Opportunistic

bikedinaseaurDid you visit a Halloween Store this fall? One that isn’t there all year, but just sort of “popped up” at the right time? How about a fireworks store in late June? The phenomenon of the pop up store has increased in recent times due in part to low occupancy rates in strip malls. Both sides see an opportunity to make a few bucks without the burden of any commitment or long range plans. There is some downside though. It sends a message. To customers the message coming from the store is that we won’t be here so all we’re interested in is a truncation today. And so we drive one more nail into the perceptions of customers that all stores are like that. The landlord sends a message to his other tenants (who have likely signed long-term leases) that he values the occupancy more than the long term best interests of their businesses. And that he specifically wants to make it hard for them to make a change if he believes he can leverage them into committing.

What about loyalty? There are a few forms of loyalty. Convenience can breed some loyalty. Show up in the right place at the right time enough times, making it easy, and people will respond. Or, rather than focusing on creating more satisfaction, you can create barriers to change. You might not want to change your operating system because it will be too disruptive, or your cable provider because new equipment has to be installed (not to mention early termination fees). These forms of loyalty are not very robust. You can have the lowest price, but what if someone else does next time?

Loyalty in personal relationships is just as fragile. How loyal is loyal enough when times get tough, when you don’t get much out of it, or when there is a big divide? Is the loyalty there because it’s deserved and warranted, or because there are rules we play by? Religious rules. Societal rules.

When the value is low the customer or partner is considering options. There may be some barrier to change, but that doesn’t mean they are satisfied. It’s a false economy, and it eats away at everything in time.

Real loyalty flies in the face of opportunistic.

The kind of loyalty you really want is for someone to value you so much that they aren’t looking. This cannot be easily manufactured.  It has to be earned over time with consistent actions day in and day out. When both parties come through consistently it creates a rising tide. A synergy that’s greater than the sum of the parts. Limits and barriers (most of which are self imposed and artificial) fall away. That’s where the real opportunity is.

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