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. This episode is brought to you by Collinson. The pandemic has introduced major disruption to our lives and spending habits, and these shifts are having a distinct impact on customer’s loyalty to your brands. As experts in customer engagement and loyalty Collinson can help you to harness your data for deeper customer understanding and adapt your customer strategy to successfully navigate uncertainty so that your loyalty program will continue to drive engagement and deliver new revenue streams.
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Make every interaction count, visit Collinson group.com to learn more for today’s interview. I was delighted to be joined in studio by Priyanka county director for south Asia and commercial director for middle east and Africa with Collinson Priyanka. And I had met a number of years ago when Colin sun’s global loyalty agency was known as ICL P in 2018 ICL P rebranded to Collinson following the consolidation of the company’s loyalty, travel experiences, insurance and assistance businesses.
1m 39s
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And today Collinson has 17 offices operating across 13 countries worldwide. In this discussion, Priyanka shared some incredible insights of loyalty being done extremely well. Some challenges. We have running programs in the middle east as well as some fantastic suggestions for loyalty managers worldwide on the next big ideas for our industry. Some of these are just beginning to emerge and others are already being used by brave brands to differentiate themselves and try something new in this pandemic and post pandemic world. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Priyanka county to let’s talk loyalty.
2m 27s
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So Priyanka, please tell me, what is your name? Favorite loyalty statistic.
2m 32s
3

So it’s funny, right? Because being in the loyalty industry, you always have people asking me two types of questions. One is that does loyalty work. Okay. The second is about, which is your favorite loyalty program, which is the most successful, right? So, so I think I’ll, I’ll try and address it in those two ways. I think there’s enough stats out there to tell, you know, loyalty works. If you look at Amazon, you look at Starbucks, you look at Tesco, they all talk about how members spend four times more, three times more, sometimes even nine times more. Right. I think there’s enough stat out there to show that loyalty does work when done correctly. But I think one stat that really caught my interest recently was the one in Harvard business review that talked about that the loyalty leaders, core revenue two and a half times faster than their counterparts.
3m 25s
3

And I think this is quite significant given that the currently the race that’s on in terms of owning the customer experience and that being the ultimate battleground. Yes. It’s not just about saying that I’ve got loyalty, right. Well, but how soon have you got it? Right. Right. So I think that’s very critical as well. So to those who are still wondering and thinking about, should I do a lot of the programs then meanwhile, he started to look at, and for those who are talking about, you know, which is the best program out there and which is the one that really drives and what do you think success means? And I think this is where I put on a bit more of a diagnostic mindset. Okay. Brilliant. And I don’t think there is one program that’s right.
4m 6s
3

For all. It’s hard to see it from the point of views is the program right. For the customer. And then is it right for the business? And that balance is what co is what I define as a successful program. So I would look at what is the penetration of the program in terms of the brand’s turnover. And the second thing we look at is what is the breakage of the program? Now, breakage is a key stat that always people think about breakage and they think liability, oh, but that’s really for my finance guys, why do I need to look at it? Right. But I think it’s critical for loyalty marketeer to ensure that the breakage is not too high, because if it is too high, what it reflects is that your program isn’t really being used by your members.
4m 52s
3

Right. And that sort of defeats the purpose of the future potential. And so on that it can have, so these are the two key ones I would say. Okay. But I look at
5m 2s
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Brilliant and I love the perspective you have Priyanka. And I was looking at your own website actually. So, you know, incredible, in fact, you know, a billion dollars worth of revenue, 1400 bank clients, 90 plus airlines, 20 plus hotel groups and 400 million plus consumers.
5m 19s
3

So a bit of perspective there, that’s amazing. I mean, I consider myself very fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to spend two decades of my career with Collins in working with these leading brands in the region, helping them achieve their, the, you know, their goals in terms of building their best, most profitable, their relationships with their most profitable customers. So, so I feel very fortunate and I think what sets Collinson apart is as you’ve highlighted, you know, it’s not just about designing programs and running programs for our clients, but we ourselves run and operate the world’s largest lounge program called priority. And that’s probably the reason you also see that we have direct relationships with our customers as well.
6m 5s
3

So we are very well entrenched in the travel sector. And we understand that quite intimately because we are a travel business in that aspect, but what really adds value to our customers is that in doing so, we understand our massive fluent and affluent traveler segment really well. Right. Which to any brand, whether you look at a retail brand or a financial services or the others, your ultimate, most profitable customer is that same customer.
6m 29s
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Of course. Absolutely. Yeah. And I’d love to just pick up on the breakage point. Priyanka, because I do think is one of the ones that I think throughout most of my career, I really struggled with and there is the debate where the loyalty people are often driving, you know, the engagement, the redemption, the usage with the very clear vision of the added value. Whereas the finance people are kind of going well, hang on a second. That’s a very expensive strategy. So what would you say would be, you know, a good breakage. So I know you do lots of airlines. I know you do lots in retail, but like if you were brought in with your diagnostic hat on to, to assess, let’s say the performance of a program, you’re not looking at where at what point would the alarm bells go off?
7m 12s
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Would you say, you know, just in terms of percentage of usage, putting it on the spot now, and just off the top of your head,
7m 19s
3

You know, I mean, as you’ve rightly said, Paula thinks the breakage stats to vary from industry to industry, right? If you look at retail in particular, you look at supermarket retail, you would expect the breakage to be super lower. And the reason I would say that is because it’s an everyday need product, and there’s no reason for your members to earn points and miles or rewards and not be able to use them. Right? So if you, if you have, if you’re not in the north of 60, 70, 80, plus, there is definitely something wrong with the product, good food. But when you look at more travel based programs, those are slightly different because this travel, while I may have accumulated my points or my miles during my flights and everything, there may not be a need for an eminent travel, not being availability.
8m 5s
3

