#302: BLAND Loyalty - Bridging the Gap between Brand and Loyalty Marketing

Today’s fascinating discussion focuses on a new industry term coined by our guest – a relative newcomer to loyalty marketing, with a fresh perspective on our industry.

Christopher Ross, President of the EMEA Region for the Collinson Group, has spent over 30 years of his career at boardroom tables, helping clients leverage both the art and science of creativity to build brand value. So he was truly disappointed when he noticed how many loyalty programmes seem disconnected from those conversations and ambitions.

Chris believes that consumers are underwhelmed, and loyalty marketers perhaps equally overwhelmed, because of a clear lack of conversation and connection with our BRANDS when it comes to creating and managing our loyalty programmes.

The result is “Bland Loyalty” rather than “brand loyalty”.

Loyalty programmes have become a support act instead of the strategic tool they can and should be.

Listen to today’s episode to learn how your business can achieve an “unfair advantage”, using the power of creativity and compelling campaigns throughout your loyalty programme, and move beyond this BLAND loyalty to instead create powerful insights and programmes that your customers and members will LOVE.

Show Notes:

1) Christopher Ross

2) Collinson

3) BLAND Loyalty Article: The Loyalty Magazine

4) The UK Loyalty Landscape 2022: Loyalty Leaders Research

Audio Transcript

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.

Let’s Talk Loyalty is inviting you to come and join us to talk all about loyalty. We want to know what are the biggest challenges you face to capture the loyalty of your customers, as we approach 2023. In partnership with Collinson, Let’s Talk Loyalty is planning a live session on LinkedIn to talk about creating customer loyalty in the year ahead.

I’m inviting all of you listening to share with me the burning questions and key topics you’d like to hear us cover in a live discussion, simply drop me an email. It’s paula@letstalkloyalty.com. Then we’ll pick the most popular ideas and questions and talk them through on our Let’s Talk Loyalty Live Event this November, powered by Collinson.

My email address again is paula@letstalkloyalty.com. Please do send over your questions and ideas and then join us as we talk loyalty live together for the first time.

Hello and welcome to episode 302 of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today I’m joined for a fascinating discussion about a new industry term coined by my guest, a relative cucumber to loyalty marketing and who therefore brings a fresh perspective to the industry. Today’s insights and ideas are centered around so much BLAND loyalty rather than BRAND loyalty.

Because of a clear lack of conversation and connection with our brands when it comes to creating and managing our loyalty programs. This insight is particularly powerful as it’s coming from Christopher Ross, president of the EMEA region for The Collinson Group. Who has spent over 30 years of his career at boardroom tables helping clients leverage both the art and science of creativity to build brand value.

Chris has worked with marketing directors and marketing agencies to help them achieve an unfair advantage using the power of creativity and compelling campaigns. So it was truly disappointing when he noticed how many loyalty programs seem disconnected from those conversations and ambitions. Loyalty programs seem to often become a support act instead of the strategic tool. They can and should be.

In our discussion, Chris shares the impact of this clear disconnect between brand marketers and loyalty marketers, and how many of the brands it affected that Collinson has studied. Chris shares his ideas how our industry can move beyond this BLAND loyalty to instead create powerful insights and programs that customers and members will love.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Chris Ross from Collinson

Paula: So, Christopher Ross, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Christopher: Paula, thank you so much. What a pleasure to, uh, have this opportunity.

Paula: Indeed, our path have crossed almost many times that it’s our first time having a real conversation, I think. Huh?

Christopher: I think you’re right. Yes. Um, uh, unfortunately haven’t been able to connect in person yet.

Paula: It’ll, it’ll definitely happen. So as you know Chris, we always start our show talking about our favorite loyalty programs, and I think I said to you last time we spoke that yours and mine is actually the same. So will you share with the audience what is your favorite loyalty program?

Christopher: I think I’m in a steamed company if we have the same one, so that’s good.

