One nil to the Arsenal: building customer loyalty

From the ripe old age of five, my niece supported Arsenal. She wouldn’t go anywhere without her red scarf, slept in her number ten shirt and hogged the sofa with her dad when ‘the match’ was on. It was her life and has become a life-long infatuation.

She is without question, loyal, customer loyal, devoted you might say. Never wavering, sharing the highs and the lows, through victory and defeat. A true part of the tribe.

And running through this life of devotion and loyalty we think we can see five simple rules that have been followed, to build such a relationship, which are as applicable to any business or movement, as they are, well, to the Arsenal.

1 Start with purpose
To win the cup, the league, the championship. Have a real and realistic goal in mind. Make it simple and keep it simple, get your employees behind it early by making it real and worthwhile, empower them to take it on and then they will deliver in spades to your customers.

2 Use symbolism
The badge, the shirt, your logo – no words required.

3 Know your enemy
Definitely Spurs. Who do you want to beat? Think about BA and Virgin, Google and Yahoo. It focuses the mind and creates healthy competition both internally and externally.

4 Tell the story
Winning the FA cup 10 times, the League 13 times, Bertie Mee and Charlie George, signing Brady, Bergkamp, Vieira and Ramsey. The invincibles and Wenger. From munitions workers in Woolwich in 1886 to the Emirates today, build your brand story.

5 Nurture a sense of belonging
The strip, the stadium, the anthem and those Saturday routines that become so entwined in life that it simply wouldn’t be the same without them. All appealing to, and answering that need, to belong, to feel part of something bigger.

And there it is. That’s the formula.
From an early age kids pledge their allegiance to their club and begin a life-long love affair. If you can harness that power from your brand you will be top of the league every time.