Today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV features one of our favorite and most frequent guests on the show, Amanda Cromhout.
Amanda is the Founder and CEO of Truth, a loyalty consultancy firm based in South Africa, and she is also well-known to you all, as a host of an episode every month of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Most importantly this year, in 2023, Amanda was recognized globally and voted the International Loyalty Personality of the Year.
Today, Amanda joins us on the show to share the launch of her book called “Blind Loyalty – 101 Loyalty Concepts SIMPLIFIED“, a book which has profound personal meaning for Amanda as she will explain.
I believe it’s a book that will become a bible for loyalty marketing professionals around the world as we increasingly strive for knowledge and global excellence, and we are thrilled that so many insights from “Let’s Talk Loyalty” are mentioned throughout the book.
Amanda’s team in Truth has painstakingly listened to every guest’s answer to our opening question about what is their favourite loyalty program, and her book holds the definite list of answers from our guests over the last 18 months and which programs were answered most often! So, whether you want to simply learn about loyalty in a way that’s truly simplified, or you want to support the Blind Loyalty Trust, or if you’re just curious about whether your program made the list of the industry’s favorites, you are sure to love this show!
Listen to enjoy our conversation with Amanda Cromhout from Truth!
5) Amanda Recognised as the International Loyalty Personality of the Year
6) Watch the full video interview on Loyalty TV
Paula: 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.
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Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV, featuring one of our favourite and most frequent guests on the show, Amanda Cromhout. Amanda is the Founder and CEO of Truth, a loyalty consultancy firm based in South Africa, and she’s also very well known to all of you as the host of an episode every month of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Most importantly, this year, in 2023, Amanda was recognised globally and voted the International Loyalty Personality of the Year.
Today, we’ve invited Amanda on the show to share the launch of her book, which is called Blind Loyalty 101- Loyalty Concepts – Simplified, a book which has profound personal meaning for Amanda, as she will explain. And I believe also it’s a book that will become a bible for loyalty marketing professionals around the world as we increasingly strive for knowledge and global excellence.
From our side here in Let’s Talk Loyalty and now Loyalty TV, we were thrilled to have content and insights from our show mentioned throughout Amanda’s book.
Also, Amanda’s team in Truth has painstaking listened to every guest’s answer to our opening question about what is their favourite loyalty programme, and her book holds the definitive list of answers from our guests over the last 18 months and which programmes were answered most often. So whether you want to simply learn about loyalty in a way that’s truly simplified, or you want to support The Blind Loyalty Trust, or if you’re just curious about whether your programme made the list of the industry’s favourites, you’re sure to love this show.
Please enjoy my conversation with Amanda Cromhout from Truth.
Paula: Amanda, I’m so happy to have you back in the hot seat as a guest on Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV for the first time. Welcome.
Amanda: Thanks, Paula. What an honour. Awesome. Thank you very much.
Paula: It’s exciting times, amanda. I know you’re literally hot off an incredible event there in South Africa yesterday awards and just some incredible sharing of loyalty knowledge, which is what we’re all about in this community. So you’re doing some incredible work and dying to share the latest news and stories of what you are doing and, of course, Truth as well.
So before we get into the story, particularly of the book that you have just written and released, of course, as you know, we always start, even Loyalty TV, talking about our favourite loyalty programme. So you’ve been on the show a couple of times, you’ve given us a couple of different answers and, of course, it’s a moveable feast. So tell us right now, Amanda, what is your current favourite loyalty program?
Amanda: Yeah, I feel a little bit cheeky like changing every now and again, because surely there should just be one favourite, but over a few years I guess I’ve got an excuse to be able to say another one. Yeah, I am going to be incredibly biased and actually talk about a programme I’ve never talked about before, which is the Vodabucks programme from Vodacom South Africa. Why is it my favourite? Because you get rewarded for your accounts, not just for prepaid, so that’s quite unusual.
