Pieter Twine is the General Manager of the “MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet” loyalty programme, based in South Africa.
It is an internationally recognised loyalty programme with multiple awards at the International Loyalty Awards & in the South African Loyalty Awards.
Pieter himself is a judge at the International Loyalty Awards and has worked on the MySchool programme from the early years until now, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.
It is a multi-partner programme but with a difference in that rewards only go to educational, charity, environmental, or animal beneficiaries, not the members themselves.
Over USD 56 million is given to such causes triggering both emotional and transactional loyalty results for the merchant partners invested in the programme.
Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the founder of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s show is hosted by my colleague, Amanda Cromhout, the founder of Truth, an international loyalty consultancy firm based in Cape Town, South Africa. If you work in loyalty marketing, make sure to join Let’s talk loyalty every Tuesday, every Wednesday, and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world.
Hi, I’m Amanda Cromhout, and I’m so excited to join you today by hosting my first Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast, following on from Paula’s three year success of the show. So today I’m welcoming Pieter Twine he’s general manager of the, MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet program, those who don’t know this phenomenal loyalty brand. I’d just like to confirm it’s a multi-award-winning loyalty program, both in the International Loyalty Awards and the South African Loyalty Awards, and kudos to Pieter himself, also as the leader of the, MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet team, which won best loyalty team at last year’s South African Loyalty Awards. It’s a multi-partner program with over 8,000 educational charity and environmental beneficiaries. The, MySchool program hits both the emotional as well as the transactional triggers for loyalty members that really is something that most loyalty programs aspire to achieve.
Amanda: So Hello, Pieter, and welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.
Pieter: Hi Amanda. And it’s a great privilege to be participating in this podcast and I’m really looking forward to it.
Amanda: So, I don’t think there’s any necessary introduction to the South African market, but to everyone internationally, I’m talking today to Pieter Twine, Pieter is the general manager of MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet, and Pieter, and myself have had the privilege of working together many years ago when I was working at Woolworths South Africa. But to actually have you talking on the podcast is a real treat. So I’m gonna kick straight off with the, the famous first question of Let’s Talk Loyalty, Pieter, what’s your favorite loyalty program?
Pieter: Amanda, I’m gonna answer this in a roundabout way. It’s always good to understand what favorite means to a person. And for me, a program needs to connect to me personally, in a way that it talks to me emotionally, but also transactionally from a value perspective. And I sort of chose two programs, one that I’ve, uh, carefully looked at over the years, which is the GEMS rewards program in the UAE. And I’ve always been amazed that I always think that they’ve copied my school a little bit, but, uh, they’ve really done it well. And I think they’ve really gained good penetration in that market and a really nice value proposition with a great purpose. And that’s always something that I look at the second program is, uh, again, a little bit bias. It is my banking program, the Standard Bank UCount. And although it’s not the simplest of programs, if you understand how they’ve created the value proposition and you build your structures, and as good loyalty practitioners, we always deep dive the real intent of the program. And what. Will give us the greatest value, once you’ve actually done that. The value equation that I always look at the effort versus reward is quite good. So I would say for me, the two that really stands out, uh, in the market, both, uh, in South Africa and in Africa and Middle East would be the two, the GEMS rewards program and the Standard Bank, UCount.
Amanda: Thanks, Pieter. That’s so awesome to have such extremities actually, cuz one is much more transactional and in the financial services south African market. And the other one is, as you say, quite similar to the sort of concept of your own program, um, and international. So that’s absolutely super to have the contrast. So I don’t mind you choosing to that’s a good start. Um, I think before we get going, I mean, as I said, you and I had the privilege of working together for a few years. Um, please, can you share with everybody your, your background that’s led you to the position you are in now, your loyalty background.