Yeah. Um, I have been a great fan for many years of the, uh, South African Discovery Health Vitality Active Rewards Program. Um, for me it’s, um, an incredible journey to watch that, uh, grow and, and develop. And having lived and worked, worked for many years myself in South Africa. I know firsthand. Yeah.

Just how, uh, how powerful that program continues be.

Paula: Okay. Will you describe the proposition, Chris, because I’ve often said on this show that, um, South Africa is a very mature loyalty market, in my mind, probably doesn’t get the level of respect to deserve. So there’s a lot of people, as you know, listening to the show who might be in the US obviously in the UK or Australia, so they mightn’t know the core proposition.

Would, would you just talk us through it just so I can hear what you admire and then I might just add a bit about what I like about this program.

Christopher: Well, fundamentally, Paula, this is a program, um, a loyalty program designed around a grudge purchase, which is insurance. Nobody looks forward to paying for insurance.

Totally. Um, everyone is a universal truth in my, um, experience that people feel. Um, they are, um, uh, not being as treated as well as they could be by an insurance company. And when that premium renewal comes around, you reluctantly send off your money. Yeah. This program is really to, um, make the whole area of, um, insurance, particularly in their case health insurance is, is the core product.

Yeah. Um, actually be, um, part of an everyday lifestyle program. So it’s a program designed to reward good behavior. And sometimes, uh, getting rewarded for what you don’t do. Okay. As well as what you do do, which is a little in, you know, sort of twist on it because they have, um, a reward for living a healthy lifestyle.

Under their, um, medical insurance there is driving insurance where you are rewarded for good driving. And then from a, uh, financial services point of view, they also, um, reward for demonstrating good financial responsibility. Uh, with your account with them. So, um, a very, very interesting program.

Paula: For sure, for sure.

And I think what I’ve always loved Chris, and I use this word a lot on the show, it’s all about integrity. I think for me, because I know we’re gonna talk about alignment today a lot in terms of your thinking and observations on our industry, but to me, this whole idea that there can be a loyalty program that’s operating both in the best interests of the member.

The best interests of the business because of course, if we’re gonna behave in this lovely, healthy way, our health insurance claims are gonna be lower. So they seem to have found that perfect fit. And to me it almost seems like, you know, the whole business is operating from a mindset of loyalty. Would that be your experience of it?

Christopher: I think you’re absolutely right. Integrity is not a word that springs to mind when we normally talk about insurance providers, . Exactly. The fact that they’re able to, uh, plant that feeling about their brand Yeah. In, in yours And my mind, I think speaks volumes to Yeah, just how successfully they have been able to demonstrate respect, treat people with fairness.

Uh, show rewards and a, a generosity of spirit in the way that they reward behavior. And all of those things are brand attributes that any brand would, would, you know, die for. Um, totally. And they’ve done it in a, in a category. Which is usually, um, not known for any of those things.

Paula: For sure, for sure. So listen, it’s a fascinating starting point, Chris, and I do think you’re the first person on the show that actually is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

So I was looking at your LinkedIn profile. Yes. You must be very proud of that, are you?

Christopher: I am indeed. Yeah. Um, The Charter Institute of Marketing does some incredible work, um, both from an educational. Uh, perspective being able to help grow and train talent at all levels through the industry. Yeah. And, um, uh, even from a sort of continuing education point of view, as a fellow of the institute, there is an awful lot that one can still get out of it.

Okay. Um, you know, that is, it is very, uh, very valuable and helps keep sort of, um, contemporary with, with all the fast moving changes of our business.

Paula: For sure, for sure. So I think it’s fair to say you have a much longer career pre-loyalty, dare I say, um, than you have within loyalty. And I think what that’s giving you actually is an incredible perspective on what we’re doing.

So tell us a bit about your career before you got into the loyalty sector.

