It’s fair to say that brands across Ireland have come to the reality that throwing points and rewards at customers in the hope that it will keep them coming back, and make them more loyal, is not the quick fix that they had hoped for.

It is therefore vital that any loyalty initiative that is implemented by brands, is highly relevant to your core customers, authentically executed, and offers customers exclusive access to carefully selected rewards and benefits – all of these play a fundamental role in building customer loyalty, trust and long-standing relationships.

With so much to consider and to help you with your thinking, here are some take-outs to consider when developing your tailored loyalty and reward solutions.

  1. Support: Work closely with internal teams across all business areas so they understand the benefits of the loyalty strategy and how it impacts them. It is critical to get their buy-in and continued support throughout the fact finding, development and implementation processes.
  2. Knowledge: Use internal data and profiling experts to unlock insights into who your core customers are, their life stages, needs and experiences, and how they engage and interact with the brand. This knowledge is fundamental in developing a bespoke loyalty strategy and a selection of rewards that are tailored to your customers.
  3. The Customer: Customers are King in this process and the loyalty strategy must be customer-centric and built around what customers truly want. Invite your core customer segments to focus groups, get their feedback, understand what loyalty mechanic would benefit them most, and the type of rewards that will inspire positive customer behaviour change. Customers will thank you for inviting them to play a core role in developing their future of the brand.
  4. Strategy: A critical step is to take time out to develop a commercially viable and robust loyalty strategy outlining your objectives, the mechanic of the loyalty solution, how rewards will be communicated to customers, how it will drive large scale participation, and how this level of engagement will benefit the business.
  5. Rewards Mix: Develop and introduce a balanced rewards mix based on customer feedback and their loyalty triggers. You can introduce balanced rewards such as;
  • Core Business Rewards – Linked to the brand offering, e.g. Hertz car hire offer free child car seats, and British Airways offer ways to get free upgrades.
  • Partner Rewards – Relevant to both the brand and the core customer segments, their life stages and needs, e.g. Tesco, the food retailer, give Clubcard members family days out at Dublin Zoo.
  • CSR Rewards – It is always a good approach for brands to link with local charities and offer their customers ways to contribute towards a good cause through the brand.
  • Tangible Rewards – Quick ways for customers to access valuable rewards and perks, e.g. Dunnes Stores send VALUEclub customers money-off cash vouchers, based on their earned points.
  • Experiential Rewards – A great way to get customers to engage with the brand through money can’t buy memorable experiences, e.g. the MasterCard World Programme invites customers to join them at VIP Priceless events.

There has been a huge shift in the customers’ perception of what value means to them, therefore, brands need to review their current loyalty strategies and reward mix in order to find more innovative ways to drive participation – the holy grail of loyalty success!