There’s a good chance that most AJT readers have been touched by Phil Rubin’s professional talents. As CEO and President of Atlanta based [r] Dialogue, he’s helped create a successful approach for growing customer loyalty and brand relationships.

Phil Rubin

Many people know these loyalty programs, whether they come in the form of frequent flyer awards or customer appreciation credits.

Rubin was born in North Carolina, but shortly thereafter moved with his family to New Orleans, where he attended high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at Louisiana State University and then became part of Macy’s executive training program in Birmingham, Ala.

After several years with Macy’s, he returned to Louisiana and entered the MBA program at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Over the next 15 years, he held executive positions with several companies and gained a great deal of experience with a special emphasis on loyalty and relationships marketing, integrated communications and partner development programs.

Later on, he served as Group Vice President of the Lacek Group, a loyalty-marketing firm; established the Atlanta office for Lacek; and was responsible for developing strategies for such clients as Delta, Cox Communications, Premier Technologies, UPS and Iridium.

Rubin then joined Loyaltyworks and created their loyalty practice. From there, he eventually led the spin-off of this division to became [r] Dialogue.

In creating his own firm, Rubin was guided by wise words: His father always said that, while difficult, the most creative work can be done while being self-employed.

Mainstay of the Field

Today, [r] Dialogue is a customer loyalty and relationship-marketing firm that focuses on creating and sustaining profitable relationships between a company and its customers. Its approach to customer loyalty comes from more than 100 years of experience and recognizes that every company has a distinct brand and core strengths.

The goal is to take these unique qualities and create a cost-effective way for a company to enhance customer relationships and incremental profit.  Here are some key techniques employed by [r] Dialogue to attain these goals:

  • Improve customer retention, cross-sell and upgrade sales
  • Enhance customer engagement, satisfaction and advocacy
  • Grow brand awareness among both customers and prospects
  • Create partnerships with other customer-focused companies

Since its inception, [r] Dialogue has complied an impressive list of clients and has created some unique and creative loyalty programs. Its clients include Arby’s, Cracker Barrell, Getty Images, Kimpton Hotels, Palm Restaurants, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Spanx and Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals.

Such customer loyalty programs for companies with a large numbers of clients have become possible with the introduction of computers with expansive memory. Data managers are now able to gather information on customer buying habits and preferences. They are then able to analyze and dissect that data.

Using individualized profiles, a retailer can design a rewards program tailored to the specific tastes and interests of these customers. The application of intelligent software design, combined with powerful computers, allows a retailer to reach a much larger audience than possible with other approaches.

Over the years, Rubin has developed some core beliefs which he feels are essential in developing a good loyalty program:

  • “Solution Neutral”: No one size fits all. Each company has unique qualities, and these should be focus of effective program.
  • Brand Matters: Each company spends a great deal to create a favorable brand image. A good loyalty program seeks to create a meaningful relationship between the customer and the brand.
  • Science and Art: While gathering and collecting data is largely scientific, interpreting that data is an artful skill based on years of experience and insight.

During his professional career, Rubin has stayed abreast of the data gathering techniques employed by Israeli Intelligence Agencies for defense purposes. He believes some of these principles and techniques can be used in his own business.

More on Rubin

Rubin currently serves on the American Israel Chamber’s Board of Directors and is a member of its Executive Committee. He has also served as a board member for the ADL, Or Hadash Synagogue and the Weber School.

He lives in Sandy Springs with his wife and two daughters. In addition to his passion for family and marketing, he enjoys running and sporting events.

BY AL SHAMS / AJT Contributor

Al Shams is a Sandy Springs resident a former CPA and an investment professional with more than 35 years industry experience.