Christopher: Yes, indeed. I am, uh, a career admin. Um, I have spent, uh, over 30 years working in global advertising agencies around the world. Uh, laterally. I spent the last 20 years working in New York, uh, on Madison Avenue. Yeah. And, um, it was there really that, um, the sort of most informative and important part of my career was spent building, um, Fortune 500 brands, uh, around the world.

Paula: So, yeah. You described it as, as a career obsessed with the art and science of brand loyalty.

Christopher: I think at its heart, everything that a brand, uh, looks to be, uh, has an element of, uh, wanting to engender loyalty. You don’t need to have a loyalty scheme Yeah. And point some prizes. Yeah. To want to make people feel more, um, a affinity to your brand.

Paula: Yeah, no, I totally agree. And I think I said to you as well last time, Chris, that the reason I called the show, Let’s Talk Loyalty was exactly that idea that there’s lots of different ways to achieve that objective. Um, you know, lots of different principles. It’s not about the program, but I think coming at this from a brand perspective is, is quite unusual.

It’s something that isn’t typical in the conversations certainly that we have on this show. So tell us what was the biggest, I suppose, light bulb for you when you came into the industry with that perspective? What did you notice?

Christopher: What I noticed was a, um, almost complete lack of discussion around the brand itself.

My entire career has been spent agonizing over every detail of how a brand manifests itself to, uh, to its consumer in the marketplace. Yeah. Hours and hours and hours spent in boardrooms, um, talking with CMOs and with senior clients, around their hopes and aspirations for the brand, how their brand married up against competitor brands, where there were opportunities, where there were threats and it was always down to the brand.

The brand, the brand and clients are naturally very protective of that brand. Yeah, and looked, to, uh, to us, uh, to, to nurture it, to cherish it, and to help defend it and, and to build it. And when I came into the loyalty space a couple of years ago, I just found those conversations were far fewer and far less frequent.

And very quickly, one gets into the mechanics of a, uh, a loyalty program. Sure. And there isn’t as much conversation as I would’ve liked to have seen, around, what are the implications of, um, any given program on loyalty? How can we use, um, the unique facets of our brand in a way that, uh, we can drive loyalty that builds the brand, that adds to the brand bank and what it means to.

Yeah. Uh, to be, to be us, and, and that for me was the big difference.

Paula: Yeah. And I guess it needs to come directly, of course from the loyalty industry, Chris, but also I think from the C-Suite. Like, I’d love to to know, would you have heard a lot about the loyalty program and its role when you are in your, I suppose, ad man career?

Would it have been seen as a powerful tool in the marketing toolkit for the brand? You know, when you were coming from that side of the buesiness.

Christopher: Not so often. No. I mean, it was, where there were clients that had loyalty programs, it would occasionally be referenced. Okay. When we would talk about loyalty from a brand point of view, it would be talking about, um, how we could build loyalty in ways, outside of an additional to a conventional loyalty program.

Paula: Got it, got it. Okay. So with this, um, observation, with this perspective, you’ve coined a term which is, I guess disappointing, uh, called BLAND loyalty. Um, and literally that loyalty doesn’t seem to be getting enough love, enough connection with that brand piece.

So, Tell us a bit about this term. You know, was this something that you expected to find when you came in or were you also disappointed when you noticed?

Christopher: I guess I was a little disappointed because so much, um, uh, richness and competitive advantage lives in being able to use your brand attributes and to use the way you creatively express your brand. I, I always talk about it as being an unfair weapon, right? There are, nice, Yeah. There are two, You know, there are many brands out there in any category that, on the, on the face of it, really are the same product or the same service. They, you know, whatever category you look in, an airline gets you from point A to point B.

But what, what is the differentiator? The differentiator is the brand we create and the world of that brand around a particular business. And I guess from my point of view, um, I was hoping that there would be, um, more of a, a focus on, um, pulling through and augmenting the values of the brand and using loyalty as just another way, uh, to really, um, make sure, yeah, that our brand had an unfair share of attention from consumers.

