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Agenda & Speakers

Creating Emotional Connections with Customers to Drive Brand Loyalty

We are all familiar with “convenience loyalty,” and brands are getting better at building it. Switching from one brand to another is time consuming, could lead to a mistake, and you could lose loyalty points or rewards that you have worked hard to build up over time. Customers in this group are loyal to their brands, but that does not mean they are connected, engaged advocates – or even satisfied.  

The second type of loyalty is emotional, or true loyalty. This type of loyalty is an emotional commitment so strong that a customer would not even consider looking for an alternative. These customers are not interested in a better deal, promotion, or other types of rewards with another company. They are the true, loyal fans. 

If these two types of loyalty are so relatable that everyone has experienced both at some point as a customer themselves, why is it so hard for brands to build emotional loyalty? 

During this session, Loyalty360 will share findings from its recently published Emotional Loyalty Industry Brief and a panel of brand members will discuss their journeys of building emotional loyalty with customers, including challenges, successes, and the opportunity they see when it comes to building true, long-term loyalty. 

Speakers

AJ Schneider, EVP, Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines | Stevens Worldwide

A veteran sales, marketing and communications practitioner, Schneider spent nearly 15 years working with a variety of corporations and clients in a host of industries – from technology and engineering to recruiting and state government – building their brands and ensuring that sales and service were aligned. He learned the household goods relocation services industry by developing programs for some of the largest domestic moving companies in the U.S. while working for public relations, marketing communications and branding firms in the Midwest. Schneider entered the relocation services industry full-time in 2007 by going to work for Wheaton Van Lines, Inc., the parent company of Wheaton | Bekins, the fourth largest van line group in the country. In 2014, Schneider became Executive Vice President. Today he’s responsible for Sales and Marketing, Agency Development, Customer Service, the Military and the company’s FF&E division.

Julia Russell, Director of Verizon Up, Verizon

Julia Russell is currently the Director of Loyalty Marketing for the Verizon Up loyalty program, responsible for the overall strategy and operations of the program. Prior to joining Verizon in 2018, Julia held the positions of Senior Director, Customer Engagement & Member Lifecycle and Senior Director, Global Loyalty Strategy & Innovation at Wyndham Hotel Group, where she was responsible for managing the value proposition, operations and global acquisition strategy across all channels for the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. Prior to joining Wyndham Hotel Group in 2013, Julia worked for American Express for 14 years in a variety of strategy, business development and product marketing roles. 

Karen Szarvas, Sr. Director of Customer Loyalty and Partnerships, The Vitamin Shoppe

Karen Szarvas serves as Sr. Director of Customer Loyalty & Partnerships at The Vitamin Shoppe®, an omni-channel specialty retailer and wellness lifestyle company. In her role, Karen oversees the newly redesigned Healthy Awards Loyalty program and is responsible for the development, execution and management of the program, as well as strategies to drive customer awareness, engagement and retention. Karen has more than 19 years of global marketing and loyalty experience and is a highly motivated, customer focused, thought leader. Prior to joining The Vitamin Shoppe, she worked at Wyndham Worldwide and consulted at KMS Marketing Solutions where she specialized in loyalty, branding, customer communications and experiences.

Agenda Overview

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