Traditional loyalty is undergoing dramatic change. This is the "Era of Free Agency"  across every element of society. People are conditioned to change and they act on this impulse with ever-increasing enthusiasm.


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Is there a product, service, cause, company or organization that can be certain their customers or supporters will still be with them tomorrow, or next week, or next year? At one point both GM and Budweiser commanded more than 50% of the US market.  GM is now around 17% and Budweiser has experienced declining sales for 23 consecutive years.

Understanding loyalty is more challenging today than ever before.  In virtually every aspect of life today, change is the one constant.  The evidence is all around us: 

Nearly four in ten Americans change their religious affiliation at least once in their lifetime;

Throughout the 20th century, the state of West Virginia was a solid lock for the Democratic party - in the 2012 election President Obama won't even bother to visit the state because he has no chance of winning;

From 1947 through 1972 African Americans went from 0% representation in the Major Leagues to 27%. Since 1972 the ratio has fallen from 27% to 10%;

Marriage is an institution in peril.  In 1960, 66 percent of people in their 20s were married; today the number is roughly 25 percent.

It would be logical to look at numbers like these and conclude that loyalty is dead. It's not the case, but loyalty has been redefined and those organizations that understand this phenomenon will have a tremendous competitive advantage.


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The pub is a ubiquitous institution in Britain, or at least it used to be.  According to the New York Times 1 in 5 pubs have closed in the last 20 years including over 7000 in the last 5 years.  More than just a beloved watering-hole, pubs occupy a special place in British communities, and so many are seeking to use new laws to designate their neighborhood establishments as an “asset of community value.”
Once a key part of the pantry, Smucker’s is facing declining earnings and increasing costs relative to competitors. According to the Huffington Post, part of these trouble stem from the long running health concerns about consuming artificial sweeteners. As competitors switch to healthier products and lower costs, Smucker’s must also change its plans.
Once a dominant and towering part of American society, car culture has seen a marked decline in the U.S. Once a rite of passage, getting one’s driver’s license has been pushed later into life for many teens. For those in “prime driving age” a decline in population compared to years past has led to a decrease in miles driven. Since the peak of miles driven per American in 2005, there has been a decline of 8.8%. More at USA Today.
A case of David and Goliath? Not quite, but in the coming case of ABC v. Aereo, the outcome could lead to a vastly different intellectual landscape. While it could be overly simplified to a fight between big business and a start-up, what this article really frames the fight as is business as it has been versus innovation.  Though centered on how people choose delivery of TV programs, the consequences could reach much farther.
With Amazon reaching into, well everything, traditional retailers are struggling to maintain the loyalty of their customers.  A recent industry convention seems to be pushing more and more digital tech into the arena, but one expert seems to think people need to be returned to the forefront, since it’s the only thing Amazon can’t seem to do…yet.
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