Understanding Challenges & Opportunities
Since the duration was a few weeks, once the design brief was articulated, we started with desk research to understand challenges with the existing loyalty program and doing a benchmarking exercise to understand loyalty program landscape in the US.
Keeping these challenges in mind, we started to create experience principles that would guide the new loyalty program.
Creating Experience Principles
- An omni-channel approach
In the last 5 years, most of the leading brands have introduced their loyalty programs to digital platforms. In today’s world having a digital presence of a loyalty program has become a baseline.
Thus our first recommendation was to build an omni-channel digital presence for the loyalty program. A large part of it was to build a native application for mobile devices.
2. An integrated ecosystem
A standalone loyalty program would fail to keep the user engaged, it needs to be integrated into the brand’s ecosystem. In our case, the brand had different micro-sites for the loyalty program, offers, articles, events, etc. Not just that different product lines sometimes had their own microsite. It was painful for the customers to remember about these micro-sites.
With the new loyalty program there was a need to bring all these digital assets into one place and create a robust ecosystem.
Taking the example of Marriott’s reward program, the mobile app is not just for loyalty points but also provides features such as lounge access, mobile check-in, services etc. And it is a single reward program for almost 29 sub-brands owned by Marriot and its partners.
3. Transactional vs Experiential Rewards
When was the last time you became loyal to a brand just because you received a discount? Loyalty is not bought, its earned over time.
Transactional rewards like discounts and offers have a short-term impact on customers and can fail to build brand loyalty. However, customers are more likely to remember a brand after getting a delightful experience.
Taking the example of Starbuck’s reward program in the US, it not only provides great offers and occasional free drinks but it also gives enrolled customers ability to place an order through the mobile app and skip the queue for collecting the order.