Sustainability is both an urgent and an important focus for businesses, and one that loyalty marketers can play an important role in supporting. But how?
In today’s podcast, we’re joined by Isobel Finlayson, Sustainability Lead for Mando Connect to share their ideas, insights, research and suggestions on practical ways that loyalty marketers can help.
We showcase some examples of global best practice in sustainability led by loyalty professionals, with examples in both retail and aviation, and we discuss eight specific tactics you can consider implementing to leverage the power of your loyalty programme to address this critical concern for both consumer and companies alike.
Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.
This show is sponsored by Comarch, a global provider of innovative software products and business services. Comarch’s platform is used by leading brands across all industries to drive their customer loyalty. Powered by AI and machine learning, Comarch technologies allow you to build, run and manage personalized loyalty programs and product offers with ease. For more information, please visit comarch.com.
Hello, and welcome to episode 243 of Let’s Talk Loyalty, focusing on the all important topic of how loyalty program owners can support the sustainability agenda of our businesses. As we all know all over the world, consumers are expecting brands to lead by example, when it comes to behaving in sustainable ways. And I was really impressed when our friends in Mando Connect reached out to me recently and offered to discuss this topic in the context of how the loyalty industry in particular can get more actively involved. They also offered to plant a hundred trees in the name of Let’s Talk Loyalty as a thank you for us, featuring them on the show as part of their million tree pledge. So with that added incentive, how could I say no? I hope you enjoy this episode and my conversation with Isobel Finlayson Sustainability Lead for Mando Connect, which includes lots of practical examples, how loyalty programs can support sustainability.
So Izzy, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.
Hi Paula. Thanks for having me.
Oh, it’s wonderful. Izzy. We didn’t get to meet recently at The International Loyalty Awards. Although I know that’s where this whole idea came about, about the importance of sustainability as a word I obviously can’t even say very well, but something that loyalty practitioners increasingly need to be thinking about, so a wonderful conversation ahead, um, really interested to hear all of the work that you’re doing with Mando connect. But before we get into all of that Izzy, I always ask, as you know, uh, what is your favorite loyalty program of the moment?
Oh, such a difficult question. As I think there are so many good examples out there at the moment. Um, but if I had to choose, I would go with Costa Club, um, from Costa Coffee. Um, which is the UK’s largest coffee shop chain. Um, I think it’s a great example of a loyalty program, who is rewarding its customers, uh, for their use of sustainable and environmentally friendly behaviors. Um, so members can earn free coffees twice as quickly. Um, if they use a reusable cup, um, which takes just four purchases versus kind of eight purchases, if you were using without a reusable coffee cup. So it’s a really lovely, tangible benefit. And the app is simple to use. It’s digital, it’s visually engaging. Yeah. In terms your collector tokens green when you are.
Yeah. So a real nice visual reminder of, of kind of you being green and doing your bit for the environment.
That’s a brilliant idea, Izzy. Uh, I wasn’t aware of that and I know you are based obviously in the UK where Costa is, as you said, a market leader, Um, and when we talked before, what I really loved, you were telling me was the importance of, you know, something that’s very tangible.
Yeah. So again, as loyalty professionals, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s all about driving, you know, profitable behavior change for the business, but actually this idea of making it profitable for the member and in such a simple way, I think that’s fantastic.
Yeah, absolutely. I think they’ve done a fantastic job of weaving in sustainability into something that’s quite user friendly and easy to understand for customers.
Amazing. Amazing. And I think what that does as well Izzy, is you’re absolutely right, the visual reminder. And then I guess it brings in the frequency piece as well. So every single time you bring your reusable mug, you’re getting that benefit. It’s it’s really, really lovely.
Great. So listen, why did you guys decide? Uh, as I said, I know Charlie, she’s been on the show before, so, you know, Mando Connect is doing some extraordinary work and won some incredible awards of course, with your clients, um, at The International Loyalty Awards, but you’re literally putting a stake in the ground, I guess, in terms of, you know, sustainability being a key priority for every loyalty professional. So give us a bit of context around why you’re putting such emphasis on it, Izzy.