Pieter: Yes, Amanda, I would gladly do this. Uh, I started in retail in the early eighties, and in the late nineties, we were already starting to look at how do we use data effectively. And I made use of research data extensively to put commercial properties together, and also the kind of catalogs that we would utilize in the Woolworths business from a retail perspective. But we realized very quickly that just having financial services, data, research data wasn’t adequate. So this led us into the first loyalty trials were be in South Africa with the Woolworths business in the early two thousand. And, uh, we started with extensive search across the world, working very closely with many business consultants, uh, off the top companies in the world and who really understanding what made loyalty work and what makes a sustainable loyalty program. I’ve also then had the privilege in 1999 to be, uh, asked to work on the first community loyalty program in South Africa, which was then just called purely MySchool. Yeah. But through the years it’s really been an evolving and through many iterations of the loyalty programs in Woolworths, but also with MySchool, we kept on looking at how do we make it better for the business and how do we make the value proposition stronger for the consumer? And in 2010, we launched in South Africa, the first non-points retail program. And that was called W Rewards. The one that me and you were both involved in. Uh, yeah, I remember it fondly, back to start. And it was really based on the concept of instant savings or what I would call member pricing as well, but really giving that instant gratification to the consumer that they can see that, what their swipe is doing is actually giving them value back into their back pocket. And it’s not something that’s delayed and needs to be aggregated over time. So it was a real first, it was also a big challenge because most of the programs in South Africa up until that stage were point-based and progressive rewards that gave you about every quarter. And that was what the consumer were used to at the time. Yeah, but what we, what we also did, I think what was quite unique in the W Rewards program is what I call the first get and give. And that was the first time that a person could actually earn benefit for themselves, but at the same time, make a contribution to, towards a, a charity or a cause and that’s where the MySchool combination came into W Rewards as well. So yeah, over the years, lots of learnings on actual programs. And then, uh, another key, uh, for me that is really standing out was the ability to participate with the International Loyalty Awards judging that happens in London. And I’ve done that, I think from the second or third year. Of the awards running. And that for me always is such a brilliant place to learn and to see what is really, truly working across the world. And then obviously you work with a network of judges that are top in class. And you constantly just learn so much of loyalty and also different perspectives on loyalty. So for me, it’s always a passion. I always draw through whatever comes through, like the podcasts, like the ongoing subscriptions that you get on loyalty. So it’s an ongoing learning journey for me on the world of loyalty.
Amanda: That’s great. And actually, you’re absolutely right. We’re still colleagues, so to speak as co-judges on the International Loyalty Awards. So still lots for us to talk about every day and you’re right. I’d forgotten actually that at the time when we launched W Rewards back in 2010, it was one of the first member differential pricing programs. Whereas now there. Everywhere. So to speak and extremely well understood and popular in this market. So, um, at the time we were, uh, Woolworths was the first to breakthrough with that. So thanks for reminding us about that. So I think Pieter, um, the whole purpose today, really, as well as to get to know you a little bit better is to understand the concept of the phenomenal program that you are the general manager of, which is the MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet program. Tell us a little bit about it. And then if you could lead into something that you and I shared together was the evolution of that into, from just MySchool, into MyVillage and MyPlanet.
Pieter: Thanks Amanda. Yes, the, the program, it, uh, started in 1997, really focusing on education and really helping schools to raise funds in a sustainable way to ensure that teaching happens effectively and very simply. Parents could actually take up a, MySchool card, swipe it at a multi-partner, uh, program where there are different complimentary partners and each of those partners would give a percentage back of, uh, the turnover made by that supporter back to the cause or the school that was chosen by that parent. And it really touched on something powerful. And I remember in the days back in 1999 and 2000, having many conversations with the board and. Just talking about the closeness and the importance of the relationship between a parent and a child. And there is no parent that won’t give his child or her child the absolute best and go to great lens. And we started with a real startup business, uh, with an internet buffer that worked in America many years. A parent actually at a school, uh, who started this program and myself and a few other people got involved, worked with them quite closely and eventually made the program a real success in the educational space. But what we realized quite soon is that off the kids leave school, those parents were sort of lost through the program. And when we segmented and analyzed our customer base and also our big major partner base, we actually understood two things that we really had to groups of consumers, consumers that were really interested in children and community upliftment causes or NGOs. And then the other segment, really people that are very interested in animals and the environment and animals in general, wild and domestic. And that sort of led us to the, the development of the program into what we call the, MyVillage, which is around communities and causes. Yeah. Also the animal component. Now, today we have over 8,000 beneficiaries on the program or causes and schools. Wow. And, and there’s truly something that will matter to each of our consumers. There is so many things that are close to people’s hearts, be it disabilities. Uh, I always make use of one that I know you also part of initially, which was Operation Smile. And through the program, we’ve actually done 153 corrective surgeries to date. And that was purely through people selecting to support that cause and give back. And that’s change the lives of not 153 children, but 103 hundred and fifty-three families because that lives of those individuals as a whole, with change to the positive. So it’s really just, uh, fantastic stuff that the program has done to date.