You know, there’s a limitation in terms of inventory and the Atlas as well, which drives some of the things, the targets there. We probably don’t look at in as aggressive a way as you would look at some of the mass retail industries or financial services, even in, for that matter. Right? And that’s where we seeing a big segway, because all programs are beginning to realize that if my members are not using one of the most reasons why they join the program, that that’s a challenge. That means my ability to be able to influence my ability, to be able to drive that two and a half times faster revenue, my ability to test and learn and do all of those other things that loyalty, successful loyalty programs bring with them will be fairly limited.
8m 48s
3

So a growing trend that we’re seeing is a lot of brands embracing of redemptions outside of their, Ooh. Okay. So you do, you know, see in a lot of the airline programs, for example, and I’ll quote at the add guest more as the one that we have recently onboarded onto our redemption platforms, where you can redeem your at the art guest miles for a number of different merchandise. And you can the, I think that in a recent interview that Kim had as well with you, she talked about how they had onboarded redemptions as being one of the key tactics they use to drive engagement during the pandemic.
9m 29s
3

So it’s been a real asset to these programs where they have leveraged it to drive obviously a lower breakage. They’ve used it to drive engagement during the dark period, but they have also ensured that they using it to drive more emotional loyalty.
9m 44s
2

Wow. And you know what that’s really reminds me of Priyanka. And it’s a point I make a lot of the time on the show, but it is around the integrity of the program. So, you know, for Eddie had guests to say, okay, you might not be able to travel for who knows how long or wants to. And, but here’s another way that we can add value because you’ve earned it. So let’s give it back. So to me, there is a huge discrepancy probably historically, hopefully everybody is kind of catching up as you said, but this whole idea of, we want these people to be loyal to us, but you know, at what point do we realize we have to be loyal back to them. So, so that’s a beautiful example. Yeah, exactly.
10m 21s
3

And you know, when you look at some of these redemption opportunities, and if you really look at those initiatives to try and drive it as a real asset to your program. So as an example, you know, in, in one of our stores, you had the Sony PlayStation that was launched, right. And it was, it was available only on e-commerce idea. It wasn’t even available in stores. And we made it available on some of our redemption platforms, which meant those brands were able to go to their customers and really created a happy, massive message about, you know, here’s your chance to use your points to get you something that you, others don’t have or can’t get total until they actually use this thing. So I think it’s how you leverage these assets to try and drive all of those other objectives that you have out of your loyalty program.
11m 7s
2

You know, what’s very clever about that strategy Priyanka as well, because, and I don’t know, you know, how it all works operationally, but I can imagine if I was the PlayStation brand owner, what would I want? Yes, of course, to get into stores where people are waiting first, but what about the media and the marketing value of having a beautiful broad, like, as he had telling everybody how, how, you know, exclusive, you can get that product in the store. So, so I love that kind of benefit for the brand or for the product as well. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Wow.
11m 35s
3

Yeah. And then it, it allows you to take them, you know, so if you look at a banking and a finance program, right. I mean, very few of us really get excited about a bank I’m afraid. So it’s a very functional need that fills in everything. So I think particularly in financial services programs, leveraging this kind of a value that helps you create the aspirational aspect that you wouldn’t be able to create just by using your brand. So I think that those are, they are great assets to tap into. Lovely.
12m 4s
2

Lovely. Yeah. And you mentioned emotional loyalty, Priyanka, and again, that’s something that comes up on the show a lot of the time, are you hearing a lot of brands ready for that, as you said, aspirational or emotional aspect, and moving beyond that, the functional stuff we’ve been doing in the past.
12m 20s
3

Yeah. I think most brands are getting to that point where, you know, it’s, it’s been a long debated topic, so I don’t think it’s a new one. And if you go back to really, really back when loyalty existed, but in a very different way where you went to your crossover, because you knew the person and, you know, he knew you and when you were shopping there, he would talk about, you know, how’s the family and how’s your kids and how your things and stuff, right. That got replaced with this mass form of loyalty. So it is, you know, and brands have tried to obviously tackle it through personalization through, you know, almost to the segment of one, two or hyper personalization should I say and everything, but there’s still that portion in terms of the humanization of it.
13m 0s
3

All right. And how do you combine and bring that element into it? And I think that’s critical to that emotional loyalty. And as we all know that the next set of consumers who are coming into the fray right now, the millennials and the gen Z and the others are more about the experience and more about that emotion that you strike than just a functional relationship you have. Absolutely. So my, my view on this, on the, on emotional loyalty is there are some brands that I’ve seen that who often think emotional loyalty means associating with the cause, and that’s where it starts and stops or, or the thing emotional loyalty is that, you know, selecting a select few customers and doing something personal for them.
13m 43s
3

Whereas I believe emotional loyalty is a little bit more than that. It is really bringing it in your day to day and into every way that you speak about the program. So something very functional, very basic can be made emotional if you really apply it in the right way. An example I’d like to code is a bank, a leading brand here, you know, in the middle east. And I remember my relationship manager calling me up, you know, a few weeks before my birthday and proactively telling me about that. You’ve got X number of miles sitting into your account, you know, and we’ve got fantastic ways in which you can use it.
14m 23s
3