Yes, we are. We’re we’re flying the green flag. Um, but, well, the reason why I feel so passionate about this is because, every year, Mando Connect, uh, publishes a white paper around what Brits want from loyalty programs. And every year kind of sustainability comes out in the research and I think excitingly this year is where we’ve seen the biggest kind of shift, um, in attitudes towards sustainability. And it actually came out as one of our biggest key insights from the research with 71% of Brits thinking loyalty programs should help people live more sustainably or support the environment. That’s a huge stat, right? Um, Yeah. Yeah. So for us, you know, we see the obvious benefits. It builds emotional loyalty and also brand advocate advocacy. Yeah. Um, whilst whilst also saving the planet.
I, I totally agree. And what I think is happening is, and you know, I’d love to hear your view on this. So I think, you know, businesses are very clear and certainly pre-COVID, I think it was perhaps one of the top kind of marketing objectives for many companies, you know, to find a solution around that. I think COVID did distract a lot of people for obvious reasons, but I definitely feel we’re, we’re getting back on track with this level of focus. But to me, I think the shift that’s happening, and it sounds like exactly what you’re finding in the research is it’s becoming a responsibility and an opportunity that loyalty professionals can lead rather than having it maybe on, you know, the CEO’s agenda, which let’s be honest, you know, the CEO’s taking care of everything. you know, So we’ve got the believers, you know,
I agree. And I think it presents quite an exciting opportunity for loyalty marketers as well. I think we’re all probably quite aware that sometimes the loyalty program within the marketing mix sometimes comes later within the kind of marketing strategy. Sometimes it can be harder to kind of get alignment with brand and, and kind of, um, within internal kind of key the key stakeholders. Yeah. Um, so sustainability is something that. Obviously needs to be part of the whole program, um, the actual company itself. Yeah. Um, but as you say, it’s a real opportunity for the loyalty program. Yeah. To really try that flag and, and kind of actually, um, get the engagement off the back of it and, and almost be the vehicle, um, to promote sustainability, um, for the company. So yeah, I think it could become, yeah, a really valuable lever for loyalty marketers.
You’re absolutely right. And again, I’m still actually smiling about the Costa Coffee example because again, not living in the UK, I don’t always hear about these wonderful ideas. We did have a great example. I’ll just give a shout out recently to, um, Etihad Airways who are using their Etihad Guest Program. Just a really nice one for anyone listening. If you didn’t hear all about their Conscious Choices Campaign, it’s exactly the insights you’re talking about. Wonderful. For me, actually, it’s obviously happening in THe Middle East region. But I guess the reason I suppose I wanted to, to go through some ideas with you today is he was exactly because I think everybody understands the need, and again, coming out into, um, you know, latter half of 2022, hopefully with a bit more head space, certainly planning ahead to 2023. But I think what a lot of us tend to struggle with is how can we be more sustainable? Like what kind of ideas do you think? And I know you’ve written about this, so would love to get some ideas on how loyalty program owners can start to, uh, drive that sustainability agenda with their, with their members, you know,
Yeah, absolutely. And the good news is, is that there’s so many ways in which you can do this. Um, so yeah, as you, as you said, Paula, um, we identified kind of eight key tactics, um, and we put these all through research as well, um, as to kind of, what are the best ways to kind of approach sustainability within your program? So. Coming in at number one, um, 44% of Brits said they want programs to reward sustainable and environmentally friendly behaviors. So obviously Costa is a great example of that with the reusable coffee cup scheme. Um, but we’ve also got some fantastic examples. Um, with my John Lewis. So John Lewis, one of the biggest, um, department store chains in the UK here. Yeah. Um, we’ve got a fantastic, um, reuse, recycle campaign called The Beauty Cycle Initiative. Um, it’s exclusive to members only. Um, you bring in five empty products and then you get to enjoy five pounds of beauty. Very simple. Um, to understand, again, a nice, tangible benefit back, um, for customers, they feel like they’re doing good, but they’re also being rewarded, um, for their conscious choices.