Amanda: Pieter. That’s so awesome that you’ve managed to like bring it to life so clearly with the smile, Project Smile. But as you say, that’s one of 8,000 beneficiaries, but the fact that one of 8,000 beneficiaries has changed the life of the families of 153 beautiful children. I just think it’s so special. And that’s just one part of MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet. So I think anyone listening to this will be absolutely in awe of the difference it can make. And as you say, if you’re a parent, nothing means more to you than your children. And if you are a dog lover, nothing means more to you than your, your faithful hound, and so on. The list just continues. So thank you for sharing that with so much sort of clarity over how the part, the multi-partner program is spending it’s it’s well earned funds to make a lot difference in the lives of so many. So a little bit away, just from the program that you manage. Tell us a little bit in your views as a leader in the loyalty industry, what are the trends you’re seeing in the industry?
Pieter: I think there’s, uh, Amanda, a number of trends that are coming out. There’s the, the real basics that we all know, which is through big data and AI, the whole focus on hyper-personalization and really being focused on the relevant content and offers delivered in a seamless, uh, easy way to the consumer. And those are the basics that I think many of us are still struggling to get right. But that is definitely still very clearly one of the things that are important. I think another key focus is also the fact that, um, Having loyalty integrated into a single app. And when I refer to that, I’m gonna use the example of the Standard Bank banking app. Um, the Woolworths app and the GEMS app are just examples where you are able to actually engage with the brand completely from end to end from looking at content to actual shopping, to changing your consent, uh, on the website in real-time in the, MySchool world, being able to change your cause that you support all the three causes that you support in real time, those things are quite critical that the app of engaging with the brand and with the program is centrally controlled through the main app that is offered by the business or the brand. Yeah. And I think that will continue to grow. Um, another key thing that I think what we are picking up quite extensively and also a piece of work that we work with all the time is to really define when our consumers actively engaging with the brand versus for you just doing the transactional swipe and getting the benefit that comes with that, that the fourth process of choosing the brand is not upfront. And to use an example, we’ve recently done a study and again, the, MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet program is not a program that puts money back into your pocket. And for that to actually drive a change in behavior. One of the research states that we looked at was that over 70% of the customers were likely, or very definitely going to consider who they give back to as a community, um, when they make that shopping trip. Where they’re going to be shopping and what they’re going to be doing. And that’s sort of links me to the last, um, trend that I want to mention. And there’s many more, I think the was, was Dr. Pillai that spoke to Paula a while ago around the three levels of, uh, loyalty. But the two that stands out for me is really around emotional loyalty and community loyalty, aggregating into a change in behavior with transactional loyalty. I think the days not gone when we think that transactional loyalty are strong enough to stand on its own. People are expecting more, especially after COVID 19, where businesses were asked to be far closer to their communities in which they trade and to be far more actively involved. And I think loyalty programs need to take that into account as well.
Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, and, uh, you know, just going back full circle to the brand that you are the general manager of, I mean, there’s nothing more emotional than signing up to the, MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet program, but the other, some of the other things you said there, Pieter, that I really just wanna highlight back to our listeners is, you know, just that single app experience. You know, I remember in the earlier days when we were developing loyalty programs in all sorts of different markets, there was sort of a determination to have a single app just for the loyalty program. And it, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s, it’s critical as you say that it’s fully integrated into the main reason I have the app in the first place, which is to interact with the brand that I’m transacting with and then through the loyalty program, that emotional connection can come through as well. So, um, and you are right. A lot more programs are doing that much more successfully now than we would’ve seen a few years ago. So interestingly, you didn’t talk about tiers. So I know from my experience in the South African market, that the program, MySchool doesn’t have tiering per se. So what are your views around tiers cuz the W Rewards program, which is obviously in the woo environment, does have tiers. So tiers or not tiers what’s your view on that one?
