Building a brand’s relationship is similar to that of a budding romance between two lovers.
Many global brands have shipped in and started up their loyalty schemes, but then failed to follow through with any type of ongoing brand romancing. It’s all rather like a quick holiday fling, and then a drifting goodbye.
If you want to get a successful result, you need to take your step carefully. Here are five tips for getting a blooming loyalty scheme right:
1. Never over-complicate things
It’s not always possible to get rich, accurate transactional data across every purchase point to give dynamic tiers and segments. So take things slowly and get the basics right, such as a welcome message, sent within a week of a join-up, and at least an ongoing quarterly contact. Remember, nobody likes to be left hanging after a first date.
2. Involve staff during the sign-up
A well-trained ground staff can make all the difference. A bit like a big brother or sister, they can either make a relationship smooth and enjoyable, or make sure it never gets started. Make sure they know the ins and outs of the program, and keep interest by recognizing and rewarding staff who deliver quality as well as quantity of members.
Try to create a complete creative revamp both in-store and on e-communications and reward your best performing shop staff on a regular basis. We guarantee you will see an increase in member sign-ups and of course an ongoing “brandmance” in no time.
3. Give consumers an emotional hook
It sounds obvious that we should make our customers about feel special. The fact is, more often than not, we forget. It’s not all about discounts and rewards. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the success. Make sure loyalty members are the first to know about important news, product previews, early chances to buy, launch party invites, etc.
4. Be creative
Forget the baseball caps, the key rings, pens, T-shirts, and please keep the thermal mugs. These are lazy rewards and none of them are romantic. Try and think of rewards that will set your brand apart and hit an emotional chord. With some commoditised products or services such as fuel, or travel, the rewards have to work even harder.
There are many loyalty relationships that offer start-up gifts, which by virtue of economics, are less than exciting. What if instead of a lackluster gift, a small donation could be given to a charity, and then ongoing rewards could be donations to that same chosen charity? This might provide the kind of emotional relationship attachment brands find hard to create. People like to feel good about doing good things.
5. Consider your platforms
Finally, you’re in a relationship. Still, the hard work is not over. If you don’t communicate, things can go wrong pretty swiftly. Maybe you have the right things to say, but the message is literally just not getting through.
We can push messages out via a multitude of channels: email (probably around 80% remain unopened), SMS (not very creative), or direct mail and telephone (both expensive). Try using your budget with impact. Mix around the channels to maximise the chances of getting the message through. Consider using Facebook’s target audiences product to reach consumers who didn’t open their emails. At the end of the day, keep communicating, or it could be a silent divorce.