It’s a Great Time to Reenergize Customer Loyalty for Your Brand

By Pon Angara, VisionReady storyteller

Loyal customers are those who trust a brand so much that they prefer to always buy its products regardless of price or convenience. The great merit of International Customer Loyalty Month is to promote changes in the economy. An economy based on customer loyalty is more consistent over the long term and more resilient.

Think about it: nobody is more important to a business than the consumer, right? Without the consumer, it doesn’t matter if you have a winning product that solves all the world’s problems: your business will not thrive. This was a factor that the sales world had to embrace to understand that customer loyalty is its main asset.

Begin with building trust

Loyalty has always been the tip of the balance in any business transaction. Commerce is based on trust, and it is trust that builds loyalty. How do you earn your customers’ trust? It varies depending on who your customer base is and how you engage with them.

Regardless, the first step is to create opportunities for you to LISTEN to your customers. Ask them questions that will help you get to know them better—their passion, their pain, what they care about, what motivates them, what they dream about.

It’s an intellectual and emotional benefit for the person who feels heard and validated. They can be more open and welcome further conversations and interactions with you and lead to a long-term relationship with your brand.

5 Key Realities of Customer Service

  1. Customer service is crucial for business
    Nine out of 10 Americans consider the quality of customer service to be a crucial factor in deciding to do business with companies.
  2. Customers have changed
    The internet has completely changed the way businesses and customers interact with each other — they are now closer and more connected than ever before.
  3. The whole world is watching
    Companies are seen, analyzed, and criticized all the time — a failure or deviation is quickly identified by the public and can trigger a crisis.
  4. Trust is something you earn
    Building trust is hard work and takes a lot of energy and dedication.
  5. Loyalty is something you cultivate
    While trust is difficult to earn, loyalty is difficult to maintain — companies with loyal customers are those that listen to them and take them into account.

By promoting a culture based on customer perception and on constantly improving the quality of services, International Customer Loyalty Month provides an environment of listening and transparency. This spreads throughout society.

VisionReady works with clients to create effective strategies that help forge meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers and build customer loyalty. For more information, send an email to or call (305) 791-2610.

Digitalize Your Business Model to Increase Customer Loyalty


   By Pon Angara, VisionReady storyteller

I’m big on subscriptions: online publications, software, recipes, food, music, business tools, skin care products, healthcare, you name it! If I know I’m going to need it on a consistent basis, even at varying levels, I just hit the SUBSCRIBE NOW button. I choose the frequency of delivery and my bank account or credit card is automatically charged. I know I will always have the product on hand or be able to access a program or get help from an expert at any time that’s convenient for me. And I don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay a bill.

Start by digitalizing your brand experience.

This requires reframing your brand story by plugging it into a digital setting. How will your customer engage with your product or service? Will it be happening entirely online? Partially? Is the mechanism for personalization happening virtually? How about delivery? When will follow-up happen and how? Rewarding your customers for their loyalty is another opportunity for enhancing the brand experience through digitalization.

Do as they say, and as they do.

Like me, plenty of consumers find the “set it and forget it” approach to be the most convenient model for getting what they need. So why not have a business model that mirrors exactly what customers want? The beauty of this model is its consistent revenue without having to market repeatedly to them. You can send them regular, strategically timed emails about new features or special offers to keep your brand top of mind. Don’t forget to also send customers a regular Thank You. It goes a long way.

Get to know your customer on a deeper level.

The subscription model enables you to track customer behavior and how they interact with your brand in a more intelligent way. Assuming you’re gathering meaningful data, you’re able to create a more personal experience for your customer as your brand can speak to their needs in more specific terms and in a timelier manner.

In the long run, a subscription business model helps to build trust along the way especially if you’re transparent about how you use data about your customers’ journey. As long as they consistently have a high-quality experience, receive messaging that’s relevant to them, and get prompt responses to their questions or feedback, your business will thrive in the metaverse, and beyond!

VisionReady helps businesses owned by women and people of color to thrive through digital transformation. For more information, send an email to or call (305) 791-2610.

Women founders are Founders…and so much MORE


   By Pon Angara, VisionReady storyteller

I recently took my son to visit an engineering trade school in a suburb of Illinois to check out what they have to offer an 18-year-old who’s passionate about the automotive industry. Anthony wants to be able to work under the hoods of cars, especially flashy sports cars that, in his mind, will help him attract the girl of his dreams. At this point in his life and in my parenting, I figure, “…whatever works to get him into a serious path toward a stable vocation!”

We walked out of the school’s open house very impressed with the facility, the program, their job placement, and their staff. Looking back, I recall seeing a room packed with potential student enrollees that were all male. A handful of staff attending to guests were female, but I wasn’t sure if they were faculty or support staff (i.e., admissions, financial aid, student housing, etc.) who were professionals in the trade.

Maybe that day was a fluke, and the reality is that the number of women has been rising exponentially in the historically male-dominated automotive industry. Or maybe there’s still a long way to go.

“The industries in which my company operates are highly male-dominated,” points out Jessica Billingsley, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer of Akerna. In June 2019. she became the first CEO of a cannabis-technology company to be listed on Nasdaq. She co-founded MJ Freeway in 2010, where she served as president until April 2018, and later as the CEO until MJ Freeway was acquired by MTech to form Akerna.