Pieter: Amanda. I think it’s always a very good question. And I think different industries and different markets have different needs. And I think if a sector is really driving simplicity, transparency, and a straightforward loyalty program, then do not go with tiers. If your target audience are not going to be able to understand the complexity that come with tier or tiering, don’t go that route. It needs to be kept effectively simple that when I’m swiping, I’m gaining something. But when you’re market is com uh, competitive, and there is clearly headroom in your target audience to consolidate spend. And the travel industry is very much one of those, uh, the food industry is another, where there’s an ability to consolidate and you can put a value proposition together for your VIPs that is really top end and your VIPs, and people can aspire to get there and will allow many of your consumers to consolidate their spend and achieve that tier status. Then my view is always is. Do it, but make sure that it’s still not overly complex. And I am definitely always leaning towards a tiered program that has at least got two tier towards growing that spend over time and that the, the consumer can truly see the benefit of it. And when we talk about innovation later on, I do think that there’s in that VVIP sector things that we can do to really make it such a great retention tool for a business. But for, for that, you do need tiers.
Amanda: It’s a bit of an oxymoron. Sometimes I think the tiering or tier and simplicity, as you say, it’s, it’s difficult for programs to keep that simple, transparent approach when tiers are introduced. So if a brand is achieving that in its loyalty program to have simplicity and tiering, that makes sense. Um, it’s a real win because I would say nine times outta 10, they, they, they tend to contradict the themselves. So, you know, all kudos to the brands that are managing to have tiering with a simple and understandable approach. So completely agree there with what’s, you know what you’re saying. And it’s interesting when I said, what are your thoughts around tiers or no tiers? A lot of loyalty operators find sometimes running a loyalty program, quite painful, so they could be referring to the tears streaming outta their eyes. Rather than the, the tiered system. Um, so, so Pieter, you’ve been in this industry for a while. I’m not gonna name the number of years because I think that’s gonna give both of our ages away. But, so what would you say has been the biggest problem, uh, in, in terms of loyalty that you’ve ever had to face up to.
Pieter: Amanda, I think the problems also comes along with the maturity of a program. I think, uh, one of the most important things at a startup loyalty program, when you first embark on that is always, uh, Csuite ownership for the program. If your main board are not part of the reason and the owners of taking on a loyalty program, it very quickly becomes just an expense. And I think if the establishing of a loyalty program is owned right across the business, it takes away a lot of the challenges that you have in continuing to run an effective loyalty program. Cause I think if we look back over the last couple of years as to the importance of loyalty programs in our consumer needs when they were cash strapped and especially in South Africa. And I’m sure across the world and loyalty programs played a bigger and bigger, uh, role in the lives of consumers, but it also remains a very expensive marketing exercise for most businesses, if it is not built and structured correctly. So the first thing I always say, when looking at a loyalty program with any loyalty, uh, practitioner in another business is to say, what are the ownership for the program at board level? And are they truly. Aligned with what needs to be achieved through the program. So that always is the first question that I look at. The second question that I always look at is what are the intent of the royalty program? What is the purpose? What is it going to do to actually add value to the business and to the consumer. And if that is all in place, then it’s often just the value that you can generate back from the data, from the insights so that your commercial partners are always willing to invest into your program. And a lot of that comes under pressure when they can’t see the return on investments that they’re making. And that often allows the program to become unstuck and to become less valuable. Yeah, one of the competitor programs in South Africa and we’ve come, we’ve spoken about them before is around again, preferential pricing, believing so strongly in your program that you put all your promotions as part of your loyalty program. Now that takes real courage to do that because you are actually taking the intent right out from the board space to say, we will do our promotions in a way that only our members can get it. And that is a very bold move, but a very strong message that is sent through your business. And that opens commercial doors, both for your, uh, commercial partners in the business, but also your supply. So really sourcing the deals and really getting great value for your consumers is what a, a good loyalty practitioner will do. And that often means that very fine balancing, uh, I don’t want to call it a trick because it’s not a trick, but a balancing act between what you bring back into the business from a return on investment versus the, what you’re giving to the consumer to sustain their support in the longer term. And I think that’s always one of the biggest challenges is to sustain support in the business. With your commercial partners, but also provide enough value to your customers that they keep engaging with the program and keep supporting the business. So those would be my key ones that I would would flag to anybody that ask.