Paula: It’s a lovely word actually, Chris. Um, and I have to say the whole article I found very entertaining. Um, I’m somebody who loves words. Um, I love crafting them. I definitely think it’s not something that’s easy to do, but something like a term like bland loyalty, you can inter, immediately hear that there is something that is underwhelming the consumer.

And I know you did some research then, Chris, because I think what you’re identifying is like a systemic problem in terms of, I think, you know, we’re all working very hard on loyalty programs. We’re working very hard on our brand, but it’s that overlap. So I’d love you to share what your research showed in terms of, you know, where that’s currently at as an industry, and then maybe some ideas about where we can take it to with your experience.

Christopher: Yes. It was interesting back in the, uh, the spring, April, May time of this year, we went out and commissioned a piece of, uh, of B2B research work to really get under the skin of this and some other issues for us. And, um, I think, you know, one of the key highlights of that was that only 45% of respondents said that their brand and loyalty program were connected and cooperate really closely.

Yeah. Um, and in many cases that is, as you say, a structure, in, in effect of the fact that the loyalty program sits in its own business, separate or aside from, um, the, uh, the core brand team and therefore, um, that natural linkage isn’t always, um, always there. From our point, point of view, we believe very much that, you know, great loyalty programs should sit at the heart of brands and you should never be able to discuss, um, the two issues of brand and loyalty.

You know, as separate entities. They are, but one, you know, they are two sides of the same coin, essentially. Yeah. Um, so, so that was, you know, was very interesting for us. And I think when you talk to people in this research and, uh, and ask them, um, how they feel the loyalty program adds value to their business.

Only half of them said it was as a means of really building the brand. Um, and again, that for me talks to this, um, separation that has come about in some cases, and I will, I will caveat and say there are people that do it incredibly well. Um, and we’ve talked about one of those at, at the start of our discuss.

Um, but there are other companies out there that if you covered the name of the company, it would be hard to distinguish who the loyalty program was coming from. Cause fundamentally it’s built on the same guardrails or, yeah, sort of foundational tenants as, as, uh, others in its category.

Paula: Yeah, and I think the statistic that stood out for me the most, Chris, was the idea that all of this research and the respondents that that you spoke to, they seemed very, very clear that the role of the loyalty program is to help them stand out against their competitors.

And I suppose to go back to your, your brand career, that’s usually exactly what the brand is, is fundamentally designed to do as well. So it’s almost surprising that there is only a 45% that describe themselves as, as, you know, working closely together.

Christopher: That’s right. It it, it is a little bit of an oxymoron because, yeah,

um, on the one side you would think that there would, that if you understand the importance of loyalty. Um, you would understand therefore, um, that it has a role to play. Yeah. Uh, at a higher order level with the brand. I think sometimes though, we can limit our thinking around loyalty, yeah, to being, um, the scheme itself. So we understand that our loyalty scheme. Yes. Is really important. Yeah. Um, and it drives us a lot of business cause we see when we put out offers or things through our loyalty scheme, that or our program, that this is the reaction we get from consumers. That is a very transactional way of thinking about loyalty.

And I guess what I’m trying to provoke is the thought a little bit that above that sits, uh, a bigger question. And that is what can the, the loyalty program, uh, or, or initiative do to build a brand and to attract, um, people to the brand in an innate way that goes beyond the functional aspects of I just get more points.

Paula: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think what you’re saying, Chris, is transactions are bland. Yes, I am. I think that’s exactly right, and, you know, hopefully the industry is, is realizing that, as we all know, loyalty goes back to, you know, I guess stamps originally and then formally with airlines like American Airlines.

Uh, but that’s been around since the 1980s. So, I do think we need to evolve and move into more emotive and more inspiring types of loyalty propositions. And what I did like in this article was your suggested starting point because I think the audience listening to this show are probably in exactly the position we already alluded to, So the structural challenge of representing loyalty, is not something that most of us can certainly affect in the short term, but I do think what we can do is we can articulate our understanding and the the passion points of our members and help to connect that to the overall brand. So, I loved this idea that you mentioned about the might of insight. So will you tell us a bit about this as a starting point and something I think that’s very tangible for people listening to the show to really start this, I suppose, closer connection with their brand colleagues.

