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 for loyalty specialists around the world. Show is sponsored by Comark a global provider of innovative software products and business services. Comox platform is used by leading brands across all industries to drive their customer loyalty powered by AI and machine learning. Comark technologies allow you to build, run and manage personalized loyalty programs and product offers.
48s
1

With ease. For more information, please visit comark.com. Welcome to today’s super exciting episode where I’m talking for the very first time with a loyalty program in the world of professional sports with one of the UKs premiership league football teams are still football club who recently launched a program called my arsenal rewards with a great background in airline and retail loyalty. Corundum braille was appointed the senior loyalty manager for the club in early 2021. In our conversation.
1m 28s
1

She shares firstly, why the club decided to launch my Arsal rewards, given how loyal and dedicated sports fans already are. And sometimes for several generations, she shares the fascinating story of how loyalty mechanics can be used to drive engagement and connection with fans and how the program has even been able to support the operational side of the Emirate stadium, which is Arsenal’s home ground. So I hope you enjoyed this super interesting episode about leveraging loyalty for a sports brand with Karen Dunn Brel from arsenal football club in London.
2m 17s
1

So Karen, first of all, thank you so much for joining me today from London. How are you doing over there?
2m 23s
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Thank you. Yes, I’ve got a spectacular view of the Emirate stadium here, so yeah, it’s,
2m 29s
1

It’s all good. It’s absolutely stunning. Karen. I can see over your shoulder, so we’ll have to make sure to link to, to the Emirate stadium as well in the show notes, because it does look magnificent. So I’m actually, I confess first of all, not a football or soccer fan, so you’re going to be educating me a lot today. And I think one of the reasons that I really wanted to, to talk to you on the show was just the amount of innovation and, and the work that you’re doing right now. So, so we’re going to be talking about my Aarstol rewards, a pretty brand new loyalty program, but before we get into talking about the program itself, Karen, please tell me, what is your favorite loyalty statistic?
3m 7s
2

Well, it’s a one that you learned in school ready, which is parade law or the 80 20 rule. And what I’ve found really throughout all of the businesses I’ve worked with is it is true that 20% of your customers provide 80% of your revenue and support. I’m really interested in finding out, as you said, my also is new sports loyalties, relatively new, particularly in the UK. I am really looking forward to getting data out of the program and seeing if it holds true for sports or empty too, and do 20% of our members create 80% of our points engagement in the program.
3m 48s
2

So I’m catching, they will, we will see.
3m 51s
1

Yeah, absolutely. So, so we’ve already teed this up, Karen, that we’re going to have to do at least at least another interview so we can check. So it’s amazing how quick you time flies. I think we all know, so yeah, w we’ll certainly be listening and learning to want that what is going on with our stills? So, so I have to start with the obvious question, Karen, which is, you know, going back to, and w we chatted obviously briefly offline, but to me, the foundational principles of a loyalty program is usually coming from, let’s say an industry where there’s, I I’d say complacency is probably the best word where for example, there are products which are perceived to be very similar, whether it’s airlines flying to the same destinations, or whether it’s a bank that’s offering the same services.
4m 38s
1

And so there’s lots of reasons why loyalty is a big investment and used as a differentiator, but obviously in the world of particularly professional football, there is an extraordinary amount of passion. And, you know, there’s already a loyalty, I guess, to particularly a brand like arsenal, which is obviously a premiership football club. So first of all, will you tell us why did Arsal decide to invest in a loyalty program at all?
5m 6s
2

So I think the first point to say is that there have been member rewards in existence, in sports, and particularly in football for awhile, where you will offer some rewards to fans. I don’t know. It might be that they get to play on the pitch, something like that. But with the advent of technology, you can take that type of experience to a different level now, and in north America, particularly they’ve been using loyalty technology has been limited to platforms that say that that, that provide ticketing as well. So you’ve got a very good overview of the, the whole, the fans, whole engagement with the club, and now we can gather the data and there are platforms available that allow us to use that.
5m 54s
2

Why not extend the loyalty offering in a way that we can nowadays?
6m 1s
1

Yeah, for sure. No, absolutely. And again, being a non-football fan, I know the, the level of engagement with, with fans must be absolutely extraordinary to experience on match days. But I guess what the program does is it gives you an opportunity, I guess, to extend that level of excitement and engagement beyond the, the direct events, I guess, where people are, are physically present with you.
6m 25s
2

Well, that’s it. So we, what we found in, in the past is, although us it’s a big year, we have had rewards available. There hasn’t been any, everything is so focused around to the match day. Our communications will be building up anticipation, excitement for, for the next match that we coming. Whereas the loyalty program is giving our members a reason to go to our website, to go to that app, or not much days as well. And we have some great content there for them, but this now allows fans, another place to go. They can log into their milestone rewards account, and it might be, we can, during the international break, there isn’t any football going on.
7m 5s
2