Amanda: You’re absolutely right. It’s that, that Seesaw balance between commercial return and consumer happiness at the end of the day. And it’s something that we absolutely have to follow, otherwise, either side, if it’s weighted incorrectly, can just sync the proposition or sync the balance sheet. So, um, I loved what you were saying there, Pieter, about C-suite buy-in and then, um, I love the bit as well, cause it brought back many memories for many clients we’ve worked. Truth has worked with around, you know, how much confidence have you got to put your loyalty pricing into what percentage of promotions, um, that are available in the store. If you are talking about a grocery store environment, and I know that kind of discussion can re-cap say havoc with buying teams and, um, you know, just the whole change away from traditional grocery retailing, into more customer-centric approach and it takes enormous change management as, as, as you’re indicating. And that change management starts at the top of the organization. So no question about that. I mean, personally, get along your journey as a loyalty professional, what has been the most, almost personal lesson that you’ve learned throughout all of this?
Pieter: I think the best personal lesson is to be very clear on the loyalty, intent, and purpose. And I think you can’t be ambiguous. You need to be very specific and you can’t also try and please everybody in the business when you design your loyalty program. You need to be able to be very clear with the intent, how it’s going to work, what it will bring back into the business and the duration of time that it will take to pay back the investments that you’ve made. And I think being very clear that you don’t overcommit and that you set realistic targets because I remember once in W rewards. We set a target of acquiring a million customers in a single year, and I know some other, uh, Programs have done that significantly shorter than a year in recent times, but in the traditional acquisition channels, setting a target of a million Rand, I think, and not sorry, a million Rand a million new members was a decision made in a moment and then said, why can’t you do that? And then a good challenge is always for a practitioner, but then let’s get it done. And I think that was a bit of blood, sweat, and tears for that year. We eventually achieved it, but don’t overcommit and be very clear on what you will deliver in the time and make sure that it’s realistically achievable. And I think that was a, quite a tough lesson, uh, with lots of tears and sweat that went into that achievement.
Amanda: And that’s I tears out of your eye in that case, what not loyalty tiers we managed to, we managed to get both of them in the story today. Um, that leads me Pieter to a sort of killer commercial question actually around, um, going back to MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet, I mean, what are the sort of key, key KPIs that you measure your success against? Is it in membership volumes? Is it in engagement? Is it in transaction values, incrementality, share with us as much as you can the KPI approach you take for a program such as MySchool.
Pieter: Yeah, Amanda is quite, uh, it sounds simple. One is a little bit more tricky, but I think because, uh, the MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet program on the loyalty continuum. It is actually a fully-fledged business. And the bulk of our revenue are paid back to our causes and our schools, which leaves you a very small bit to run the business. So one of the first things that we look at always is to say, How much are we growing spend at our partners, because spend drives the revenue that we receive from our partners, which is our second indicator, uh, that we again have the ability to pay out to our beneficiaries. So, uh, The two general things that you will find in any commercial business is, are you driving revenue? Are you getting enough income? Then we look at running our business really tightly because we are a fundraising business. So we always look at cost to sell, uh, the very basic elements. And then when we get to the CRM measures that we look at, we obviously have NPS. Uh, and we generally have really good NPS scores. We have customer effort scores that we measure every year and look at how much effort does it take a customer to change the details, to update a causes that she’s supporting, or even just signing up to the program. So all of those effort measures in terms of how our customer would experience the program. And then one that is more recent that I’m. This is the third year that we are doing it is a measure that we call active customer engagement, and that really measures the customer’s engagement beyond the swipe. And the aim is to really, I don’t wanna say own because I don’t think any loyalty program or brand can ever own the head, the heart, and the actions from the body all the time. But how much do you really own brand time in the consumer’s mind that actually translates into action. That is not just the swipe, meaning that they participating in your communication. They are participating in events. They are supportive on the social media side. And those are measures that I think we all try and work towards to drive real true engagement with a brand or with a program. And I think that for me is one that always stands out as newer and probably the most difficult to do sustainably well.
Amanda: Yeah, I love that. I mean, I’ve just written it down, head, heart, and action. How powerful is that? Well, I’d love to see, you know, another discussion for another day, like actually understanding the measurability of that, but that’s, uh, super powerful, Pieter. Thanks for sharing that. Remember everyone, head, heart and action. Love it. Okay. Um, so you’ve obviously you’ve talked a little bit about earlier about C-suite engagement as one of the sort of biggest challenges in, in the roles that you, you’ve worked through in your loyalty career. And I touched on like how that would lead to the change management requirements and so on. So a program such as MySchool is a program like everybody loves cuz it’s for a good reason. But, um, how do you communicate the importance of some of those KPIs you’ve shared with us on an internal level? Because you, as you say, you’ve got a business called MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet, which sits within a bigger business of Woolworths, which is an incredibly sophisticated, large retail organization. So how do you go about that? Internal change management and communications.