Christopher: The idea there is that the, uh, the brand, um, should be at the heart of everything that we do in loyalty and the values of that brand should be shared very much in, um, in the way that we think about the, uh, loyalty program. I mentioned words earlier, which I think are really important when you, when you think about words like respect and generosity.

Yes. Treating people, um, the way you treat people in your loyalty program speaks value to what type of business you will be to transact with in, uh, in a day to day environment. Um, and I think you know, the, the might of insight is about getting under the skin and into, uh, more of what makes, um, your brand connect with consumers.

How could you develop and evolve your brand beyond what consumers think about it already by using loyalty? How can loyalty unlock the next layer, the next level of connection? Um, and you won’t ever get there if you don’t have that insight and, um, really work to understand this, uh, this emotional connection, which does now manifest itself so much more in emotional loyalty.

Paula: For sure. And would it be fair to say, Chris, that brand teams in general, they have this insight, like they do understand what their customers are inspired by. So it’s almost like that there is, I suppose, a dual responsibility, between those two departments, so as well for the loyalty team, as you said, not to just focus on the, the, the transactional piece and just, you know, lift and shift and try and drive profitable behavior change. Because I do feel that that’s where sometimes our industry’s given itself a bad reputation perhaps because it’s so effective at doing that.

So it’s almost to take a step back and kind of go, there are brand insights, so we probably need to evolve our program much more closely with that than we’ve ever done in the past.

Christopher: I would agree to an extent. It’s sort of, um, a reserved agreement, I would say, because I’d, I think there are certain things that, where brand teams do have the insight.

Okay. And there are certain times where you need to make a leap. Um, Discovery Health that we talked about earlier in the Vitality Program, I’m sure was not, um, the output of some focus groups where people said, This is what I’d like from my loyalty program, uh, with my health insurance. I think sometimes, um, the insights that sit within brand teams still need to be unlocked in a way that leads to perhaps an unexpected or a different angle.

And that’s where, again, bland loyalty. Yeah. For me, sometimes is a reflection of an expected solution to a loyalty challenge. And what I’d like to see more of is this, this evolved thinking where we take a business model and perhaps look at it through a different prism and understand that there are often, um, opportunities if we’re brave enough to think about things differently.

And, um, loyalty is one of, is is an area for me that is crying out for people, um, to, to be a bit braver.

Paula: Yeah, brave is a brilliant word. And the reason that that was actually resonating with me, Chris, as you said it was, you also used the word love and devotion in your article, and I think that that’s something I’d be curious on your perspective, but, it’s very rare that, um, I’ve been in business meetings where the word love feels appropriate. So , is this something that you think, and I guess you know, it comes with the association of brave you’ve just mentioned. Do you think that’s something that loyalty marketers should be saying?

Christopher: I think a brand is by definition full of human values and characteristics.

If you think about that term love, um, and I think that’s exactly what it is, you know? And my question is, why isn’t loyalty getting as much love? Yeah. Is, is that because, um, it’s seen as too transactional a tool? Or is it perhaps because, um, we haven’t done a good job of unlocking and showing the true value that it can play to brand marketers, um, and I, I do believe that the best brands are obsessed over, are protected, are nurtured, um, and no brand is static, and certainly the loyalty business is far from static. So what a brand beats evolves and changes, and that, that, um, development and that evolution of, um, thinking around the brand and the loyalty aspects of the brand is something that we need to take on board as being an important component of the architecting of a successful solution.

Paula: Do you think it’s a, a measurement problem in some ways, Chris? Because I know you’re talking as well about, you know, how much attention and share of the marketing budget, you know, has, does go to acquisition, you know, activity. And to me that is something that seems to get the high profile activity.