In Patelco, a lot of them are just for prepaid, so you get rewarded for the monthly account. They also have loads of non-transactional activities encouraging you to watch videos, learn more about their programme, encourage the Springbox and World Cup. Lots and lots of non-transactional activities the way you pay you can get rewarded for. And then my absolutely non-biased but complete bias they do allow redemption. They’ve got an enormous redemption store, but they are allowing redemption into charity and they have very generously put Blind Loyalty as one of their charities. So I’m getting everybody I know uses Vodacom to really, really push their Vodabucks account and we’re seeing phenomenal results, which I’ll share with you, which go straight into charity.
Paula: Amazing Amanda. Well, listen, I mean absolutely Vodabucks. I mean I’ve just heard such incredible things about it and met some of the team, of course, and I know we’re going to be doing an episode, of course, about that again coming up soon. So well done to Vodabucks, I suppose, specifically for this, I suppose very intentional support of you of The Blind Loyalty Trust and I suppose in recognition of a fairly difficult journey, if I’m okay to share that you’ve had over the last 18 months or so. So very much, I suppose.
Amanda, we’re here to talk about this charity that you’ve created. So I think the obvious starting point, of course, is why did you set up this charity? Give us the backstory.
Amanda: I feel like I’ve been sharing this story for a while, but I’m conscious that it’s new news for a lot of people. So last year in 2022, I was struck by a very terrifying three month ordeal which left me temporarily blind in my right eye. I literally woke up on the 9th of March and couldn’t, I could see, but it was so painful I couldn’t open my eyes. The pain was so terrifying that I literally stayed in bed for three months, saw my professional eye surgeon every day and he was so scared about me losing the eye.
But eventually I had two emergency transplants of the cornea and it was a thing called Fusarium keratitis, which is incredibly rare and incredibly resistant, and it gets a big acknowledgement in my book. I’ll explain why in a moment.
But long story short, last time I saw you, I was wearing an eye patch. I’ve only just been able to take the eye patch off because I was blinded by any sense of light, but the good news is I’ve had more surgery and miracles can happen. So I’m seeing through the right eye, which is just amazing, and I do. It does take strain, like yesterday when I was on the stage the whole day. It was really taking strain, but it’s okay, like I’m so grateful that there’s vision and I’m not wearing a patch anymore, with incredible progress.
So, but a terrifying experience. And through that experience I used to sit there thinking how does someone who can’t afford private medical care and the insurance and the drugs required and the emergency transplants the cornea donor cornea was flown in from Florida twice for me. So you can imagine the cost that was covered by insurance all covered out of my pockets. And I spoke to the surgeon and he said the band of the terrifying muses they don’t survive, like the eye would not survive if we couldn’t give you this treatment. And that means essentially that an eye could be cut out just to save the rest of your brain, kind of thing.
So that is why we started The Blind Loyalty to Trust the other trustee. There’s two other trustees, one of which is the surgeon who has helped me. So he already does pro bono work, so he will continue to do his pro bono work. But the trust funds the hard costs. So the hospitalization, the drugs, the cornea being flown in from overseas, so we kind of have the refinement of wireless foolishness. He can actually make a difference now instead of just try with pro bono work, which he was already trying and making a difference, but now we can make real impact. So it came out of a personal story, but it’s grown tremendously in a year. So in the year that we’ve had it, we’ve managed to raise significant funds and now we’re ready to start helping patients.
Paula: Incredible. And as you were explaining the backstory, Amanda, of course I am familiar with it and I do remember the very first time that I saw you after, I guess, the three months in bed, and I remember being shocked at how ill you had been. And honestly, I have to say it was with great joy in my heart yesterday, I saw the pictures on LinkedIn of your event and I saw you, know, standing there looking vibrant and healthy, with no eye patch on. So, so a truly joyful story, amanda, so well. May you continue to recover.
And, as I think about it as well, I guess you know, as loyalty professionals, as you know, obviously, as a host of our show as well, we have a global audience and, I think, a very well intentioned audience, and we do have charity propositions. But not one, I feel, that is so personal to somebody themselves in the industry high profile like you are that personally, you know, I suppose, went through and endured something. So I think that’s why this story is probably resonating so much.
I know you’ve had incredible support from, again, all the sponsors, and we will make sure to mention all of those today because you know you took the initiative to write the story and translate it into something positive, both through the charity, but also, I suppose, it did inspire you to write your book Blind Loyalty, which, as we’re going to talk about, is all about 101 Loyalty Concepts Radically Simplified.