I really like that Izzy, um, you’ve reminded me here and it might be a local initiative, but Khiel’s Cosmetics, which I’m sure many of, you know, that kind of brand as well. They certainly, um, told my husband about that. And now he’s avidly collecting empty jars, which he never did before. And he’s lived in the middle east a long time Izzy, and there hasn’t been a responsible, uh, way to recycle actually in this part of the world for a long time. Like, it was quite shocking to me. We only got recycled bins, for example, in my building about, uh, two months ago in 2022. So that’ll give you an idea that sustainability hasn’t been prioritized in this region. Uh, but I love that John Lewis is making that available for, for all beauty brands across the whole department store.
Yes. I think you raise a good point there as well. I think the global standards for sustainability very much varies region to region. I think obviously I’m talking very much about the UK. Yeah.
Um, and I think here, uh, as we kind of talked about at the beginning, it is almost becoming hygiene factor of, of programs sort of expectation, um, rather than, you know, something to do, but you know, well aware that, you know, in, in other countries they might be at the very beginning of their journey. Um, but you know, we’re all, we’re all, um, you know, it’s good to start from wherever you’re starting. Totally. So the second tactic, um, that we, um, researched was 43% of Brits said, programs should offer rewards that help members live more sustainably. Um, so a couple of great examples of that in the UK is TK Maxx Loyalty Program, which is actually TJX, um, in the US. Okay. It’s called, it’s called Treasure. And, um, again, very, um, easy to understand mechanic. You make five purchases, Um, and then you receive a reward and you can choose from one of four rewards. Um, and one, um, of those four rewards. Are always kind of eco, um, or a conscious reward. Nice. So really nice examples of helping people live more sustainably with reusable, wax wraps instead of cling film, um, Ebos to encourage kind of B production, um, reusable, makeup pads, reusable hair brushes, some really, um, examples there. Cool. Yeah, really nice. And then we’ve also got, um, H&M, um, who I think for a long time have been really actually pushing this conversation around kind of conscious choices, um, through the H&M Conscious Range. Um, they. You know or have the kind of donate in-store, um, uh, activity. Um, but they have now kind of built that into their loyalty program. So you earn conscious points for conscious choices. So bring in your clothes, using a reusable shopper bag, um, and purchasing from their H&M Conscious Range will earn you points, um, in their program.
And that’s also not one that I’m, I’ve seen through a loyalty context as well, Izzy, again, they’re not just executing it in the middle east that I’ve seen, I’ve seen it in-store on the products. And that has been very reassuring actually, because I think we agreed fair that, um, fashion has often been, you know, one of the biggest sectors that unfortunately has contributed, uh, you know, largely due to customer demand and, you know, all of us wanting to have pretty things to wear. Um, but just, uh, I don’t know if this is, um, is that entirely, for example, the entire loyalty proposition, or does it sit alongside a core program?
It does sit alongside a core program. Okay. So, um, they will have kind of your, um, exclusive discounts, which is sort of 15% off for members, um, instead of 10%. Um, okay. You know, so that kind of sort of tiering, um, yes. You know, if I was being critical, they could probably do even more, Yeah. And maybe it kind of bring it a little bit more to the forefront. Um, they, they do have the standard kind of prizes, um, that you would expect to see as well as the prize draws. Um, so, you know, could they probably bring sustainability a little bit more into the prize draws and, and offers as well? I think so.
Okay. Okay. And, and yes, they’re also, I think doing a lot more than most of the other high street fashion retailers. Yeah. I would say so. I think we give them a nod to that. And I guess once they start building momentum, um, that’s the easy thing then to, to educate people. Because I do think there is a bit of a lag as well between sometimes what, you know, consumers say they want. And then, you know, what they actually do when they’re in-store. So do you see that in your own work as well Izzy?
Absolutely. I think we talked about this didn’t we Paula that, for a while, I think there has been a big gap between intent and action. Yeah. And we often see that in research that people come out saying, oh, you know, I than that. And I’m gonna do all of these lovely charitable things and, you know, totally. But I do think we’re with sustainability. I should say. I think we are at this tipping point where it’s almost becoming separate to other purpose driven causes. It’s almost kind of, because of the urgency of the climate crisis that we are in at the moment, it can’t be ignored. Um, and it needs to, it really does, really does need to be addressed by all companies.