It’s obviously getting all the digital budget and whether it’s TV campaigns or you know, all of that type of activity. Do you think it’s because that’s something that is, um, let’s say better measured or more mature from a measurement perspective, perhaps compared to, you know, how do we actually measure loyalty?

And NPS is obviously the one that we tend to go to, but is there a better measurement, do you think with acquisition? Is that why, as you said, we maybe haven’t done quite a good enough job on selling the, the power of loyalty programs.

Christopher: I think that is part of it. Historically, I think it’s been, um, metrics have been set in the border around new customers.

Customer acquisition, growth of our customer base, increasing and building out our database. I do think, and I, you know, not to, uh, parody a lot of stuff that’s been said around, um, the post covid environment, but I think there’s a lot more up for grants now. I think, um, people have realised the importance of, um, both, um, building and, um, managing the new customers that we have acquired during this period, as well as, um, rewarding and maintaining our loyal, um, core of consumers in our businesses at the same time.

Um, and more and more, um, this, this, um, connection now between the brand and the consumer. Isn’t just between one brand with the evolution of ecosystems in the loyalty space. I think the brand’s role becomes even more important because if the brand isn’t hero and the brand isn’t pulling through really clearly, it will get lost in an e in an environment where, uh, it is leading an ecosystem.

So the, the brand leadership. I think is is more important now than ever.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And you used another term as well, Chris, that, uh, it needs to be a brand beacon. So I think that’s the kind of language I’d love to hear. And again, it’s not the kind of language that loyalty professionals typically use because we’re busy with, with the measurement piece.

Um, so, so that’s something I guess, There’s possibly a job of education to be done. Would you say in terms of, you know, as a loyalty community, do you think we need to be talking about, you know, brand education? To go back to your piece, maybe about the, you know, your own role as, as a fellow with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, do you think there is a gap there?

Christopher: I think it’s, um, it’s important to, when we look at anything in marketing, there is always, um, a nuanced balance of art and science. And in my view, perhaps, um, what I have experienced is that loyalty leans in more to the science end of that spectrum. Yeah. And what I would like to do is suggest that perhaps a more balanced approach, where we see the value of, um, the art piece of that, which is the brand, the, the intangibles. Yeah. Um, and the, uh, science of the KPIs and the metrics playing a more symbiotic role where, um, these things are inextricably linked. Yeah. And, um, the one should not be separated from the other.

Paula: Yeah, for sure. And you’ve reminded me actually when I was leading a loyalty program myself, Chris, and this is now about 10 years ago, but what I was really pleased to see happening, and hopefully you are starting to see it happening as well, was.

We would measure the NPS score, of course, for the brand. But then we did start to measure the NPS of people who are members of the loyalty program. And in that way, I think there was, I suppose a bit of that, what you’re talking about the the art and science piece where you could almost improve the measurability and show the investment in loyalty programs and initiatives and how that overall builds that, that love of the brand.

Absolutely

Christopher: agree. Yes. I think, um, a hundred percent. Right. And you know, as we, as we look out now into the loyalty landscape currently, we know that there is increased customer expectation from, uh, from the programs that they belong to. We know that, Yeah. That also is, is partly driven because there’s a, there’s more customer fatigue around loyalty programs.

There’s so many that, you know, Yeah. There’s statistics out there that people belong to an average of 14 loyalty programs. Um, and you know, the, the smart marketers are using loyalty in a way that they are driving a more competitive environment because they are being more generous with the, uh, the program.

And by more generous, I don’t mean more points, but being more generous in terms of the way that they are, um, opening up a much wider, um, array of experiences for, uh, for their loyal customers. And I think, uh, all of those things we need to, um, we need to have front of mind, uh, as we talk about, uh, the role of the brand and the role of the loyalty program.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Well I do love the research that you guys did as well Chris, so I’ll make sure to link to that in the show notes. And one particular piece that also stuck out for me was where you mentioned some research from Cap Gemini that are whopping 77% of programs based on transactional behaviors. Just, you know, only focusing on that failed within two years.