You know, you can use for shopping at Harvey Nichols, you can use it for redemption for these restaurant vouchers. So if there’s anything that you feel that, you know, we can do to help you out and everything, I’ll be helping able to organize that for you or for you to just, you know, log onto our website and be able to claim your redemption. And I think just the timing, the relevance of it and everything, I think that creates a very simple incentive, totally initiative than most programs have, but it’s just how you’ve utilized it to recognize that again, these are the brands she shops at because you can see my financial data knowing that I have so many points and you can actually make a good redemption out of it. Right. So I think it’s just that personalization that, that humanization of it as well, that you could do is really brings that emotional loyalty to it’s too selfish.
15m 10s
2

Do you know Ansel, many people Priyanka say, you know, they talk about relevance and, and very rarely do I hear such a clear example of somebody and we know, obviously it’s not possible to call every single customer and so great that you have that relationship manager, but to go the extra mile. And I think creating awareness of your entitlement is also something I’ve not heard before because, and it, and it reminded me. I just made a note here. It happened in my local supermarket. So it’s not a big brand here in the middle east, but again, I’m quoting like my husband’s loyalty number all of the time wondering kind of what will we ever get anything. And again, kind of too busy to ever go and do the homework and check myself.
15m 52s
2

But then a couple of months ago, somebody at the till said, by the way, are you aware you’re entitled to a reward. So this is how you go about doing it. So, so I think a lot of loyalty programs miss that handholding step. So you know that, and I’m sure somebody mapped it out in a framework, but clearly, you know, you’ve experienced it and I’m sure you’re telling all of your clients, but that first redemption is, and the real moment of truth that you kind of have to bring through. Yeah,
16m 17s
3

Absolutely. I mean, even, you know, for brands, like, for example, when we talk about visa or MasterCard, right, they don’t have the direct relationship with the consumers. And I think equally they have this opportunity. So I’ll quote, another example, which was, I was at having nickels and debating between two pairs of shoes, which one to take with the sales lady was obviously helpful. She was like fantastic, thick the boards, you know, and it was getting to the point I’m like, I really do like the more than I do want to take them both, but I had set my mind that, okay, my budget is for one. So I’m going to take one. And I went to the cashier and it was about, you know, settling my bill and I was using my visa card.
16m 58s
3

So when I swiped it and everything, they said, you know, you have X number of rewards available if you want to redeem it, the second suit, but it’s really bringing it to the forefront where at the time, and at the moment of the experience as well. So I think it’s awareness, it’s awareness of what your entitlements are and then it’s, how do you make that? And how easily do you make them available as well? Right. Sure. Yeah. Another area that I do think that often brands miss is that the, the leave a lot of this communication to the very end miles or points are almost about to expire. And then two weeks before that you get a communication saying, by the way, if you don’t use it up in two weeks and gone, oh my God, it’s horrifying because it actually creates so much stress because all of a sudden you feel like you’ve done all this work and all of a sudden your thinking caps are on and you’re thinking, okay, how am I going to use this?
17m 53s
3

And where do I use it? And what’s the best value. And I just feel it’s such a negative experience. Yeah, totally. Right. So, so I think there’s a, there are lots of opportunities in the simple aspects of the program. Even if you, before you do the bigger initiatives to really drive value and be relevant and really connect with your clients. Totally.
18m 11s
2

And also what I love, what you just talked about there is that person at the point of sale and was clearly very well-trained. So, and I’ve often said on the show, I really resist loyalty programs if they’re badly executed. So I might see them and professionally be interested in joining, but unless somebody in a store can articulate why I should join, I kind of feel like they don’t deserve my loyalty, that loyalty manager who built this program, obviously haven’t trained them very well. So, so I love that example. That’s amazing.
18m 41s
3

Yeah. Thank you. Great. Cool. And because
18m 44s
2

We are both in the middle east, and again, you’ve already mentioned two decades with, with the Collinson group under its various brand names. What would you say the middle east does? Well, and again, you’ve got lots of airline clients. You’ve got lots of retail clients. I’d love just to showcase because lots of my listeners are actually in the United States, so they wouldn’t know how loyalty works in this part of the world. So I’d love to give you a perspective. You’ve worked with so many of the programs here.
19m 9s
3

Yeah. So, so middle east has been quite different compared to some of the other markets. And I say that because in many markets you’ll see normally a prevalent coalition currency. Right? Sure. You will see, for example, if you go to UK, you have nectar, you go to, to Canada, you’ve got air miles, you know, so you’ve got different variations of these coalition programs, but while there are some softer, lighter versions of those such programs in this particular region, if you look at it, the programs here, each one of them is quite sizeable and it’s usually run and operated by a very large business holding and a group, right?
19m 49s
3

So they are into multiple industries and into multiple verticals. So you would say one program that is actually a retail program as well, but it also needs to be an FNB program. It also needs to be an entertainment program. It also needs to be a shopping mall program, right? So you’ve got that unique aspect to loyalty in this part of the world that probably isn’t as big in the other parts. And I think in some ways it’s allowed, it’s allowed clients and brands to really leap frog into that, bringing that really high value proposition to the consumer, where they can paint a very good story to say that you honor these places you can redeem at these places and you can do all of these things.
20m 30s
3

Right. But I think the opportunities still exist in terms of that while you’ve got intrinsically a coalition style, which is the benefits of having multiple sectors into it and the insights and the data that tell you what your customers are doing with you. I think there’s real opportunity for these brands to really look at how do I get a far better and a more rounded view of my customers beyond just what they do with me. Right. And that’s a unique problem to them because in the other markets and regions, if there was a brand who wanted to do that, okay, I’m a retailer, I’ll go and, you know, join hands with partner with somebody who is not a conflicting thing.
21m 13s
3

