I'd argue that a brand's most valuable asset is its customers' loyalty and trust. It's this that drives customers to come back again and again and make multiple purchases, turning a brand into an attractive asset for an acquirer.
So how does a brand connect with each of its customers and build these feelings of loyalty and trust? It's a problem that can be tackled from many sides. The answer used to be loyalty schemes with stamps and paper vouchers, but those haven't translated well to the digital world.
The shift of consumers to mobile-first or mobile-only commerce, creates a real opportunity for brands to connect with their customers at an individual level. On mobile, brands know more about their customers than ever before, and tools and platforms are available to really personalise interactions with customers. The potential is to grow communities around brands, and move consumers from being just customers to being cult fans.
I haven't seen many established brands really get mobile right. It's far harder to adapt an existing off-line and desktop presence to mobile than to build ground-up for mobile. The opportunity for new brands and startups is to design a brand that's mobile from the word go, and so build a much stronger connection with their customers.
Building mobile-up unlocks three opportunities for brands that desktop and even social commerce never afforded: 1) get closer to your customers; 2) increase customer loyalty; and 3) the ability to build not just communities, but cults. These opportunities aren’t relegated strictly to online; they impact in-store experiences as much as they affect online experiences. When used to the fullest degree, mobile is the thread that ties the brand together, online and offline.