For sure. And I know there was a, a high profile example in a positive way, as well Izzy, you told me about with the, uh, the, the hit show. And I hate to say that, but Love Island. Yeah. Which is not my style of TV. But again, given that at the same time, it’s sometimes addictive when you just kind of find yourself watching it. So, um, apologies to people for that, um, little admition. But, uh, just for people who haven’t, uh, seen what Love Island have done again in the UK market, is you, would you maybe tell us about their sustainability, uh, choice?
Yes. I mean, this was big news, um, in, in a, in a lovely, positive way. So, um, Love Island very publicly broke up with fast fashion. So historically. They have always had a fast fashion sponsor who provides all of the clothes for all of the contestants. Okay. Um, and they decided to move away from, I Saw It First, um, which is the, the kind of fast fashion company here in the UK. Okay. And they made the bold choice to, uh, move to eBay. And so all of the contestants are now dressed in pre-loved items. Wow. And it has gone down brilliantly. And I think something that I didn’t mention at the beginning was that stats around Brits wanting, um, to live more sustainably. What we actually saw when we dug deeper in that data, was that younger people more than anyone yeah. Really wants this. So 78% of, Gen Zed, um, really thought that loyalty program should be offering that. And obviously Love Island really targets that kind of Gen Zed audience. Um, A very smart move. And, um, one of, I think, um, one example to follow, because I think there is always this juxtaposition with gen Zed. They obviously want to, fit in. They want to, um, look on trends. And obviously just with the kind of available disposable income they have, they’re not always able to buy kind of ethically and, and consciously. So that’s kind of why sometimes they do end up going towards, um, some of these fast fashion brands, but with the emergence of people like eBay and Depop, who are starting to make kind of fashionable, trendy things, more affordable, um, it’s sort of opening up, um, those kind of conscious purchases, um, more for that generation.
Absolutely. And I think those demographic insights are extremely important Izzy, and hopefully we’ll be able to get some access to your research. Um, For everybody who is obviously listening to the show because I saw some other stats as well. Um, around, for example, there’s also a female bias that you found. So tell us a bit about the, the other kind of insights that you got on the, you know, the propensity or interest and where it’s coming from.
Absolutely. Yeah. So, um, more women, um, 77% versus 69%, um, thought loyalty programs should help live, uh, people live more sustainably, um, and also ABC one consumers, um, 76% versus 65% C to D. So ABC one is, um, the more kind affluent. um, uh, sort of, uh, consumers within living within the UK.
Yeah. And the ones with children as well. I think I remember reading.
Yes. Yeah, yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was really interesting. So again, I think that, um, what we saw was people that have, um, children at home, um, are more likely to, um, want to live more sustainably which I think that’s the old, uh, pester power from the children. telling them, come on, mom and dad, you know, we should be recycling more. Or, yeah, I certainly found that when I was moved in with my parents during lockdown and sort of having a weekly fight with my stepdad around the recycling bits, he couldn’t understand it, but it’s a sort of generational thing.
It’s. Not more important, I think for the younger generations to, yeah. To, to live like this.
And I hadn’t made that connection, actually my assumption around that was that the parents themselves were kind of developing a conscience, um, more and more through, you know, I suppose realizing, I suppose just the, the very human way that, you know, once you are a parent, you start caring about that child’s future so much more. Yeah. So I guess it’s a mix of both, but you’re absolutely right. Pester Power is good, you know.
Yes, absolutely. Brilliant. Go on then. Tell us a few more, sorry. I think I interrupted your, your, um, your ideas.
No, no, no. A really, really great conversation, I think. Yeah. The third way. Um, so 39% thought supporting environmental causes mattered. And you know, I think traditionally this is an area where loyalty programs have done very well in. Um, so this is the kind of enabling members. To donate points to environmental charities or making actual, um, donations on customers behalf. Um, we’ve got a, a lovely example of that in the UK, which is a supermarket chain, um, called The Coop and, um, it’s, that’s essentially the core benefit to their program. So going back to your earlier point, Paula, this is actually an example of a program who really does have sustainability at its core. Um, so for every pound you spend two P will go back to the member and then Coop will also spend two P on the donation to support community organizations and local charities. So a, yeah, a really lovely, again, simple mechanic, um, and message to understand what a benefit for the customer, but also, um, for your community.