Pieter: Madness. It’s some days it’s easier. And in other ways it’s really extremely difficult. And I think it is always the constant need to show value to a commercial business, uh, through acquiring new customers, being able to show that they are increasingly spent at a specific partner and that the investment that is being made by that partner or the business into the program is ROI positive. And a lot of that comes with a lot of deep analytics and we do that not every year, but every couple of years, we sit down and do a deep analytic piece of work. And that we actually share with all of our partners. The other more simplistic approach that we work with is to really work closely with our business partners around commercial promotions and really driving, uh, our supporters or customers to that business. And because we are tracking the transaction spend and we have history of that, uh, spend over years, we are also able to share that back into the business partner and say, in this promotion, we brought you, couple hundred thousand extra customers induced store over the campaign period. This is what they normally would’ve spent. And this is what they did actually spend. And because we able to do that kind of on a regular basis, you building trusted relationships with your business partners, where they are investing and also trusting that you have their brand’s best interest at heart. And because it’s linked to emotion. It annot just be a motion, it has to translate into action. As I’ve already said. So meeting with the stakeholders on a regular basis, keeping your C-suite, uh, director level up to date on how are the business doing what is actually happening against our set, uh, targets that we’ve agreed with the business up front, and then keeping them up to date. We also meet on a quarterly basis, Uh, the Exco representative, which is always important. And in that case, we, we basically look at the commercial drivers, but we also show some of the projects that the funding has actually made possible. And I think that is an important thing because every business, when we started with MySchool back in 1999, uh, when I first got involved with. Two years after it was started by the startup founder. That was the time of the triple bottom line. You know, your financial bottom line, your social impact as well as your environmental component. And today we call it something different in Woolworths, the good business journey in other business, it’s, it’s called sustainable, sustainability index and there’s a whole lot of these things and what we do show and bring into every commercial discussion is although, so the other side of the coin, what did the money do that you contributed to uplift the broader economy in that community that was invested in through those projects, because it is a circular economy. If the, uh, the community gets uplifted, they spend more money at the partner and ultimately everybody benefits. But if the one part is not being done successfully, both parties will suffer in the longer run. And I think that’s always something we look at as combining both the heart commercial with also the CSI upliftment projects that results in people being uplifted and becoming customers in time. And I think that’s always important.
Amanda: Yeah. And I think knowing your program as well as I do, um, you do have a step up on everyone else in the ability to be able to show that. The CSI side of it, because ultimately at the end of the day, that’s the big difference you’re able to make across all your different beneficiaries. So what a great position to be in as long as you can keep showing the incremental and performance. So, uh, super and what a privilege to be able for you to be able to showcase that internally in your business. You mentioned earlier about innovation, so what’s, um, you know, what springs to mind for you when you, you think about innovation of either things that you’ve done recently or things that you can share with us that you’re about to do that’s, you know, is gonna help change, change your program or help change the landscape in loyalty.
Pieter: Yeah, Amanda, I think there’s, again, the basics and I view them as basics, uh, having over 8,000 beneficiaries available that, uh, a customer can choose to support via app, uh, having signed up within, under a minute, having a virtual card available and the ability to change your, uh, causes that you support real time, that’s automatically, uh, implemented in the back end. And that for me is always an important factor is the ability to update your data, create real, um, accurate information. And we always look at that, but from an innovation perspective, personalized giving, uh, that we’ve been doing for almost 25 years now is critical and it allows people to truly support what matters to them. I think the things that is really for me, where the next level of personalization and relevancy will come from is allowing your best consumers. Your VVIPs and VIPs to shape their rewards proposition around their own needs. Yeah. And we started, uh, a couple of trials around this a couple of years ago to look at how do you change the proposition that you are able to allow? Like what we do, uh, let them choose what I want to be giving back to let them also choose in how they want to be rewarded by and I’m really talking more deeply than just a category in an app that says groceries. Now, I don’t want that. I want to be able to say in the category groceries, I want you to reward me with. That very specific upmarket coffee all the time, and really bringing that relevancy and personalization into the choice and with AI today, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to get there. And that for me, the average of doing that really effectively and sustainably, uh, in the industry, not South Africa in what I’ve seen, uh, in the world. The other two areas that really drives a huge amount of innovation and has been driving it for a while. So it’s not yet what I would call a basic, it’s still quite new for most programs, which is around subscription loyalty and in a continuum of loyalty I think that is the journey that you will take to become a fully fledged, independent business, or at least a profit center. And for me, that is something that I think is still underutilized in South Africa and has just started to, uh, take place within the banking sector and a few other places as well. So definitely that section and then the, the other one around gamification. Gamification for me with purpose is always to drive greater engagement, but also to have greater value being contributed back to your customer that are taking time to participate and grow. And I think we’ve seen some really fantastic gamification solutions that have driven loyalty, but I think we still at a young young stage in the development of that component.