Right. So it was easy. And then I would get a more rounded view and stuff. You’re I think there’s real challenge because who do I go to? Who’s non conflicting. Totally. And I think this is where linking things to, you know, to your financial services or having card linked to rewards is probably a good way to tackle that particular problem where yes, you have behaviors in your, this thing, but getting your customers to give them the opportunity to link their membership with a credit card or your co-brand card so that you can actually see everything else beyond as well that they do with that thing is probably a nice way for these brands to learn deeper. And I think country to several years ago where, you know, collecting data and understanding data and how do we mine data was a challenge today we’ve moved, you know, a big, we’ve taken big leapfrogged into that stage where data is now easily available.
22m 9s
3

We have technology that’s easily available. And, you know, the recent McKinsey’s study was just showing that 75% of the consumers have changed their behaviors in the past, in the past year due to the pandemic. But it has allowed brands to really understand them quite quickly because they were either geared up already gearing up towards that transformation. For sure. So given all of these things, you’ve already got the tools there, which means that making, using not just your data, but the beyond your industry data is really the critical aspect in terms of the next battle. Okay. And the next asset that you need to create.
22m 46s
2

Okay. We heard it here first time. No, it’s, it’s absolutely true. And I did one research study last week in terms of an interview, and I’m doing a very big one also today, in fact, recording and the whole concept around share of words, exactly what you’re talking about. Priyanka. That’s exactly what I think largely programs around the world need to understand. And just again, for listeners who might be familiar with the groups here, I’m trying to think, I think there’s at least while three or four big kind of programs, as you said, that are within a holding company that offer the breadth and depth of potential. But I do also think there’s still a bit of a brand challenge for them, whereas they might lead with, you know, some incredible retail brands, but actually the loyalty brand hasn’t been communicated to the extent, perhaps.
23m 38s
2

So I do think that that’s an opportunity as well. Yeah, indeed.
23m 41s
3

I think, I think the loyalty brand is, you know, for a lot of these companies, they’re different independent brands, whether it’s retail, whether it’s automotive and the others obviously do their job in terms of what they’ve been doing for a number of years, the loyalty program is the only thing that has brought all of it together. And the ability for the group to be able to position to say, this is everything that I offer to you. Yes. And we’ve seen some successful initiatives that people have taken. So I think the fact that they have, many of them have chosen to give their loyalty programs and different brand to the group brand has really helped because it allows it to give it an identity and allows it to disassociate with one particular brand within the group.
24m 23s
3

But I think in terms of really leveraging it and doing the last one in terms of the communications, in terms of the prominence, in terms of be the ownership in terms of the marketing of that brand and everything it encompasses has been fairly limited. I think there’s certainly a big opportunity there for brands to really leverage their programs, to create that fantastic story that they have to say to their consumers.
24m 47s
2

Yeah. And you reminded me as well. And it’s just something I feel, I suppose, very passionate about having discovered the power of podcasting. I really believe that a big opportunity for all programs is not even just the brand piece of the loyalty program, but the style of communication. Like I, again, had a show on here recently and it’s a beauty brand and they have a podcast in Australia and I was blown away by that. I was like, that’s a very innovative way for a loyalty program or even for the brand, actually it’s not just within the loyalty program. So I think you’re absolutely right there. The brands here they’ve created that cohesive piece, and now there’s a big opportunity to explain it
25m 25s
3

Marketer, to really take it to United, to explain what it means, what are the benefits into, and then some is also to bring that relevance. Right? So to the topic that we were discussing earlier with a lot of these well, with a lot of these programs, they’ve become a lot more about mass communication. So you’re hearing about everything in anything that level of personalization still hasn’t come to the point where, you know, me intimately, you talking to me on a one-to-one level. And I think that’s a real opportunity with them to be, to be truly intrinsic to everything that gets communicated to the group. I think they still work in silos. So you will receive communication from one of the total brands, which will have no association to anything to do with the loyalty program.
26m 7s
3

And so I think keeping loyalty at the center of the, of the organization at the center of all your decision-making in the center of all your customer relationship is quite critical. If you really want to see it as a full asset. And I, and I, I do think people understate loyalty sometimes. You know what I mean? If you, every time, if you, if you look at airline programs in the U S you know, they are the assets that they have created with their frequent flyer programs, to the extent where 80% of the points in the miles that are on in the program are funded by partners, you know, to the extent where these programs far more profitable sometimes than the actual airline itself, we’ve seen it in the case of Quantas.
26m 48s
3

Right? Yeah. And we’ve seen the recent use of where people have used those assets truly to take out more cages, right. So in terms of fully evaluating it and seeing what it is, the true book value of those programs, and that’s the potential you have. And that’s the reason if I think the other industries have got a lot to learn from is that if you do not make it in the front and the center of your business, that’s the opportunity you’re losing. It’s not just that one single relationship. It’s the two assets that your business has. You’re not leveraging that. Yeah. Yeah. Completely.
27m 21s
2

Well, I can see how your clients must love hearing this Priyanka, because I think as loyalty professionals, we all feel it, or perhaps frustrated and maybe don’t are articulated sufficiently powerfully as you’ve just done. And it’s the first time I’ve heard that incredible statistic of 80% in the U S for example, of an FFP might come from, from partner points. And if we can explain that again, in this region or anywhere we’re doing business as loyalty professionals, that just shows where we’re probably just tip tip of the iceberg at the moment. Exactly.
27m 50s
3