Yeah, yeah. You’re right. Izzy. I think, um, the charity opportunity was probably one of the first that loyalty program owners realized they could do for their members. Yeah. Um, uh, so I definitely think there’s a lot of awareness around that. It seems to me. That there’s like a benefit where, you know, certain organizations do offer like a choice, for example, to the member where they can choose where to, I suppose, give their support to. And this simple example that always comes to mind for me is, you know, I know Tesco for example, had, you know, little plastic coins, which were just, you could drop them in to a particular, you know, chosen charity, uh, which was, again, a lovely, simple, visual way to say, you know, who do you wanna support? So just in terms of principles around sustainability, do you also find that, that, you know, idea that the member can choose where the kind of support goes to? Do you, do you find that’s important?
Yes, absolutely. I think, um, that’s a great example, actually, allowing people to physically put a token in a bin again, it gives you that wonderful. Ooh, um, moment when you finish your shop. Um, I think the choice is actually really important, um, because you need to, it, it, it sort of goes back to what’s important with loyalty marketing and it’s that kind of, um, personalization offering choice,
Um, making it feel like it’s my choice. Um, and actually we, you know, but there are a couple of nice, um, new platforms out there. One of them is called Toucan, um, which is essentially like a charity aggregator. Okay. Um, which you can almost plug in and you can allow your members to go into their platform and choose any charity they have literally listed pretty much all of the UK’s charities. Wow. They were also on dragons, if you’re a UK listener, um, they , they got their funding through that. Great. Yeah. But you know, it it’s like with everything, like we see with the food aggregators Deliveroo really just eat, etc. People want choice at the end of the day and it needs to matter to them. Yeah. Um, So yes. To answer your question, um, choices is very important and, and definitely, yeah, a key factor.
Absolutely. Yeah, no, you’re right. I think we’re all, you know, affected and touched in different ways by, by different, um, ideas and, and areas that, you know, some people might want cancer support. Some people might wanna support the dog’s home or whatever. So I know that’s a little. Than than sustainability, but I do think that key insight, and that’s what I love about this show actually is the idea of, you know, getting your expertise and insights on the key principles that people need to be thinking about because there is no one size fits all. Um, so, so I love that example. So thank you so much for that.
Great. Okay. So what other ideas have you got for us?
Yeah. So, um, number four, tactic number four. So 33% said programs should offer rewards from brands that help support sustainable causes. Um, and actually 59% said they prefer brands that are sustainable. So we talked around the Love Island partnership earlier. That’s a great example of, you know, eBay coming in. They’re obviously fantastic in terms of sustainability and their values. Another great example of this is Pret A Manger. Um, so again, that’s actually, they do have a presence, um, in the US. Um, and they have got a charity within Pret called The Pret Foundation. Okay. And, um, they, uh, they donate untold food every night to shelters and charities across the UK. Wow. And so far they’ve donated 6 million food items globally. Um, In the last year and so they are simultaneously kind of saving waste food waste, um, and also working to break, um, the cycle of homelessness. Wow. Um, so I think, yeah, just a, a really lovely example of, um, a brand that’s really helping to support sustainable causes.
Yeah. And I can’t remember the exact statistic about the amount of food that, um, you know, is wasted on the planet, but it is something shocking. I’m going to say it was something around 33% the last time I researched it, it’s actually a huge issue, you know? I mean, it’s totally the definition of unsustainable, If we’re wasting so much food, you know.
Yeah, and I think quite rightly it should be the players within the food, um, and, and drink industry that are really stepping up here. Yeah. Um, little as well. Another supermarket chain, um, here in the UK, they have some pretty, uh, impressive and kind of aggressive targets around food waste and then carbon emissions. So, they have committed to cutting kind of 40% of carbon emissions, um, through food waste, which, which, which is a huge number. Um, but again, fantastic to see that, um, from these kind of big players.