“Go to any industry conference or event and you’ll see it firsthand,” says Billingsley. “Being among the small percentages of women in leadership in the space, I often find myself invited to conferences with an agenda full of male leadership, only to be offered a spot on a women’s panel — and nothing else. When launching Akerna’s flagship product, MJ Freeway, we invented seed-to-sale tracking for the industry. And yet, many who organize these conferences think I can only speak to being a woman in business. I code, I sell, I scale, I lead, but to them, I am merely a female CEO, a checked box on a diversity-and-inclusion initiative. And I know my fellow female peers across a variety of industries have experienced the same.”

So how do we fix this gender discrimination that is so deeply baked into business today?

“It starts with the language we use,” suggests Billingsley. “Words have power. Let’s drop the qualifier when highlighting women who achieve. Countless amazing organizations seek to bring women into business and develop them into future leaders, but we still have miles to go.”

“Ultimately, equal representation will be crucial for women to be seen as what we are: businesspeople delivering value, innovation and skill to our individual companies and missions,” says Billingsley. “I hope for a future where women leaders are categorized by skill and success — not by gender. Yes, I am a proud female founder. But I am so much more than just that.”

VisionReady regularly highlights the contributions of women in all sectors of society and the impact they’ve created—and are continuing to create—for people’s lives. For more information, send an email to or call (305) 791-2610.

Black Business Owners: Digitize Your Business for New Market Growth


   By Pon Angara, VisionReady storyteller

“Despite the ingenuity and striving of generations, Black Americans have found their opportunities systematically limited by racial inequities in virtually every aspect of society and the economy.”

— Senior partner Shelley Stewart and senior partner emeritus James Manyika from their report “Building business ecosystems that support Black entrepreneurs” published by McKinsey & Company

Dismantling the barriers that have kept Black Americans from fully participating in the US economy could unleash a wave of growth, dynamism, and productivity. One of the most important pillars in this effort, according to authors Stewart and Manyika, is building business capabilities and facilitating knowledge sharing.

Organizations working to support equity in entrepreneurship can compensate Black service providers to lead these capability-building efforts. This work would protect and strengthen Black-owned businesses and build business networks with Black-owned SMBs as hubs.

The private and social sectors—particularly anchor institutions—could provide resources, including help with re-skilling and up-skilling Black-owned businesses’ workers, to make Black-owned SMBs nimbler. On-the-job training and web-based courses are both resources that can be easily shared among multiple businesses. Business-services providers could also facilitate digital transformations to help Black business owners identify new market opportunities.

VisionReady works with communities of color to guide them in digitizing their businesses. Learn how we can provide strategic planning that creates a blueprint for your company’s digital transformation, capacity building, and market share growth.

For more information, send an email to or call (305) 791-2610. You can read the full report at

Surprise! You’re Burned Out.


   By Pon Angara, VisionReady storyteller

I know what you might be thinking: “It’s only February and you’re bringing up burnout. Why? Shouldn’t you be talking about the Super Bowl LVII? How about Valentine’s Day? Yeah, these happened just a few days ago, but burnout?”

Calm down, my friend, and BREATHE….in…and out…now, RELAX.

It’s never too early, nor too late, to talk about burnout because by the time you realize you have it, you’re already knee-deep (maybe even neck-deep) in it.

Don’t stop BREATHING….in…and out…now, LISTEN.

Let me start by saying that I’ve been burned out so many times that I’ve accepted it as a friend. I know that sounds weird and contradictory to what we’re trying to do here but hear me out. It’s not my BFF. No way! It’s a friend that drops by unannounced with a dish it wants you to try—a dish that ends up in the trash after you taste it and vow, never again—until you’ve learned to see this friend’s face as a useful warning. We all have that one friend—yes?

Do you know what burnout is?

The official definition of burnout is wide-ranging: “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others,” according to the American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology.

So how do you avoid this friend setting foot in your house again and again?

Know the signs. They’re mentioned in the definition above. For me, it’s when I feel fatigued in the middle of the day, even after having three mugs of coffee (I don’t do decaf). Yes, I’m sure there might be other factors causing the fatigue like poor sleep and underlying health conditions but it’s enough of a red flag that deserves at least a visit to your doctor or therapist.

Give yourself permission. Tell yourself it’s ok to take the afternoon off. Or the weekend without checking email. Schedule regular short breaks in the day like you would schedule a business meeting. It’s important enough and warrants a dedicated block of time on your calendar.

Protect your mind. Trying to be well-informed about current events and staying positive continues to be a balancing act. I’ve learned to take in the news in small doses. There’s been so much negativity that gets media spotlight throughout each day and it’s up to you to filter them through.

Keep human connections real. I’m not talking about social media. I’m talking about picking up the phone and listening to a caring voice on the other end. I still prefer in-person, face-to-face conversations that enable physical human touch that include firm handshakes and long, warm hugs.

Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten what it means to be a real human being toward others and toward ourselves. I remain hopeful that we can reverse that. You can’t create an app for that, but YOU CAN BREATHE, RELAX, and LISTEN.

VisionReady offers wellness programs that aim to counter the effects of burnout and prevent it from happening in the first place. For more information, send an email to or call (305) 791-2610.