So tell us, how did you go from you know, you know, through this traumatic situation, into such a positive place and choosing to sit down and write a book about our industry?
Amanda: So ironically, ironically, the vision for the book came when I was sick. So it’s almost like out of blindness comes vision. So and I know that’s such a cliche, but actually I can’t express it strongly enough it’s exactly what happened. And when I discussed that with a really close friend of mine, she just went because you stopped for the first time, you stopped doing everything and you had to think because you couldn’t see, you couldn’t read. You have to think.
I’ve wanted to write a book for quite a long time and I joke about it saying the reason I think I’ve never got round to it so why it’s been on my sort of bucket list or my to do list for years is the reason I never got around to it. I kept thinking but why would I want to read a book about loyalty? And then I’m thinking I’m a loyalty professional, I love loyalty, I love the industry, but I don’t particularly want to sit down and read a 300 page book.
So what came to me was you know, we’re in a world where everyone’s swiping their social media pages and we’ve got we’ve got the attention span of five seconds. So I’ve broken it down into 101 concepts and each page is only two pages. So no matter what it is about loyalty, whether it’s redemption, liability, FFP, whether it is how you communicate, how you strategize, what you do with the data, we’ve broken it down into two pages.
And it’s quite tricky to do that because it’s easy to write more than less. I’ve got some brilliant contributors, so it’s not 100% my work. We’ve got some wonderful contributors in the book and a lot of reference to the Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast, because all the brilliant insights that your guests give give your audience. So we’ve been really proud to be able to reference that many times. It’s certainly the most reference data source and it really is the few.
I mean and thank you to you for being one of the reviewers I’ve had four of you reviewing it have all given me the same feedback over what a refreshing concept. Like you can just pick it up and you can read two pages and be on your way, or you can pick it up and read five pages, which is five, or 10 pages, which is five concepts. So I’m really, I’m really proud of the con, of the structure, because I think it’s it’s fresh and it’s new and it’s very easy to consume.
Paula: Totally. You know, and actually you know you’ve reminded me, Amanda, and I’ve mentioned it a few times on the show, so you might have heard me mention this before. But you know, when the internet was invented or at least became mainstream, let’s say 20 years ago, and I certainly always had a passion for usability, which, again, is based on the premise of simplicity.
But the book that I remember being recommended, that I’ve never forgotten the most powerful thing was the title on the front cover, and it was called Don’t Make Me Think, and I think that’s exactly what I treasure as a professional. I think we all feel totally overwhelmed. There’s so much information out there, but how do I actually get to the nuggets of what is super important?
And again, I think the sheer fact that you have 101 topics proves the fact that it’s a complex business. At the end of the day, we don’t want to ever say that it’s not, but the fact you know that you’ve managed to simplify it down to two pages per topic. I can imagine that was super challenging because, like you, I can write pages and pages, but writing less is much harder.
Amanda: What was interesting, though, was if I asked the contributors to give me 300 or 400 words, they wouldn’t. I got pages and pages. I then had to edit. No, that’s not fair. A lot of the contributors did keep within the word count. A lot didn’t, so it was quite a lot of editing.
It’s actually great that you can do it. You can break it down and get the most significant points across, and, as you said, there’s 101 concepts, but actually I don’t think I’ve even touched the surface. Yeah, I honestly genuinely think you could take each of those 101 and half of them. You could write another book on them. So this world we’re working in, Lord see, is complex.
I think the reason it really stood out for me to do this simple approach is I know that our clients with Truth really are just yearning for us to strip the complexity away, and that’s one thing we drive endlessly through. Our consulting is we will make this simple for you. We will take the complexity away, build it up from bottom up, so that it’s got to be simple A for the customer, like we all know, that that’s the thing everybody talks about.
But actually, for you as the professional, you don’t need all this complexity in your life. Let’s make it simple, let’s make it impactful, let’s help you get your, get everything through your organization powerfully. So really, I think, because we work like that in Truth, it was something that came naturally to be able to translate into the book. But it was interesting when I did ask a couple of contributors for 300 words and I literally would get like seven pages. I have to edit it down. Don’t be offended, I’m doing it to everyone.