Absolutely. And I know that was another peer tactics as well, is the, you know, this whole idea of offsetting carbon and the role of the loyalty program. Being able to, I suppose, facilitate that.
Yes, absolutely. And, um, yeah, this is a, this is an interesting one because, um, so it was about one in three felt programs should offset carbon and, um, 71% are concerned about their carbon footprint and they want to take action, which is great. Um, I think where we see a lot of, of examples, um, from this is. Uh, some of the highest carbon-emitting industries, so airlines, fuel, Um, and to be honest, it’s, it’s a hard Shell, um, because obviously, you know, people like Shell Go Plus they have tried with kind of mixed success. So that’s a loyalty program from Shell. Yeah. Um, They members can join the programs, um, uh, carbon offset program. And as long as they join opt-in and, and swipe their card, Shell will offset their emissions, um, from the fuel purchases they make. And I also, I also funny enough, um, have the example of Etihad Airways as well around their kind of Conscious Choices. Oh, great. Um, and, and the kind. You, uh, the, the, the ability to kind of donate guest miles to green causes effectively. Yeah. Um, I think, you know, these companies fortuning are, well not, fortuning, yeah. Are subject to more criticism and I think it is quite difficult, um, for them to, uh, you know, I guess authentically, um, yeah, promote kind of sustainable programs. Um, Without sort of changing their core products. Totally. Um, so you know, it is harder, but I think what we have seen is, um, a real rise in kind of plant a tree, um, kind of programs as well, which is, which is lovely. And I think, you know, quite easy, um, to implement and again, a really nice example of, um, Uh, you know, a customer feeling like they have done something so just by purchasing something from a brand, uh, the, the brand will then plant a tree on their behalf. And, and that’s a really nice sentiment. And actually, anecdotally, we’ve heard that by having these kind of planted tree, um, kind of, um, Plant tree activities at point of sell. Um, it can naturally convert sales higher than if you were just going to give someone a straightforward discount, which is amazing. Yeah. Um, wow. So that’s, that’s really encouraging to see.
It is, it’s a really, um, inspiring one actually, because yes, I think at the end of the day, trees are absolutely part of the solution. And if we can get ourselves out there and get a few more trees planted, well, a few more hundred million trees planted, to be honest, but just to go back to your point, Izzy, I think you’re absolutely right. There is, um, huge conflict and, and challenges for, um, the brands that are seen as contributing to the, the, the, the planetary challenges, um, and how they can, um, sustainably address it in a way that has credibility. So again, kudos to, to Shell Go Plus and to Etihad, Um, and I think to me, the bottom line is I think sometimes consumers can, can almost blame the company while continuing to buy that company’s products. So I did, you know, I, I remember somebody very high profile in Ireland commenting about, you know, a fuel company and you know, how much damage they were causing the environment. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her driving a big car. And so, so I’m kind of like going, you know, okay. Get on your bicycle. yeah. And you know, we’re all consumers of these products, so that’s, you know, where the cycle has to, we all have to take, I think individual responsibility and, of course, there has to be corporate responsibility as well. So yeah, I don’t think we can just expect, you know, the fuel companies to fix it or the, the airlines or whatever, cuz we’re, I’m still flying for example, and trying to do my bit at the same time. So it is a journey. Um, as you said earlier, it’s, um, it’s an urgent one. Um, and I want to give a shout out as well to Seth Godin. Who’s uh, one of my big kind of, um, Inspiring marketers. Just if anybody’s interested, he’s published a book called The Carbon Almanac, which is a beautiful book, which really showcases the shocking, uh, carbon issues that we’re all facing. Um, so that really helped me, I suppose, start to educate myself around it. So certainly feeling like I’m getting more involved as time goes on. And there was another example, actually, Izzy, we talked about last time, which I just want to mention in passing and it’s not a loyalty program example, but it ticks the other principles we’ve talked about, which is something that’s measurable, something where I felt like I was actually making a difference by changing my behavior. And it was literally in my hotel in London, very high-tech hotel brand called Citizen M. What I really liked they did was they gave me the opportunity on an iPad to opt-out of having the room cleaned, um, every day, which at the end of the day, I certainly don’t clean my own bedroom at home every day. So, but what they did do, uh, is, you know, they literally said, you know, we will donate three pounds to, I think it was also a tree-planting charity, you know, They gave the cumulative effect of all of those individual decisions of guests who stayed with them. So to me, that’s super powerful when a brand gives it again, a reason for me, that kind of win-win model, I guess, which, uh, works for everyone.