They can still engage with the, with the club, they can browse what rewards they could use. They could do some online polls and to a few competitions. And it just keeps that, you know, the, the fan wants to, to engage with us. As you said, it’s something that it’s beyond just choosing which flights you’re going to go from a, to B. This is something that people in many cases have actually had since day zero. Their parents took out welcome to our world membership for them. You know, they’ve been there since the cradle. Yeah. So yeah, they wants to engage with us many points and now we’re giving them a reason to do that.
7m 47s
1

Okay. Okay. So, so with that kind of background and context, Karen, what kind of objectives do you have for my, our rewards? Because, you know, there, there’s lots of different reasons as we all know for, for investing in a loyalty program. Sometimes it’s a very commercial and, you know, objective, I think in its simplest terms, I always use the idea that it’s, you know, to drive a different type of behavior. So what kind of behavior I guess, is arsenal looking to, to recognize and reward?
8m 17s
2

Well, for us, this is about our offense. And so when we were designing and building the program, we were consulting with our supporters groups of having regular calls with them and actually of the development that was happening during the COVID to them periods as well. So some great zoom calls, supported groups, and yeah, just as an aside, it’s been fantastic to meet them in person. Now, now that the study did it again, but the, the, the imperative, if you like for us, was to ensure that the fans, it was a program that was being built for the fans almost by the fence. And so we asked them what, what was one of the most important things for them to get out of a loyalty program?
9m 2s
2

And they said, it’s, we want to, we want to cap that behavior, see that fan behavior where we’ve got a great atmosphere in the stadium where it’s a full stadium. So even on a wet and windy Tuesday to November, we, you know, we want, we want to be part of that great, big, awesome family. We want everybody to be there in the stadium. So first and foremost, the program is designed to support the fan in giving them that less fear in the club also to support our team because they wants to have a full stadium. You know, they, they wanted to be on the pitch looking at that, that wave of the fence.
9m 43s
2

So we have designed it that you earn the most points. If you like the weighting of the program, you are the most points for attending matches and for purchasing tickets and that engaging digitally with the program. So the objective is to reward our fans for great fan behavior, but that has obviously a knock-on effect on the club. It does have a commercial impact as well. It’s more ticket sales, that would be more sales at our filling beverage outlets. So it does have that commercial side to it too, but that is almost a byproduct of the true purpose of the program.
10m 23s
1

Okay. Okay. And, and actually I had to do a little bit of M history work as well on your website, Karen, just to go back and understand, you know, where our still has come from. And because again, as a brand, I just know it as a premiership league football club, so instant recognition, but that was literally the extent of my knowledge. So, so for other listeners who might be like me, I was just really, I thought I was just very impressed to see it was, it was formed by, you know, a group of guys working in a factory to alleviate the monotony of, of life working at a factory in 1886. So 125 years old already.
11m 1s
2

Absolutely. Yes. And I’m south south of the river, I believe. And then yes, moved to your, the stadium near us. We have our new, amazing, the Emirate stadium hybrid stadium before that all up in, in London. And yeah, I think the other clubs, I understand how to kind of vote and accept that arsenal could move up to this area. We have some, we have some great imagery you around the office and around the stadium shows you just how far back the club goes and you have the history and the heritage.
11m 41s
2

So it’s, it’s a fascinating place to work. And I have to say the fans as well, you can feel it going back all of those years, because so many fans, their father would have a member or would have been attending matches. So you’ve got that true feeling of, yeah. As you say, going back so many years, it’s a completely different kettle of fish working for something that is built on passion, as opposed to post to something that’s, that’s built on a commercial to that same. Yeah.
12m 12s
1

And you did come from a very commercial role, obviously with your, your airline background. Karen, maybe just give us a sense of the kind of work you’ve done in loyalty in order to get to where you are now with our style. Cause I think that’s also super interesting. Yeah.
12m 27s
2

My background for quite a number of years was with Virgin Atlantic and flying club and I worked in different roles there. So I’ve managed the team that looked after the operational database manage the partnerships team. And so I, and also the, the program design, the core program design of flying Helbig. So I’ve worked in different areas of loyalty and actually what I’ve found. And then you have for other organizations as well, some, some retail. And what I found is there are a lot of similarities actually in the way you approach here at ASML, the construct, if you like, of the different membership tiers.
13m 9s
2

So underneath it, all the, how, how you structure the program is very similar. So something I was struck by, yeah, you would have the, you have different levels of membership for, for arsenal. So you would have your, your red membership, you have silver, which means you’re on a waiting list for a season ticket to that. Your season ticket holders, you have club level. So you could almost imagine the different cabins in an aircraft, different benefits that you get for your different level of membership as well. So there’s frequent flyers that have got to a heady Heights of gold or platinum status that they are getting actually quite similar benefits to the fan who has purchased maybe a club level, season ticket, where you have a dedicated account management, you would have some complimentary products.
14m 1s
2