Yeah. You know, I mean, another thing initiative that that is, again, what looking into is that something we did with Emirates. Okay. So in the last year, obviously with the pandemic, again, as most airlines are, you know, Emirates had the challenge in terms of people are not flying and customers are not flying, and if they’re not flying, they’re not earning. And if they’re not earning miles, then obviously it puts a lot of things at risk for a buyer for a brand, right. It’s their future revenue potential totally. Besides the customer engagement as well during that period. Right. So why would they call brands, pay what they pay to the airlines? If the customers are not flying and they’re not engaging. So you really have a need to protect both from a business and commercial reason, point of view, but also from your customer’s point of view.
28m 35s
3

So with that in mind, you know, they launched here, we helped them launched an on-ball almost 50 brands onboarded onto her. Nice. So yes, you’re not flying, but that doesn’t mean we are not loving. Right. So let’s make it, you know, let’s add scoured miles for all your shopping that you do, whether it’s an H and M there’s got Bloomingdale’s and we’ve got stores in the UK, the us, and now more recently in the UAE, we’ve won boarded about another 50 brands or do it. So I think that’s a, that’s an excellent opportunity again, for brands to really look at ways in which they can drive and further this engagement, because all of this goes to add up to the value of your program total in Zuma and trickiness.
29m 17s
2

Yeah, that’s definitely. And in that example, Priyanka and the Emirates mall is that for offline retail, for example, in H and M or online is such an affiliate model, or is it the offline? So, so
29m 27s
3

The, the model we have onboarded for them right now is the affiliate model, because it allows us to get these brands onboarded quite quickly. And it gives full flexibility to the, to the, to the members to go and shop for whatever they like. It’s not restricted to certain merchandise, anything. So you just go online and you shop. And I think given the given again, the recent pandemic, you can already see that online behaviors have improved significantly, right. I mean, it has done for the e-commerce industry, what it couldn’t do for 10 years, right.
29m 57s
2

Overnight success, 10 years in an overnight
29m 59s
3

Success. I don’t think these learned behaviors are going to change. Right. Most of these behaviors are going to stick on, we’ve changed fundamentally in the baby or the grocery is that changed fundamentally in the way we shop. Right. So I think that’s going to stay on. So I think it’s a step in the right direction with less operational challenges that you would have to do if you are talking about partnership and custom partnerships for each and every one of you. Yeah.
30m 23s
2

Yeah. Cause I’ve, I’ve done that. And that is that, is it
30m 27s
3

Yeah. 50 brands in there without the affiliate model onboarding, that would probably be a good 10 years to, to get them live up and running with everything working. Right. But in this model, it’s allowed them to do this in a matter of three months.
30m 41s
2

Oh my goodness. Okay. Well, I’ll definitely go and check that one out. And my other favorite one that Emirates have done as well, Priyanka, because I was just reviewing the show I did with Emirates with Dr. Najib last year. And I really love how that the skywards currency is fully integrated in the core booking engine. So as long as I identify myself and log in and I can either do the cash plus miles, which again, I’m sure all the U S carriers have probably had for a very long time, but I think it’s the first time I’ve actually been able to see immediate value to make a par payment. And that journey is just incredible. And,
31m 14s
3

And it speaks highly of exactly why the data is not coming back to a whole point around breakage, right? Why is it, if you look at leading brands, if you look at leading programs, they are interested in redemption. They interested in the moment. It will because they have realized the value that it generates when you do that. And I, and having this fully incorporated addresses a number of challenges, right? One is about awareness. So even if customers weren’t aware that they could do all of these other redemptions, but if you are in your booking pot and you are booking a ticket and it asks you the question there at the right time. So it brings that awareness as well. And then obviously the redemption that is the desired behavior that we need and making it as available and as accessible because you know, it is the hard-on currency and members are working hard, very hard to work towards, you know, deviating a bit from the, from the currency side of it.
32m 9s
3

I think one of the other things that is quite important as well, and gets questioned a lot is the role the benefits play, you know, and our members in the programs is everybody appoints chunky. And there’s everybody in this program for that. And should we do points? So should we do benefits? And which one is more important than the other is again, a key thing. And I think again, some programs have done that really well, as we were talking about the millennians and the experience economy, that totally right. It is all about the experience I have with the brand. So while points, rewards, incentives are very important. It is equally important in terms of what relevance are you giving to them in terms of benefits?
32m 52s
3

I’ve had conversations with say airlines, in some instances where they’ve said on this particular sector, we have a lot of passengers who are really interested in the excess baggage and that big key benefit, of course, at the same time, you know, it’s benefits like upgrades being the most desired. I mean, I’ve, I’ve had friends, you know, and, and, and social environments and everything that they’ve talked about, you know, you know, it always starts about Africans. So many miles in, this is what I’m going to do. And I got my free flight tickets and everything. And when you speak to them about, okay, what caused you to really change your behavior? What got you to really do something different that you may not have driven?
33m 32s
3

And it was not need-based. And one of my friends, who’s an investment banker. He said, I actually take flight from Dubai to Delhi, just so that I have enough status miles so that I can keep my platinum. So he’s like, well, it’s the benefits that obviously the Latin MTA gives you, but it’s the fact that if I book a business class ticket, and if there’s a seat available and fast, they will actually upgrade me to first. And that to me is a fantastic experience, right? So it’s, it’s, it’s these, all these little things that you can do in a program to really drive that behavior. And really the, the, the point, I guess, I’m driving home is that it’s not about one or the other.
34m 15s
3

