Last autumn, Foresight Factory conducted a piece of research called Brand Magic, where we used our predictive trends data to explore the drivers of brand advocacy. We unveiled the findings of this live on stage at our annual global conference, Trending 2017, to gasps of surprise.
As well as casting doubts on the impact of initiatives like CSR programmes on overall brand health, one of the key (and somewhat controversial) findings was that members of customer loyalty schemes are 10% less likely to be strong advocates of the brand than non-members. This pointed to a potential disconnect between the design of customer loyalty programmes and the relationship that consumers expect to have with brands.
We dug deeper and spent the next couple of months taking a detailed look at the design and mechanics of customer loyalty programmes from leading brands across sectors such as, retail to banking, travel to leisure, cosmetics to autos and more. We sought to understand how the typical array of points, tiers and rewards measure up to consumers’ underlying desires and perceptions of value. The answer, in short, is that they don’t. Loyalty programmes in their current guise are costly to administer and invite consumers to evaluate brands through a series of short-term transactions, at the expense of evocative brand storytelling. So whilst they deliver on short-term KPIs, this may risk overall brand positioning. A far more powerful lever for brands to pull, is the customer’s desire for experiences.
The full findings of our analysis have been published to our subscription platform, FFonline, but we wanted to make a snapshot of our findings available more broadly to kickstart a conversation within the loyalty marketing community.
Interested to find out more? You can download the sample report here, and we’ll be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 21st June. We’ll be delighted to elaborate on the key themes in more detail and look forward to having a dialogue about the implications for brands.