Paula: Yes, yes, well, they’ll remain nameless for now, but quite amusing. But one thing I have found myself, Amanda, you know, when I have done writing which has been very much an article format, I’ve never sat down and written the book, you know, like you with a vision, end to end.
But what they do say is you know, when you start to teach, that sometimes you learn. So I guess I’m beginning to wonder. I obviously have a favorite chapter because you wrote one all about, Let’s Talk Loyalty, and we’ll get into that for sure. But do you think you discovered new ideas? You know, given your incredible career already in the industry, it is one thing to capture what you know, but sometimes new insights come to mind. So just, I would love if you have any nuggets to share about things that you maybe thought about for the first time through this process.
Amanda: Without question, like you’re absolutely right, it’s such a learning process. So there’s a couple of chapters where I’m less confident, without question. I mean, I’m not, yeah, I don’t have the most experience of anyone in the loyalty industry. So there are quite a few chapters.
Some chapters were super easy to write I literally sat down and it was done in half an hour and others took me days because I had to go off and really search them. And where I really found inside, well, a couple of the contributors I deliberately asked for great contributors in the areas maybe where I definitely know less.
So, for example, Len Laguna speaks about liability and he’s the you know if he’s the world’s expert in liability. Yeah, Evert De Boer, he spoke around the FFP valuations, which is just fascinating especially with the change that is happening in the frequent fly programs. We’ve recently had American Airlines or Emirates and IAG that are all shifting their programs from pure travel rewards to this partnership ecosystem. It’s just dramatically different. So it’s so fabulous to have those kind of contributors.
And then there were other, there were other chapters maybe like fraud, where actually I took advantage of our leaders in Loyalty Summit and I had Cole Walsh from Comarch on the stage and we had a whole discussion about fraud. I’m definitely not the expert. Like I’ve got a lot of experience in it, but I reached out and you’ll see, when you read the book, there’s well, you’ve read it.
But when anyone else reads the book, there’s endless quotes and endless references to the experts around the world. Yeah, really excited to be able to reach out and I’ve launched it to go to a lot of these experts who I didn’t ask their permission for because it’s a quote and they’re attributed to the quote.
Yeah, and say, look, I’ve used you because I believe you’ve added you had more value than words that could come out of my mouth. So from that point of view, you’re right. I think it’s a great learning for me and a complete, wonderful way, in a way, to bring so many experts of the industry in one publication.
Paula: Yeah, yeah, and was it, dare I say, harder than you thought? Was it easier than you thought? I always feel writing a book, you know, is something that many of us, like you said, have on a bucket list, or we want to do it for many years. And then making that decision to sit down and do it. Not something I’ve done.
Now that you’ve finally launched the book, we’re recording today, literally the day after your leaders in Loyalty Summit, where I know you were delighted to give away the book courtesy of the sponsors, and we’ll talk through that now. So how was it, I suppose just as an experience, to sit down and become an author for the first time in your life?
Amanda: The writing of the book wasn’t the hardest, actually. What’s hard is afterwards, when you’ve got to work. We had an incredible gentleman called Jörg who helped us with the publishing and formatting and getting it printer ready. The frustrations come when you’re battling with that kind of thing. He took a lot of that pain away, which is great, but there’s a lot of things you don’t.
The complexity of getting the references right and those little bits and pieces I found frustrating because that’s not my nature to really worry about that kind of thing. It’s my nature to make sure the right people get attributed but to check every single lot. And then you check it. You literally the last week before you had to print I think I read it myself seven times front to back. So it consumed my life for many, many weeks near the end, not the writing, just getting it out. And yeah, I’m grateful to my family because they just every night they just said bye, off, you go.
Paula: Amazing, amazing. And we’ll get into my favorite chapter now, in a minute, Amanda. But before we do, I think which would be remiss if we didn’t, I suppose credit all of the various people who have sponsored or supported the book so far again, it is literally hot off the presses in physical form. I know there’s a hard copy winging its way from South Africa, I think this weekend, so that I will get it in my hands literally next week. So I literally can’t wait to do that.