It is about how do you use your different assets in the right combinations to create that relevance. Right. So how do you use your third party redemptions in a way that you create that loyalty? How do you use your benefits in a way where some are obviously structured and announced and as part of the package and stuff, but equally, some are as, at the time of need, rather than all packaged up, you know, and it’s really working your program in that sense. Another key trend that I, that, that I see coming up is also the concept of subscription programs, because I think it benefits is the, the increased desire for people to pay a premium, to get that additional added benefit.
35m 1s
3

I think there are very few programs that have really tapped on the, both the commercial potential to, of your ability to strike the real right cord with your consumers. Right. And so with subscription programs, I mean, in some instances we’ve seen that they have the potential to generate almost second highest revenue, just next to your co-brands my goodness. That’s the potential that we have. And I think maybe have not fully tapped it yet. I think Amazon is a great example of it. Amazon prime has done fantastically well in terms of tapping that subscription model and many are following suit now, but I think the legacy programs they’ve still not quite gotten there yet.
35m 43s
3

So that’s, again, another trend I think they should be really the, yet.
35m 47s
2

Yeah. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. That’s probably one of the ones I’m most passionate about because I’m doing a lot of writing about programs. And my favorite example I had was Panera bread, which is a, a cafe chain in the U S with like two and a half thousand stores. And they have 800,000 people subscribing to unlimited coffee for $9 a month. And certainly for me as well, even last week, I was speaking at a loyalty event, I think is, you know, and I said, look, exactly the same point subscription is the next big thing. And a lot of eyebrows went up in the room, but for me, it’s absolutely on brand for a pandemic for uncertainty. It’s actually, when customers really feel, I just want to know that I’ve got that, you know, decision made, whether it’s washing my car or, or whatever, but, and I know the airlines are absolutely going the same way, but I really think it’s it’s, as you said, a huge big opportunity for everybody.
36m 39s
3

Yeah. And, and, and I think that, you know, if you take subscription programs to the next level as well, they bring that element of excitement where we can see, you know, a lot of the subscription programs are about that. You will get a goody bag, but what will be in the goodie bag is not known. Right? And it is the excitement of not knowing that surprise that people are also willing to commit to. So it’s using the, you know, the elements of that as well, to try and drive that whole picture. I think one of the, one of the areas that we were talking to a few brands about was how we leverage Collins and assets. So, you know, Collinson has got a lounge network and how we’ve used our lounge network as one of the key benefits, along with some of the new products that we’ve launched called ID century or ID protection.
37m 26s
3

So what ID protection is, is basically it monitors your identity in the dark web. And, you know, and I think any program that has got significant customer data should be looking at this because your benefits are not just experience related benefits, that what you do with the airline, but it’s about ensuring and telling your customers as well, that your data is super protected. We’ve even heard about how many programs who have had been attacked. You know, Marriott for example, was a big one. And once those programs attacked all that data gets sold into the dark web. So what the ID century product does is it monitors your data on the dark fab. And if that is found into the dark web, then it notifies you.
38m 8s
3

So we, we work with a number of aggregators who are the strongest in terms of dark web monitoring and put it together into a singular platform. So again, it’s one of them, a very highly desired benefit for a brand to be able to go to the consumers and say that you are sharing so much with me, you are telling me so much about yourself, not just what you do with me, but also beyond. And I’m giving you confidence that your data is well taken care of. Not only will it be, not be misused, but I’m also giving you tools and privileges that can help you track how your identity is exposed. If at all, you know, while I do everything on my end, we do know that people do leave things exposed and, you know, everything is on their phone and so on.
38m 54s
3

So we, you know, so some of the leading brands are talking to us about how we can bring the Collins and assets around ID protection around lounge and create some subscription models for them, but they bring into the table a few of their benefits and bringing some of the surprise elements that we talked about, bringing some of the most desired that when I am platinum or when I’m gold, one of the most designers that the rate at which I own miles double lab, right? So it’s, how do we create a combination of this to create those really sucks, powerful packages that are subscription packages that people really want to drive
39m 29s
2

Too. Okay. And you, are you hearing interest from all sectors, all verticals like retail, as well as, you know, the travel and hospitality that you’re so well established
39m 38s
3

Here. So definitely with the travel and hospitality, because they have been the leading edge in terms of loyalty programs, right? So they have been able to really think four steps ahead in terms of, you know, how to be relevant. And it is a sector that has been more challenged in that sense. You know, the retail brands are sort of in your face on an everyday basis. Most of them are in some shape or form, but travel struggles in that sense that, you know, they have to create that everyday purpose for you to help. So they have really used their partnerships to drive those things. They are more interested in how can we take it to the next level and bring more value to our consumers on an everyday basis as well, both on the day of travel before travel and outside of travel, you know, after travel as well.
40m 21s
3

So how do we conquer that complete experience for them? And that’s where I think the subscription programs can be quite useful because, but I, I do see equally a value in retail as well, to be able to offer those kinds of benefits to your most valuable customers, as we were talking about, you know, that your most valuable customers are probably the most frequent travelers as well. So a number of these benefits are equally relevant to them too. Mm,
40m 48s
2

Absolutely. My goodness. Yeah, no, that, that’s definitely a huge topic and super exciting. And again, as a consumer, I want those solutions, you know, and they just haven’t come through in the vast majority of cases as yet. So plenty more and just on the dark web stuff as well. Priyanka, do you think loyalty managers in general are aware because I wasn’t, if I’m honest. So the last loyalty conference I got to was was pre COVID and, and one of the speakers was exactly talking about this, and I probably wasn’t even aware of the concept of the dark web, you know, an internet that normal consumers are probably not even aware exists. So are you finding loyalty managers are aware that this kind of trading of data happens at such scale?
41m 31s
3

