily adapted by brands that want to lead in their various categories but point # 3, which is the most crucial because it is a factor that encourages loyalty is usually under emphasized and sometimes disregarded. I mean without the consumers how would you measure a leader? And to think that these so called brand leaders sometimes don't even have time for their loyal customers is appalling, but they easily spend all their time on massive Ad campaigns. Must times a little message via any medium expressing appreciation for patronage would definitely do the trick.

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