Of course, you’re also publishing it in digital format on Amazon and in audio format in the coming weeks. But yeah, just I suppose you know, let’s just talk about the kind of support you’ve had from the industry. We’ve already mentioned Votabox, but who else would you like to give a shout out to?
Amanda: Yes, I particularly want to thank. We had our event, as you say. We had some great sponsors, but the platinum sponsor was Comarch. They’re obviously extremely well known worldwide and not only did they sponsor the event but they then reached out and said Amanda, we’d like to buy every delegate a copy. So then we put a beautiful Comarch bookmark inside against their quotations. So they were quoted in the book. And that was a real big deal because it got the book in the hands of every South African loyalty person who attended the event. And from that we were able to generate a lot more sales.
And then we had a, I had a pre-launch not a pre-launch event, but actually a post International Loyalty Awards event with some of the top senior folks around the South African business loyalty business and they and I said you can pre-order. We got hundreds of sales just by reaching out.
So I managed to quote in the book where I saw it appropriate, either South African professionals or global professionals. Like it certainly isn’t a South African book, far, far from it. And but wherever I have reached out and actually attributed to an individual, they don’t necessarily know it yet, because I’m now going to reach out and send them a digital copy and say thank you, anyone who contributed a whole chapter. I’m sending them a physical copy and I’d like yourself and Brian Pearson and Rob McDonald, who everyone knows from IAG. And then we had Bruce Whitfield, who is South Africa’s best and very well known business journalist. You will, you will review it. So for that I’m incredibly grateful.
So there’s so many people who brings you know, there’s a, there’s an expression that it takes a village to raise a child in Africa. It takes a village of loyalty professionals to release a book.
Paula: Well done you. You’ll harness them. So, listen, let’s get into my favorite chapter, as I’ve entered at a couple of times. It was really, I suppose, rewarding and such a joy when you decided, I suppose as part of this book, that you would go back through every single episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty since January 2022. So essentially, 18 months of episodes and you had your team listening to our favorite opening question and, I suppose, compile for the very first time a list of what are loyalty professionals who have been guests on Let’s Talk Loyalty saying are their favorite loyalty programs.
So it’s a wonderful compilation. I think we’ll be doing an awful lot with this list now in the coming weeks and months, now that you’ve done all the hard work. So, first of all, thank you for doing that incredible compilation. Who was it on your team, Amanda, that particularly led on this side?
Amanda: Absolutely. I want to give credit to her. So it’s Ro and my team, she obviously, I listened to most of your podcast anyway, but I don’t scribble down who they said their favorite program was. So Ro, I believe you have my mum was your first question, first person you asked that question to, and he’s South Africa. So we went back to that first episode and then, yeah, she listened through until we got to the 13th of July. We could have kept going because we actually didn’t press print until, but I had to call it otherwise we kept changing the editing. So, yeah, ran until the 13th of July, which got us 100. It’s chapter 100 of 101 chapters and we’ve got 100 favorite loyalty programs from your guests.
Paula: It’s really incredible. So were you surprised about you know one, two or three? I mean, I certainly wasn’t Amanda. So do you want to do random veiling? I feel like doing a drum roll here, but yeah, you want to share what came out top.
Amanda: Of course. Of course, I wasn’t surprised at all, having listened to so many of your shows. I think if I hadn’t listened to so many of your shows, maybe I would have been surprised.
Because I haven’t necessarily heard so many people talking about number one, Starbucks. Starbucks Rewards. So that was absolutely the first yeah. Second was Amazon Prime, which didn’t surprise me at all, and third, Emirates Skywards. I think it’s worth mentioning four and five as well. So we’ve got Emirates Skywards is number three, and then there’s the Lotus Flying, number four, and then Sephora Beauty Insiders, number five.
So, yeah, the names that we hear all the time. In fact, many of them I’ve quoted in the book as well, without even seeing this list. So it was a stunning exercise. What was really interesting is you’ve got pretty much about 19 brands that are mentioned more than once, yeah, and then you’ll see on the adjacent page a long list of 80 plus or minus brands who were mentioned once. So they’re kind of in equal position. We put them in alphabetical order, so there’s no hierarchy involved, yeah, but yeah, it was wonderful. It was a wonderful. It’s a wonderful question that you guys you know, you and guest hosts like myself ask anyway. Yeah, I thought it was worthy, worthy of capturing the top 100.