So I think GDPR and the rules around GDPR has made a lot of data, data security, data ownership become the center topics for a number of loyalty managers or directors or people just marketeers, or generally anybody who deals with data, right. It’s become into the forefront, but the intent and the extent of it, people don’t realize, right? So they, you know, so they see it from a point of view, yes, we need to do permission marketing. The data belongs to the consumer. At the end of the day, we have to do what we can. People spend a lot, you know, even with the leading brands banks here, you talk to them and they send you emails about phishing attacks and so on. And they, they creating all of these awareness, which is great.
42m 13s
3

But at the end of the day, if my daughter wants a pair of jeans from this new brand, which has just come in or a thrift store on Instagram that has popped up and she wants you to use my credit card, there’s only so much the bank can do in terms of controlling how they store the data and how they manage the data. Right. So I think it’s really taking it to that next step forward saying that I understand this so much I can do in my environment. I understand that, you know, I can create awareness within yourself, but at the same time, you’re going to have these impulsive spins. So how do we take it to the next step? And then, should we give you something that helps us monitor into that arm? Right. So I think it’s really understanding that full. It’s not just saying, oh, I caught their consent and the customer’s happy to talk to me.
42m 55s
3

And my ID has got it in the right sellers. So everything is fixed, right? It’s really not fixed.
43m 1s
2

No, and it’ll never, and if anything, I think it will become even more important. So we’ve seen it recently, the Irish health service, for example, was just hacked recently, not loyalty, but the data is, is an unbelievable issue. So yeah, that’s definitely something to keep there. So I’m looking forward, I suppose then we’ve talked about so many am ideas, which I love, I love the redemption store that you talked about. For example, for merchandise, I love the idea of subscription and I suppose the whole partnership piece of, you know, really finding more ways for people to earn and redeem, I guess, and, you know, rather than just within our own ecosystem, what other things do you think we should be talking about or, or just bringing to people’s attention?
43m 44s
2

And that might be big ideas that they can think about for the future.
43m 50s
3

I, I think when a low T market is thinking about their strategies and the programs, they need to think about symbiotic relationships as well. Today, if you look at many brands, you know, industries and verticals are converging, yes, Uber, we choose to be a taxi hailing service is now a payments company as well, or know Kareem paver, their, the, the payments element to it. You’ve got fintechs who are coming in and who are then becoming, you’ve got super apps were coming in where the app becomes a channel for you to do everything for your shopping, your payments, your telcos, and the other. So the industries are really, really being disrupted.
44m 31s
3

And I think it is the time for loyalty marketers and for brands generally, to be far more courageous in their thinking and to be far more brave and not resist, or be hesitant, informing those symbiotic partnerships and sometimes even with competing brands for the right. Good. And so I do think that there are opportunities like that. And unfortunately, I can’t remember an example, but you know, at some point it may be in the future podcast and everything else, be sure to bring those to the table, but I think that’s, that’s where the opportunities exist. And my piece of advice to every loyalty market it would be is be courageous, be out there, try out new things.
45m 14s
3

Yes. You know, you’ve got an, an engaged base of members, which will allow you to learn soon and everything. So try new things. And if you have to fail, fail fast, that’s really the, the message I would take to them.
45m 28s
2

And it’s, it’s a lovely word, actually, Priyanka and I don’t often hear loyalty professionals talking about being courageous and being brave. So thank you for that. I think it’s a lovely intention. And just to, to, to summarize the other point you made earlier as well, because I think for our whole community, it’s important that we see ourselves and position ourselves as front and center. So this is exactly, I know what you preach all of the time. So there’s lots of different ways to impact customers, but if it’s coming, as you said, in a disjointed way, you’re missing half the benefits. So I think that that mindset of positioning yourself as is really,
46m 4s
3

Really amazing. Yeah. And, and, you know, as we were discussing with the Emirates example or today, if you see with the fab example, you know what I mean with fab, we have just onboarded their online store and we’ve just relaunched the entire program as well. And what we’ve seen is just in a matter of three to six months, they’ve had as many engagements as they would normally have in a year with their program. Right. And the people who have engaged in who have redeemed or who have really interacted with the program has really spent higher than the other just members. You know, so it’s not just about members and it’s, it’s also about that whole thing. And the reason they have been able to do this is because fab has struck the right chord in terms of making loyalty as the center of it all.
46m 47s
3

If you see the loyalty program it’s fully integrated into their channels, right? So you will lock onto fab online and you see that in straight away, you can see your points balances, you can see what you can do with your points. And it’s not just limited to just your card full portfolio. If you’re opening up an account, if you’re taking out a loan, you know, so it’s really across the entire bank services and it is being utilized also to promote any of those positive behaviors, which is, you know, using the mobile app, using more of the online channels, trying to drive all the important business objectives, not just the card objectives across the bank. So I think this is really what I mean when you make lower tier at the center of, of your customer strategy, where it becomes integral to everything and it’s fully integrated in that sense.
47m 34s
3

Yeah.
47m 35s
2

And I’m sure you’ll do a case study on that as well, Priyanka at some point, but for listeners who are again, maybe not in the region, so fab is first Abu Dhabi bank. It is the biggest bank I believe here in the United Arab Emirates. And just from my own kind of anecdotal research, I know they did have lots of loyalty strategies again, in different brands. And as you said, different parts of the business coming together under one dominant bank brand and taking that, as you said, holistic perspective of a single holistic relationship with the bank is clearly proving extraordinarily successful. Yes, absolutely. Wow. Wow. Well, there’s so much there Priyanka. And the other key point I love that you made was around the flexibility piece because it comes back to my favorite value, which is around the integrity of our programs.
48m 20s
2

