In the 1990’s, the modern-day loyalty programme was the innovation, but more than a decade later, is it anything more than brand hygiene? Five years ago, Andrew Hall, the Managing Director of Hero, a strategic marketing and advertising agency, saw this writing on the wall. When one of his major clients, presented their challenge of actively engaging clients they hadn’t connected with for some time, Andrew turned to Hero’s creative and tech teams to come up with a new loyalty idea.
With the advantage of the client’s willingness to partner, Hero could embark on a shared journey to discover opportunities. “We wanted something that would really engage the customer of a big corporate because it delivered a completely delightful experience,” Andrew says, “It needed to be digital because that’s where today’s customers want to engage; and what we have now is a wonderfully niche approach to loyalty that has been finely honed over these past five years to work seamlessly and consistently.”
Hero had created a digital platform that engaged with clients, offered them value for their loyalty and left them with a great brand experience. It was a niched approach that Hero has termed a “surprise and delight” approach to loyalty programs. Nimble, efficient and effective.
Integrating email, SMS, websites and real-world delivery-to-the-door fulfilment, the Hero Engagement Platform provides a compelling brand experience that is evident in the audit trail. “When it came to evaluating delivery, we were pleased to find that we had even exceeded our own high expectations.” Andrew continues: “Over the past five years the platform has enjoyed a consistent average of an 82% click through rate with over 90% of those following through and selecting a handpicked gift for themselves.” As the campaign leads the customer into a warm space, there’s plenty of opportunity to engage further and embark on a journey of a richer relationship between a big organisation and the individual client.
As the Hero Engagement Platform aggregates customer data it can serve as a lite-CRM system with the benefit of being particularly nimble. Andrews points out: “We’ve custom-built the platform for big corporates, and while the technology is very robust, the system is quick and flexible. Live data and dashboards give the corporate client the ability to monitor and gauge the success of any campaign as well as the benefits of live insights.
Another vital component to the success of this loyalty approach is the selection of the gifts on offer, and of course, the fulfilment. In order to delight, the gifts need to be aspirational and special with a high perceived value, rather than an actual one. We paid close attention to partnering with highly selected gifting partners, such as Carol Boyes and Le Creusset. It is vital that a customer’s gift choice is always available and arrives at their front door within the designated delivery date. “We’ve just entered into an exciting agreement with an online retailer to provide the Hero Engagement Platform with electronic gift vouchers, a great way to surprise and delight a larger and younger audience. The platform empowers clients to engage in a meaningful way that enables them to curate their customised gift offering as they discover more about their customer’s real-time lifestyle and preferences.”
At a time, when big corporates are grappling with how to engage with highly informed, highly mobile and very flighty customers, it may well be a good idea to look at innovative ways to disrupt the well-established expectations of their loyalty programme by considering a niche approach that not only delivers novelty but enhances their actual business intelligence.