Christopher: That’s right, . That’s right. That’s, I think, you know, a scary thought for, for people embarking on, uh, on this, this journey of, of loyalty. But, you know, we can’t anymore think of loyalty as a transactional tool that rewards, um, very sort of binary behavior. You buy my product and I give you, uh, points or, or, or something else.

It’s really a strategic asset and I think the program that’s a strategic asset is what will help elevate the conversations, in the boardroom. Yeah. And in with CMO’s to the real importance of this and never more, has that been proven than seeing airline loyalty programs that have been valued more than the airline themselves?

Totally. Um, and yeah, and you know, this, this shows that, um, that done right, uh, there is a huge potential to make the loyalty program a key, um, cornerstone of the, of the business.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. It almost sounds like, uh, loyalty’s time has finally come.

Christopher: I believe that. I really do. And that’s, you know, that’s why, uh, I was excited to enter this world of loyalty, having had, uh, a, a different career as, as we’ve talked about.

Yeah. For me, um, it was, uh, it was a, um, a natural segway, as I say, with, um, so much, um, passion and belief around. The value of brands and the, the roller brand can play as a differentiator. Yeah. And the, the ability of loyalty to accelerate that and to put that, um, differentiator on steroids, I think is, is becoming more, um, relevant in conversations today.

Paula: Well, I love those words, Chris. I have to say, um, on steroids, I think that’s something that we all need. And what I really like I think, is you are bringing a lot of ammunition and you know, things like these statistics we just talked through. I suppose the whole idea of repositioning the loyalty program as a strategic asset is something I think we need a lot of help with.

So all of the research that Collinson has already done again is absolutely fascinating. We’ll make sure to link to that. So, I’m guessing something that you’re gonna be continuing to do in terms of measuring this and the increasing overlap as, as the months and years go on. Would that be fair to say?

Christopher: Absolutely, yes. I think the um, uh, I think research is a really useful tool, um, but I would always say that, uh, it is but one component of a much, uh, richer perspective that that one develops. And, um, yeah, sometimes we use it to gain insight. Sometimes we are using it to, um, to validate what we think to be true.

So certainly, um, we will continue to invest, um, in going out to, to the market. And, um, building and layering more and more context to our, to our perspective.

Paula: Wonderful. Yeah, and I’ve often said actually, Chris, that I really believe that members feel the intention and the integrity of a loyalty program and whether that comes through with the stronger brands, you probably a better judge of that than me.

But you know, I really think it’s very inspiring that we’re going this direction. I think it’s something that, that the world needs to go back to your piece about the humanity. We’ve been through a tumultuous time. Um, we know that consumer behaviors and expectations are changing. So I think this is a very valuable piece of work in terms of helping us understand what’s next and where we can focus our attention and efforts.

Christopher: Thank you, Paula. That’s great. I’m really, uh, really pleased to hear that.

Paula: Wonderful. So that’s all of my questions about the whole idea of bland loyalty. Chris, was there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap up?

Christopher: No, I think, uh, we’ve covered a lot of ground. I hope it’s, uh, it’s interesting and useful for, uh, for your listeners and, um, You know, our, our aim and objective here at Collinson will be to, to build that sort of thinking as we, uh, continue to, to deliver the, uh, loyalty and engagement programs that we do around the world.

Paula: Wonderful. Well, it’s certainly a very inspiring conversation, which is that you know exactly the intention of this show. One final comment from my side is to mention that your article in Bland loyalty is available today on The Loyalty magazine website. Also with a link to read the free Loyalty Leaders research report on The UK Loyalty Landscape.

So I look forward to continuing the conversation. Christopher Ross, President of Collinson at EMEA. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Christopher: Thank you.

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