And you started with that in terms of your breakage statistics. So as well as being courageous, I think be flexible. And that positioning piece, I think, is what I’m hearing coming through. Any other kind of closing words of wisdom you want to share with our listeners before we go
48m 35s
3

Say that, you know, middle east has become to the center of a lot of innovation and, you know, talking about how by 2030, we want to be, or not even then, right before that you want to have grown the driverless cars. We want to do all of these fantastic things. And I think the number of fintechs, the number of innovators, the entrepreneurs that are in this particular region, puts us into a very unique space to do some of the leading edge things. And I’m really looking forward to see some of these exciting initiatives coming out from both our client programs, but equally from the regional together. So I’m super excited about the next few decades that the region has to offer.
49m 19s
3

And in terms of the loyalty experiences we are going to experience are going to be unlike what we’ve seen in the last two decades. Absolutely.
49m 26s
2

And again, just to acknowledge your incredible employee loyalty to the Collinson group. So two decades of work there. So, and it comes through obviously in your passion for the whole sector. So
49m 37s
3

It’s funny, the pallette, the thing is that, you know, I mean a lot of people do ask me another question. Did you start with two decades? And why? And you know, when I got into loyalty, it was almost accidental. Yeah. I studied computer information systems and I worked in the U S for a year. And my parents who were based in the middle east insisted that I come out and spend some time with them before I’m lost into the adult world. And that’s the reason I came back to Dubai in 1998. And I took up my position with Collinson and loyalty was quite in its infancy. Then Collinson was just launching the first ever loyalty program in the region for sun, which is Saudi Arabian airlines, frequent flyer program, which still exists.
50m 22s
3

Exactly. And I was very intrigued by it because in some ways it brought all my sort of skillsets together was the first kind of marketing initiative that was truly measurable. And those days, you know, you could have, you know, people were spending still a lot of the advertising and the PR and the others, but we’re not able to measure what does that all of this is for as loyalty was very scientific. You could measure it, you did one communication, you would see the results. You know, you have members, you could see member versus non-member Spence. It was very, and that excited me and given my background in computers and then my minors in finance and marketing, it just played to my, to, to all those trends and got me very excited. So the first decade was really, you know, launching the first ever airline program, the first ever hotel program, the first ever financial services in the retail program.
51m 10s
3

And what I really, really enjoyed was in this region, it never came from the marketing department. It came straight from the CEO’s office, super. So it came straight from the top where the CEO said, I want a loyalty program. The chairman of the company was involved in what the name should be and what the things should be. And I think that has led to the success of so many programs that we hear in many other parts of the world. You hear about programs starting and failing, but you don’t hear about that in middle east and middle east, it’s a launched and I relaunch to the next level of the program. So, yeah, so I think that’s really what has kept me excited that the first decade of my career was really working with such lovely brands and doing such fantastic things.
51m 55s
3

And the second decade of the career was really commenting in group. And the way we’re innovating, you know, even with many don’t know that Collinson group covers a number of different kinds of businesses. So loyalties of the state to the center of a business and customer engagement is central to it, but we’ve got a very large medical and assistance business as well. And with the pandemic, as an example, we, we use that business to set up testing at the airport,
52m 22s
2

The PCR testing, I sold them. So
52m 24s
3

Now we’ve got, you know, testing at, at the airport, in, in the UK, we’ve called, we’ve recently launched our testing service in Dallas, Fort worth for the two locations and many more coming in. So being at the center of innovation, you know, has always just made me think that why would you leave all of this? You know, like a startup every few years you’d make something totally new. There’s just so much excitement. Yeah around it and everything. And now we at the cusp of the new age of loyalty, really talking about the traditional programs about, you know, creating, applying blockchain about NFTs and the others, which is another topic, which I’m showing you, you don’t need a full show about that. Yeah. So, yeah. So I think that that’s what really, really keeps me excited and wanting to sort of, you know, continue being in
53m 10s
2

This space. Yeah. Yeah. But we’ll, we’ll, we definitely share that value as well. Priyanka, because I’ve always described myself as a commercial market here. So I started in kind of direct mail and that kind of, you know, the promotional style stuff, but like that, I couldn’t understand the, you know, people doing the TV ads and stuff. I couldn’t sleep at night if I was spending that, I couldn’t say, and here’s the return. So, so we definitely share that. So for people who want to get in touch with you, Priyanka, is it best to, to, to look you up on LinkedIn or what’s the best place to connect
53m 38s
3

With you? So obviously the Collinson group website, yes, please. DNI. Anybody who wants to know more about Collinson and all the fantastic stuff you’ve done with our brands, please do look up and, you know, there’s an inquiry page there that you can send in your inquiries, but at the same time, I’m very active on LinkedIn. So should you want to connect with me directly, just as a marketeer to market here and wanting to chat about something I’m more than happy to do so as well.
54m 2s
2

Wonderful, wonderful. Well, that’s incredible. And we do again, see a lot of each other’s stuff on LinkedIn. So I will just say Priyanka county director for south Asia, commercial director, middle east, and Africa at the counseling group. Thank you so much. Let’s talk loyalty.
54m 17s
3

Thank you, Paula. It was lovely chatting.
54m 23s
0

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, both online and in workshops around the world through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 150 executives in 18 countries as Certified Loyalty Marketing Professionals. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”.
55m 2s
0

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