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Calgary’s Next Economy: The Apex Scoring System is building better brand loyalty

Nick Bond said relationships with customers change. They evolve. They need to be nurtured.

Companies that want to survive must understand their audience and what drives their loyalty during that evolution.

That’s why he and fellow co-founders Marc Whitehead, Todd Finch and Jordan Van Schyndel put their heads together to come up with the Apex Scoring System. They’re working with a team of highly-qualified scientists, too.

It’s a unique brand tracking platform that helps organizations measure the attitudes the drive people to take action. It goes beyond the standard net-promoter score. It delves into the ‘why’ of brand loyalty. The system reveals what areas of a client relationship need attention and how they can use that to drive audience engagement.

“When we talk about engagement, we really define it as loyalty,” he said.  

“People that are doing and expressing loyal behaviours with a brand.”

Bond background is market research. He spent 10 years doing that before moving over to the Canadian Tire Group to work on marketing, planning and strategy for the FGL brands.

He was asked a question by someone whose friend was running an agency that wanted to focus on audience engagement. But, the question was: How do I measure that?  Bond said an academically driven, behavioral science proven method of measuring and audience and a brand doesn’t exist.

That’s what they’ve been building over the past four+ years.

“Clients kept coming back to this metric,” Bond said.

“They are coming back to us being able to articulate specifically what their secret sauce is that they need to hold on to.”

The score

There are 16 indicators that Apex uses to track that loyalty score, or, impact score, as they call it.

“The idea is that it lets business leaders, and specifically marketers… identify what makes audiences – so customers, employees, donors, and so on – loyal to them,” Bond said.

It factors in what an audience expects from you, do you need to be more empathetic or dependable?

“We call it the impact score, which is literally the extent to which you’re providing the type of loyal relationship your audience is looking for,” Bond said.

“That’s the score that you maintain and you kind of look at that over time.”

It can drive different types of engagement. Different content is another way people companies adapt to meet the needs of the audience.

He said they’ve seen some good success with non-profits. They don’t necessarily have the resources to conduct large scale audience testing and they need to know how to convert donors.  Then, they work on how to strengthen that relationship over time.

“You have to evolve with that relationship if it is to maintain a strong relationship,” Bond said.

“So, before things start going bad or before you start losing friends, we evolve and we start to address the new forms of that relationship.”

Focus through Velocity

Bond said their work in the Alberta Catalyzer – Velocity program via Platform Calgary helped them home in on who they’re really selling to. Virtually every business has to grow a relationship with clients – so where should they focus?

“Velocity has been awesome in terms of really helping us focus our thinking, focus our messaging,” he said.

He also said that just being a part of the program and meeting a cross-section of people from vastly different industries has been rewarding.

“There’s a community of us out there and together we can actually create a lot of really interesting things in the marketplace – for ourselves, and together,” he said.

For now, they’re focused on building a solid company. They do want to add in some new features and deliver exciting conversations with clients.  Should they be in a position to sell someday and be a part of a larger company, great.

“In the near term, we’re just really focused on growing a great company,” he said.