Paula: Absolutely it’s worthy, amanda, and you know honestly, you know, from our perspective, first of all, of course it’s a, it’s a prospect list for future guests. And when I think, of course, when I think back to when I started the show, I do remember at one point, again probably naively, going, you know, I’m going to run out of programs at some point, it’s going to get repetitive, how will I keep the show fresh? And here we have a list of 100 programs and I won’t say I’m ashamed, but I will say I’m mildly disappointed. We haven’t got four out of the top five on the show as yet, not that we haven’t tried, but we have reached out and a lot of these companies, of course, first of all, are extremely busy.
Secondly, sometimes they they don’t necessarily want to be sharing too publicly. Hopefully, now we’ve earned enough trust over I think we’re at 450 episodes almost now that we can reach out with this added recognition and say particularly, for example, Starbucks Rewards, Amazon Prime, those kind of programs don’t need publicity. But I think, in the spirit of this community I know what we’re all about is trying to get them to share some insights in terms of what they do. So that’s my plug for anyone listening from those programs or anyone connected to those programs to make sure that we do have them on the show.
Because I feel like we’re doing a public service here. Sometimes, Amanda, you know, like, as selfish as it is, you know, like, as you know, I started this show from a place of, you know, just passionate curiosity. So absolutely wonderful. And again, Qantus, doing some amazing work down in Australia, Sephora. So there’s a list I counted of 23 programs and we have had a good representation, but I said plenty, plenty to do. And then there is this incredible list beyond that where they’ve had one mentioned. So really want to say thank you again for compiling that. As I said, we’ll be sharing it very widely and open invitation to all of those brands if they want to come on, of course, Loyalty TV.
So let’s get back to The Blind Loyalty Trust, Amanda. There’s, I know, a lot of ways that people can support you, support this charity. I think you said four different ways, so let’s get into, I suppose, where the book is available, how you’d like loyalty professionals who are listening to the show to think about maybe supporting you on this journey.
Amanda: Thanks, paula. Yeah, I’m unashamedly going to take advantage and try and push the trust. So it’s almost become, this wasn’t my original mission. My original mission was the simply I harness maybe the South African industry, because that’s where I’ve got a lot of colleagues and friends to support the industry. But what became apparent throughout the year and the opportunity I had to chat to everyone at the International Loyalty Awards was this is bigger than that we have and the support I’ve had globally has been phenomenal.
So it’s now my vision, not for any other reason other than to help as many people as possible that blind loyalty becomes almost the CSI beneficiary of the global industry. My, what I’d love to see is that every loyalty professional in the world is wearing a Blind Loyalty bracelets. What was amazing was last week I had two or three different calls with loyalty professionals around the world. One was in London, one was in the States, and both of them were wearing a Blind Loyalty bracelets. And then I saw on LinkedIn Michelle from Antalvo was having a cocktail with someone from Australia in an airport in Australia in Chicago, and she took a photograph of her bracelet saying Amanda, look, I’m wearing the bracelet.
Well, if we can create a movement like that and people being conscious that we can do our jobs, we can still be amazing loyalty professionals, but whilst doing so, we can make a massive difference to a community that can be left blinds without questions. So, so the ways I want the industry to support and none of it requires any efforts other than carrying on doing awesome loyalty activities.
Obviously, if you love, the book will be available 100% of the profits go to The Trust. So I don’t make a single penny from it. Yeah, Truth, doesn’t make a single penny from it. And the hard copies at the moment are available everywhere in South Africa, but they’re not available because of the hard copies simply because of at the moment and I’m trying to find a work around, but the courier costs would actually sink. We would make no profits. There’s no points. Yeah, the digital and the audio.
The best place to find the correct links is always just on amandacromhout.com or blindloyalty.co.za. That is definitely a matter. It’s easy to remember amandacromhout.com and I can get the audio link and the digital book and that is that’s readily available.