Amanda: Fantastic. Thank you very much, as you say. Yeah. Um, I think gamifications really started to sneak through in South Africa, but isn’t a major part of the propositions and, um, subscriptions, as you say, there are a few brands doing it well and have been doing so for a long time, but very dominated in financial services. Um, and a big opportunity in the rest. A little bit of QSR as well as coming through. We see, but I do see some real ideas that we, this market could follow follow with. So I want to conclude Pieter that we’ve had such an incredible discussion. And my last thing I want to just ask you, if you wouldn’t mind, is I know you have a very special, um, celebration coming up soon for MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet, a big 25th birthday celebration, which is absolutely an enormous milestone. So can you share a little bit about that to everybody? And then we can, we can draw the interview to a conclusion.
Pieter: Yes, Amanda. Thank you. And that’s firstly, thank you to yourself and to Paula for this opportunity. Uh, the, MySchool, the educational arm of the program, uh, celebrates on the 27th of September. We have an event. Uh, the real date is the 30th, but we celebrate, uh, having given back into our communities. Into upliftment well over 900 million Rand to wow organizations that needed it to make a difference in South Africa. And I, I shared one example of Operations Smile. There are many, many big, massive, uh, examples like that. So celebrating the impact in education, seeing how it’s made a difference to people in this country that are so desperately in need, but how it’s actually created jobs, how it’s made people look after the environment better, uh, so much that we can celebrate. As a program, but also the impact. So we are hoping that on that day we would have senior government officials present. We would have some of our best, uh, not best. All of our, uh, causes are, uh, good and best for us, cuz they’re very close to our heart, but some of the causes present on the day to also just receive acknowledgement for the work that they’ve been doing. I know that we work very closely with a number of early childhood centers. And we’ve recently done three, uh, great old classrooms, um, in a school and what a fantastic, uh, feeling when you go back there and you see 60 little children having great foundation learning happening, and we are actually gonna be hosting it at that school Crystal House here in the Western Cape, in South Africa. And, uh, yeah, it’s just such a great privilege to have been able to be part of this journey of making a difference in South Africa. And that’s our purpose is making a difference in the lives of South Africans. And I know with the team. That is what we live for every single day is to make an impact. So we celebrate 25 years of impact this year. So it’s a great, great opportunity.
Amanda: How wonderful to wake up every morning, go to work, knowing that your work is making an impact and has been doing so for 25 years. Fantastic. So thank you very much, Pieter Twine, it’s been a privilege to chat to you and thank you for sharing so much. Pieter Twine General Manager of MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet.
This show is sponsored by The Loyalty People. A global strategic consultancy with a laser-focused on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement. The Loyalty People work with clients in lots of different ways, whether it’s the strategic design of your loyalty program or a full service, including loyalty project execution. And they can also advise you on choosing the right technology and service partners. On their website, The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for loyalty practitioners and they also publish their own loyalty expert insights. So for more information and to subscribe, check out theloyaltypeople.global.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. If you’d like us to send you the latest shows each week, simply sign up for the Let’s Talk Loyalty Newsletter on letstalkloyalty.com and we’ll send our best episodes straight to your inbox. And don’t forget that you can follow Let’s Talk Loyalty on any of your favorite podcast platforms. And of course, we’d love for you to share your feedback and reviews.
Thanks again for supporting the show.