Yeah, absolutely. And actually that brings us neatly onto a, one of the tactics, um, that we outline, which is around, um, you know, programs should, uh, offer forums to discuss environmental and sustainability issues and suggestions, etc. And I think coms is so important when talking about your loyalty program to give it that authenticity. So don’t just. Say we are not gonna clean your room. Yeah. Give context to that. I think you said as well, they, um, kind of display visually, um, how many trees they planted, which is again, as long as you’re understanding the context, you feel like you’re contributing to the cause. Yeah. Um, there’s a purpose to it. Um, so I think, you know, making sure that you are authentically communicating, um, and, and keeping your members informed of the difference. Um, we’ll also help people feel more, um, engaged and, and kind of, um, yeah. Involved with the, with the program.
Totally, totally. Yeah. I think there is an increasingly, um, interested, you know, angle, I suppose, or let’s say a tactic around community, which we’ve talked about on this show a lot. Um, and I don’t think it’s being done as yet to any great scale that I’ve seen with the one exception I saw was Ikea who were on the show and they very much have an active community. And I’m sure there’s plenty others, which I’d love to hear from anybody wants to talk about community. But I think you’re absolutely right. Something that is a shared cause, uh, like sustainability. Um, there might be a way that your loyalty program members feel that they’d be happy to discuss solutions and brainstorm with you that allows them to feel, I guess, more emotionally involved with the brand as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, um, like all loyalty programs having that two-way conversation is so important. Um, because I think sadly the alternative is sometimes it’ll end up on your social channels and they’ll call you out there. That’s true. Totally. Yeah. Yeah. So much better to kind of engage them early and have that conversation, um, rather than, than deal with the fallout. Exactly. Yeah. It’s almost the balance of we’re listening. Um, You know, and, and starting to invite those ideas versus, you know, launching something, I guess, prematurely, because I know there’s also an issue around greenwashing as it’s called. Um, so you might actually explain that term Izzy. Um, I’ve heard it a lot, but just because you are the, the sustainability guru, you know, uh, what, what’s your experience of greenwashing? And I guess it’s, it’s been an issue in the UK market. Hasn’t.
Yeah, absolutely. I think, um, so, so greenwashing is essentially any company that inauthentically, um, talks about being sustainable, um, I would say, probably talks about it more than actually practices, um, what it says it’s going to do. Yeah. Um, so I think. Yeah, there, there have, there have been a few examples. I’m not going to call out anyone specifically. good call. Yeah. Um, but it, but it is an issue and I think, um, I, I think there needs to be a certain amount of leniency with, with perhaps smaller companies, you know, when they’re first starting out or it’s about kind of phrasing it in the right way. This is our first step, um, towards becoming a carbon-neutral company, or this is, you know, but almost laying out what that plan is. I think potentially there is a hesitancy, um, or the reason why some brands don’t have. Sustainability in their loyalty program as of yet is because they don’t have the full strategy. Yeah. And that’s the right decision. Yeah, you absolutely need everyone’s buy-in um, to make sure that what you are saying and communicating in your loyalty program is exactly what’s happening within the company.
So I think you’re absolutely right. Uh, Izzy, there is a need for, um, you know, clarity and authenticity actually. That’s exactly the right word because I don’t think any company sets out to misrepresent, you know, an intention to be sustainable. I always think it’s coming from a great place. I think what has happened just in the past is perhaps they’ve overstated something and that has caused that backlash. So I think what we’re saying is there is a risk of over-promising and underdelivering, but I like your suggestion, which is literally, okay, well, if we say this is our first step, or we’re looking for ideas just as long as that authenticity is there, I think that’s exactly the right approach.