So, obviously, if you enjoy the book, what I’ve said to the industry in South Africa please buy 100 copies for all your staff. If your Starbucks, Amazon, Emirates, Qantas, Sephora you’re listed in the top five, buy books for everyone in the business so you can brag about where you sit in the in the ordering order. Everyone spends money on corporate gifts, let’s do it this way.
We have the most beautiful bracelets that are designed with Blind Loyalty is a lovely little logo that says Blind and Loyalty. So we’re in the loyalty industry so you can use actually create employment for a community in South Africa anyway.
But if you’re a retailer, you can sell them in your store, as they sell so well here in South Africa and I’ve seen them globally like you can pick up at the at the point of sale, or use them at your conferences or as giveaways internally. So some of the examples we have is as a conference we’ve we’ve used them to co brand with sponsors. I’m attending a couple of conferences coming up and the sponsors are willingly contributing so we can put their logo on this and we give away and always say, please, rather give this away than some red, full plastic thing that no one cares about. So I don’t want to be rude about where it’s manufactured or anything, but this has got meaning.
And so we’ve got examples from the Vodacom who’ve used it to celebrate their third birthday. So they’ve given it away to 2000 staff rather than some awful gift. The Foschini Group are giving it away to all of their call centre staff for Black Friday and co-branded it, and it just looks absolutely beautiful. So that’s how these bracelets can make a difference.
The other way is through Redemption. So I know there’s some incredible programs in the world and we’ve got a couple of chapters in the book that talk about sustainability. I’ve got Charlie Hills as a contributor for sustainability, where we’ve already seen some great brands doing stunning work for the community via their loyalty program. So Redemption of your loyalty points. If you’re looking for a new beneficiary, please consider Blind Loyalty. It’s simple. We’ve already set it up, as I said earlier on Vodabucks, and in two months that program alone has managed to contribute so much more than so many other activities we’ve tried to initiate, because they’ve got an incredibly engaged base, an incredible large number of customers who can redeem their Vodabucks. So we would love to be the redemption partner of any loyalty program in the world. We’re not going to be picky there because it’s free money to the Trust.
The other way that is less sustainable but it’s interesting is some of you know I do crazy things like insurance events. If you are running a park, run that’s five kilometers. If you’re running whatever it is, you can become a Blind Loyalty hero. We’ve had folks all over the world already do that. So if you’re interested in that, I will gladly hold your hand through the process. It’s fun. We just raise money and the money goes straight to the Trust.
So obviously we accept corporate donations and we’ve had some really generous donations, straight off the back of the International Loyalty Awards. The Prime sponsor there, Nayax, Coinbridge, generously donated. I certainly don’t turn that away. I’m so grateful for it. Corporate donations are hard right. Everybody’s asking corporates for money, so that’s probably our least sustainable channel.
The others keep doing what you’re doing. Keep redeeming points. If you’re doing events that so many events we will go to, please consider the Blind Loyalty Trust bracelets. Like our friend Sarah in Australia, she had the bracelets at her event in Australia. I got on a call recently with the Asia Pacific Loyalty Awards and folks were wearing them and talking about them. So it really is creating awareness and a bit of a movement.
Paula: Yeah, I love that word, Amanda. No shortage of ambition, of course, and I was just reflecting. Actually, I remember talking some time a long time ago with somebody in a charity and they were talking about, again, the fundraising challenges, and they were talking about, you know, how much money it costs to keep their offices open and their executives employed, and I really felt uncomfortable because I knew that was true to operate and support what they were doing.
What I feel is different about yours is it’s going directly to a human who either will or will not be able to see if you can support them with your incredible surgeon, who I know prefers to remain anonymous but nonetheless has saved your sight, and so we have to give a shout out to him for being a remarkable human. And this is again what I feel like the Blind Loyalty Trust is doing is making a measurable difference to somebody who has, you know, potentially suffered like it, like you did. So very powerful stuff, amanda. Yeah, something else you want to mention.
Amanda: Yeah, thanks, Paula, just on that. So we have zero. The only cost that comes out of Blind Loyalty that doesn’t go to a beneficiary is, very simply, some legal costs that it took to set us up as an NPO or as a, you know the legal costs we’ve spent them already because it’s just all the administration to be registered officially. Some dreadful bank charges that we have to pay, sorry to the bank.
