A question we continue to toy with day in and day out. What creates zealotry? What makes people love brands, be passionately committed to companies, be loyal beyond belief?

Said another way, what are some core actions that cause consumers to be zealots for companies.  Feel free to use your clients and favorite brands to think through this.

One thing that stands out – unexpected rewards.    Earning points in a loyalty program doesn’t provoke much referral talk, but if Apple gives you a brand new computer because they are not solving the problems with your one-year old computer, you share that story. If your Starbucks barista gives you a coffee on the house for no rhyme or reason, surely you’ll be talking to others about your experience. And, if you were flying Southwest Airlines and as you checked in for your flight they casually upgraded you to first class because you looked a little frazzled today I’d aim to guess you’d be bragging to your coach-flying co-workers the next day back at the office.

That being said, two questions:

1. Is your company doing anything in terms of unexpected rewards to win over guests? Are your employees empowered to “do good in the brand?”

2. What other things do you think create Zealotry?