Wonderful. Wonderful. And I know we missed out one, which is, which is definitely one. I think that, um, most of the audience are probably doing already again, geographic differences, but, you know, I suppose there is just much more appetite for certainly British consumers or digital loyalty cards versus plastic or, or paper ones. So I think that one’s well understood, but probably worth mentioning as well.
Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, so this was our fifth, um, kind of most popular tactic. So 31% said offer a digital card rather than a plastic card. And yeah, it feels, it feels fairly obvious, but, um, you know, some supermarkets in particular, I can understand the hesitancy, um, around not rolling it out because you are worried about, um, alienating the older generations who you love to have that physical card. Sure. Um, But, um, Lidl Plus, um, who’s, uh, little supermarket here in the UK. Um, they were the first if market over here to become a digital only proposition. Okay. And yes, there was, uh, some initial, um, feedback, but as long as you kind of upscale your staff, um, to make sure that they, um, are able to kind brief, um, the customers and, and let and show them how easy, um, it is then I think, um, it’s a no brainer. Really. Our phones have become a one-stop shop for monies, keys, you know, making calls, etc. Yeah. Um, so it feels like the logical move.
It definitely is. And I do remember seeing some of those coms from Lidl when they launched The Lidl Plus Program. And again, I can’t remember the number, but I do remember it was super effective. It said something like, it only takes nine seconds to download and install. And I was like, finally, somebody’s actually showing and really articulating how simple it is because we all have this aversion of, oh, I don’t want to download anything else. And I’m busy and. You know, I won’t bother, but I was just like, oh, nine seconds. Totally. I’m definitely gonna do that. So again, they, they just really understand what customers need to take that very important first step. And as you said, then everything else follows because then they’re in the, the digital world of, of loyalty with them.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, um, COVID has been a great, um, up skiller in terms of digital tech for the older generations. And I think there’s some great examples, um, of brands like Apple, you know, you’ve got these, uh, special training classes to teach the generations how to use phones and text. So definitely think there are ways around it.
Wonderful. Wonderful. There definitely are. And again, we’re in 2022. So, uh, I think most people understand the trade-off, you know? Yes. I, I might want a plastic card, but actually plastic’s probably not the best thing anymore, so, um, yeah, just a case of people understanding why decisions are being made and the full context for that. So. So I think that’s all of my questions, Izzy for you today. Were there any other kind of key things you wanted to mention about sustainability in the context of loyalty before we wrap up?
I think one thing I wanted to, um, just talk about was around the future of sustainability and I touched on it lightly and I guess helping any loyalty, marketers that are listening out there, how, how do you make it happen within your company? Um, and I think it’s really important. Um, and, and we certainly feel that Mando Connects that ultimately. It ends up as a KPI as part of your loyalty program. So, okay. You know, you might have NPS, active participants, net impact on revenue, frequency, bulk guys, and then adding in this net impact on sustainability. So what is your carbon footprint? Um, and the impact of its on its members’ lives. And we think if you can get that into your, um, kind of set of KPIs, then it, can not be embraced by the rest of the company. So I think, yeah, that’s probably where I would like to leave it.
That’s absolutely perfect way to leave it because as we know what gets measured gets done, so absolutely right. Let’s start with the KPIs and, and make sure it, it stems from there. So, uh, for people who want to find access to this sustainability research that you’ve done at Mando Connect Izzy, where’s the best place for our listeners to find that.
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, you can actually check it out by going to our Mando Connect website.
Um, or you can check it out on The Wise Marketer. Um, where, if you just type in Mando Sustainability, our article will come up.
Excellent. Excellent. And I’ll make sure to link to it as well in the show notes as well. So, uh, with all of that said, it’s been a very inspiring conversation. Izzy want to, uh, thank you for, uh, leading on this super important topic and I’m sure we’ll be talking again in the future and looking for lots more examples.
So with all of that said, Isobel Finlayson. Sustainability Lead and Senior Account Director with Mando Connect. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.
Thank you, Paula.
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