Paula: Yeah, has to be done. Yeah.
Amanda: And that’s that’s it. Like if we buy the bracelets, so Truth bought, Truth paid for the entire print run of the bulk and then, once those costs are recovered, 100% of the profits go straight across to the Trust. We buy these bracelets and then 100% of the profits go back to the Trust. So there’s no running costs. It’s myself and the Truth team are helping me row, particularly with the admin, yeah, and other members of the team are doing some of the marketing.
It’s just part of the Truth sort of portfolio because it fits with loyalty. It’s not a separate function. It’s that’s what I’m trying to encourage the loyalty industry at large to say, it doesn’t have to be a honorous, annoying goodness. We have to do this. It’s going to take work and efforts. Actually it doesn’t.
Paula: No, you’ve made it on.
Amanda: A redemption by an awesome loyalty book. And you and you’re going to give away something at your event. Choose the bracelets.
Paula: Yeah, something meaningful, my goodness. Yeah. Well, listen, it is an inspiring story, Amanda, as always. I’m really thrilled that we’ve been able to share the story. As I said, with the book literally coming hot off the presses and we were going to do, of course, our usual podcast and audio, but I felt like we needed to see you with you know, no, I patch and have the full loyalty TV experience. So, again, I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to record with you on video today for the global community.
The only other piece I wanted to maybe mention, I know your husband had a role in naming the Trust, so and maybe just wanted to mention a little bit about that piece and then anything else that you think our audience should know about the book, about the Trust or about Truth, before we wrap up?
Amanda: Oh, thanks Paula. Theo is very creative and he just said to me and way before, Blind Loyalty, the book became a reality. And when we started to talk about the Trust, he just joked because of loyalty, yes, when you should call it Blind Loyalty. And I was that that’s ridiculous, I can’t do that.
And then it’s sunken and I was like, wait a minute, the pun, the pun here is really powerful. So actually the last chapter of the book is my definition of Blind Loyalty and actually, if you do, if you Google Blind Loyalty, it’s almost the opposite of how I describe it in the book. Okay, if you Google it and get any any internet definition, you basically get it’s almost loyalty to a level of idiocy. Just being stupid, you don’t care, you don’t think about it.
And I’m saying the two examples I give of my Blind Loyalty go to a my surgeon, because it doesn’t matter what anyone says, I would never shift. Yeah, number two actually to my financial advisor who helped me get the required insurances that is complex, like it was so complicated to get the required insurances that we pay for every month, but gets getting that to actually kick in properly, not because there was anything wrong with the companies involved. It was just we had to go through extreme, complex cases. So that’s my definition of blind loyalty to Dr. A yes, who actually his surname is a, and Mr. B, who’s surname is B. I talked about both of them in the book in chapter 101.
Yeah. So Truth, my company carries on. We are a loyalty consultancy but we are very much known for what we do, so we carry on. But BlindLoyalty is, as a Trust sits independently I’m the Founder and the Trustee, but it is very much an independence entity.
And the book is just the product now that can make money for the Trust and actually for Truth, that’s good, you know. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not good from a loyalty consultancy level of capability point of view, it’s great tool for us to give to our clients as gifts or to sell to our clients.
Paula: Yeah, absolutely yeah, and even from a positioning exercise. Again, your knowledge has grown, industry knowledge has grown, and it is a wonderful contribution to the loyalty industry.
So, listen, that’s all I have for you today, Amanda. As always, it’s a joy to have you on the show, whether you’re a guest or a host, and it’s always incredible to have these conversations. I wish you continued success, both with Truth, of course, as a consultancy, particularly with the book, and we’ll, of course, make sure to link in the show notes. Of course, both on our YouTube channel on Loyalty TV and, of course, on Let’s Talk Loyalty will make sure that people can access where to buy, download or listen to the book as and when.
So I just want to say again, a huge congratulations on all that you do. Amanda Cromhout, Founder and CEO of Truth, thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV.
Amanda: Thanks Paula, thank you.
Paula: This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer, the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which is already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.
For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org.
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