After reading Sue’s e-bulletin article last week on trust and loyalty I couldn’t help but think of how I view these two key concepts.  I first took a look at what loyalty programs I belong to and why I value them.  What is the true reason why I am loyal to particular company or organization?  My first thought were the deals and discounts.  After doing a deeper dive I realized it isn’t the discounts, but rather the foundation behind a particular brand and what they stand for.

Each store has a specific brand.  This brand is established by the employees, the message the company communicates and most importantly how they connect with the community.  Is it enough to simply communicate this message through social marketing?  No, it takes a strategic plan to communicate this through various mediums and store culture.

It is essential to communicate this through the way your store interacts with customers, creates events, and how they involve themselves in the community. By providing consistent, exceptional customer service and communicating your brand, you can help build that trust within the community. Isn’t that what we are all about… connecting with our community to build relationships and trust?

One element of your brand can be being the go-to play expert in your community and offering your customers knowledge and insight on all things play.  Utilize resources like ASTRA Webinars, the Guide to Toys for Children with Special Needs, and the latest Make Way for Play booklets. ASTRA is also currently developing the Certified Play Expert certification program to give you an in-depth understanding of the tools and skills to understand child development, the benefits of play, and how those two connect.

Bio Photo resizeGreg Choyke is the Director of Education at ASTRA. Greg started his tenure at ASTRA in January and looks forward to developing creative, high quality educational programs while forging professional relationships with ASTRA members and committees. Contact Greg at