AdLib: The smarter ways to buy loyalty
The days when brand owners rewarded customer loyalty with coffee stamps and money-off vouchers are no more. Marketers must find new ways of connecting with what Feargal Quinn called the 'boomerang customer' more imaginatively. How do you convince consumers to stick with a brand?
Leanne Papaioannou runs the Chilli Pepper agency and knows a thing or two about loyalty marketing. She says the new focus on incentivising consumers are points for action (PFA) programmes. They reward consumers for taking action rather than just for what they spend, to engage consumers beyond the everyday transaction.
PFA starts with filling out surveys and signing up for emails, following on social media and commenting on blog posts. Some brand owners go deeper, blending the loyalty scheme in with healthy habits developed by mobile apps to motivate consumers.
Papaioannou says participation is the Holy Grail for loyalty. Programmes help consumers make better life decisions: they're not just enjoying the brands more, they're living, eating and even driving safer. US pharmacy giant Walgreens uses PFA by combining desirable habits and an app to reward customers for taking action.
Walgreens' Balance Rewards Programme (BRP) rewards customer not just for purchases, but for positive life choices and staying active. For instance, points are given for monitoring blood glucose and quitting smoking. Walking, cycling or running earns members 20 points for every mile.
The BRP app monitors distances travelled and workouts and customers can redeem their points for money-off in store. In South Africa, financial services provider Discovery Health launched its Discovery Vitality (DV) app. DV tracks fitness and training, maintains running groups through social networks and registers points for lifestyle decisions.
It also taps into healthier choices when customers do their weekly shop. Members get rewards on over 6,000 products seen as enhancing shoppers' health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. DV points earned can be redeemed for money-off vouchers with cinemas, fashion stores and restaurants.
Samsung ran a pilot launch for its S-Drive loyalty programme in Australia. Scare-based safety ads hadn't worked in reaching young motorists, so Samsung switched to a carrot-based strategy. A specialised phone cradle and app were given to young drivers, which automatically switched the phone to safe driving mode, allowing only voice commands for texts and calls. It logged safe driving distances and rewarded the motorist with points which could be converted into product vouchers.
With over 3m safe kilometres travelled, accidents fell by a quarter and fatalities among 17-25 year olds were reduced by 20pc. Young motorists improved their habits and a more meaningful relationship was formed between Samsung and its customers.
Nike was quick off the mark with its Nike+ Training Club app, used by over 18m people worldwide. The app tracks activity, connects customers to friends and coaches and has links to social media. Celeb workouts and endorsements promoted the app with virals featuring comedian Kevin Hart and tennis star Serena Williams.
Papaioannou says today's best loyalty programmes have a broader take on customer relationships. They're there to help, not to pester or ask too much of customers. They engender goodwill and deepen the brand-customer relationship.
* A new category has been added to the Sharks creative festival taking place in Kinsale next month - Irish agency of the year. Festival chairman Peter Brady of Windmill Lane Pictures says in an increasingly global marketplace, it's important to highlight Irish work.
Susan Hoffman, global executive creative director, Wieden + Kennedy Portland, is this year's honorary president. Creative Social have curated the speaker programme and there's a strong line-up of Irish judges. Roisin Keown, DDFH&B and Dylan Cotter, Irish International, sit on the film jury.
Lynda Smith, Epsilon and Paul Holmes, Red Rage, will judge the film craft entries. Steve Simpson is on the design jury. Fiona Field, Mediaworks, heads up the media jury and Thinkhouse's Jane McDaid will judge print. Entries close on September 5.
* Eamon Clarkin has joined Kay McCarthy's planning agency MCCP as consultant strategy director. Clarkin has wide planning experience, most notably with Irish International, where his clients included Guinness and Barry's Tea. MCCP clients include AIB, Bewley's, Eir and Kerry Group. Clarkin's sign up follows the recent departure from MCCP of planning director Shane Doyle, who's now Core Media's group strategy boss.
* Nissan has parted company with Boys and Girls and has hired the creative agency's co-founder and Initiative media consultant Fiona Scott to manage a pitch. Before moving to Boys and Girls, Nissan was with Leo Burnett.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: email@example.com