Hey folks, welcome to ‘The Loyalty Point’ with Kelly and Anthony. What we thought we would do today is, in the spirit of the World Cup and our Winnipeg Jets recently having their great run in the playoffs, we wanted to talk about how brands can take loyalty programs to the next level and really build consumer engagement in the same way that sports organizations do with their fans.
The loyalty ‘point’ here today is, how do you really drive that long-term engagement and build a rabid consumer base like fans?
So Kell, what do you think?
Well, I think there are three points, there’s the beginning, the middle, the end, and that seems extremely obvious.
First, second, and third period?
First, second, and third period. Three-pointer coming to you from the point guys.
The first point starts with how you engage your audience to come in and be part of your organization in the beginning. If you’re extremely complex, you lose them, if it’s too easy, they get bored. So, there’s really an important part where they must understand the brand and what the value proposition is that they are getting for following you.
If you’re not such a great team, there’s got to be something else, if you’re a good team, sometimes that’s just about enough.
The middle point is all about how you sustain that consumer and have them actively participate in your brand. You must be always nurturing and always providing value, so that they’re always there and it’s not a one-way relationship.
The end point is the value proposition you expect them to get to from a lifetime value perspective. You’re always asking them to continually buy your products, but what is the end goal for that consumer? Is there a kind of ultimate peak milestone that they get to that makes them the ultimate fan where they are sharing the largest part of their wallet with you, but you’re also giving back in the biggest way to them?
I think I can also look at sports as an analogy. Think of the product that is on the ice, a good team that can draw a large and passionate fan-base. In terms of a brand, if you have a good product, then you can obviously build upon that. Think about Apple, think about Starbucks, they can almost not fail. Oh, and Tim Hortons, I guess we are Canadians, eh?
Do you want to hold the cup?
No thanks, I don’t drink coffee.
Also, beyond the product on ice, think about what it is that organization is doing to engage their fans in between periods and plays. That is all about how you are rewarding, how you’re getting the consumer to be interested in your brand beyond the use of the product itself.
That’s an interesting point, as the purchase is seen as the most important part of a rewards program, for the brand. We talk about, depending on the kind of brand you are, your brand’s purchase cycle. Do you have a long purchase cycle like a vehicle or a short purchase cycle like a chocolate bar? In between those cycles of purchases, is the most critical part from an engagement perspective.
If you’re lucky enough that your product gets purchased every couple of days, you don’t need to do as much in between those cycles. Whereas, in a lot of the products that we have worked on, where the purchase cycles may be 30 days or longer, there is a point in that time that you must be in the face of your consumer, both asking and providing.
Think of a hockey game when it goes to a commercial break, we all assume that everybody is watching the commercials. In reality, if you’re inside that building, you’re being engaged by that business; whether its games, giveaways, or experiences. So, you must have that same mentality with your brand and run an always-on program that won’t be turned off in between purchases.
That’s the loyalty program, right? Rewards programs are trying to engage a consumer in between those purchase transactions. So, good loyalty programs, they keep your interest and you see value beyond the actual use of the product or service. Just like how your favorite team engages you when you’re in that stadium and provides an experience that adds to the product on the ice.
Do THAT for your customers in between purchases and you can build a passionate consumer base like sports fans, maybe even like Winnipeg Jets fans.