So I found that there are similarities at a theoretical level, but I’ve found there are, as I’ve said, a lot of differences between the motivations of the, the, of the customers that say, yeah.
14m 14s
1

Yeah. And as we, we often talk about in this show, Karen, you know, loyalty programs are often kind of roughly classified into, you know, kind of transactional type objectives and then emotional type loyalty as we’ve touched on, obviously you already have all of the emotional type of, of engagement. So what kind of things are you doing through the program?
14m 36s
2

So we were offering amazing rewards it’s I suppose, the backbone of it for the fan. So for that points, they can redeem those points for merchandise, that they would not be able to just find that say in council retail stores. So typically you actually going back to the heritage. So we have specially designed, for example, some, some posters that take us back to the invincibles, which was a period when also remained on beaten many, many, many villages. So we have a, a great poster that has been designed by our creative team that has the program covers for every single one of those matches.
15m 17s
2

Some of them will be signed by all legends, the, the players that played at that time. So we’re able to create some real kind of money can’t buy products, lovely, and also experiences. So disposable week, we can have somebody go and play on the pitch. We can arrange for a training ground visit so that they can go and see the team training at the upper colony. So we can do that. We obviously, we can’t do that for all of our fans. So it definitely is money can’t buy, we’re letting our fans achieve those rewards either through redeeming points or by using points to enter into prize draws as well.
16m 0s
2

So yeah, fans can enterprise tools to tickets as well, too, to come and see a game and we have our exact box. So, so many things that we could, we could offer that, yeah, that gives something back to the fan, but equally you’re finding ways for them to earn those points really by just excepting the great behavior, which has said buying tickets, attending games, we’ve also issued our membership card. We’ve, we’ve sent out new membership cards this year and for an 18 plus members who are based in the UK, we have a new membership card that has got prepaid elements incorporated in it.
16m 41s
2

And that’s issued by bulk players. And so the fans can kind of accelerate that point surfing face. If they spend on the prepaid card with certain affiliates, we’ve signed up at work well with the brand. But as I said before, you’re the balance of that the most important thing. And the best way you can earn points is by attending matches. But then that engagement again, when you aren’t at a game, you can go and use prepaid card, keeping that engagement going on match days as well, get the points balance increased. Yeah.
17m 17s
1

And I loved actually as well, another way to earn that I saw on your website, Karen, because it’s one thing to, to obviously either buy a ticket or buy a season ticket and show up, you know, as, and when you can obviously to support the team. But I do think, as you explained to me, there’s, there’s a lot of maybe season ticket holders who may not be able to attend every game either because it is a rainy night on the Tuesday, and they’re just not as, as much of a fan as others might be. But I love the fact that you have built in points for them to, to essentially let somebody else enjoy that ticket for that.
17m 54s
2

Absolutely. So we have a technical technical capability to do two things. We have ticket transfer and ticket exchange. So actually going back again to your, the airline points transfer is very similar to gifting points. Okay. Ticket exchange would be kind of setting your points, but so ticket transfer you. If you can’t make a gain, then put your ticket through the ticket transfer process and give it to a friend. And then if you do that, we will actually award points because going back to what I said earlier on, we want a full stadium. So we would much rather that ticket was used and we want to incentivize our fans to do that ticket exchange very similar, but that would be where you would put it into a pot of tickets that are available to buy through times that perhaps don’t have a season ticket.
18m 47s
2

And again, we encourage fans to, to do that early your bonus points, if you post that ticket early and then bonus points, if it’s or standard points, actually, if that ticket is sold, we’ve also introduced another thing, which is quite interesting, but we haven’t thought of doing when we were designing program, then suddenly realized that actually we could use the technology available to us to do something a bit different with the way that you can be entered into the ballot for tickets, for the cup final. So we have the capability to do something which is you can collect stamps if you like on a virtual card.
19m 31s
2

And it might be that you, you, you could design it, that it would be after you’ve done five purchases in our, so retail, you get the shopper stamp. What we’ve decided to do is to award attendance stamps. And then that said, once you’ve attended five games, you get the five game trophy, and we’re actually going to be using these trophies as the way to put you into the ballot for cup final tickets. So again, supporting our, our objective of wanting fans to attend games with every week that goes by, we see another opportunity,
20m 15s
1

But I can feel the excitement because I can’t imagine how many, how many times oversubscribed, you know, the tickets must be for, for the big final days. So, so it’s a very fair way I feel of, you know, just level the playing field and literally like the level of excitement, you know, and just even the concept of trophies and gamification and an earning your way in through pure loyalty. It’s, it’s like the, the club has giving back to its, its supporters probably I guess, in the first way that maybe the members have been able to appreciate and enjoy.
20m 50s
2

Yes, absolutely. Cause I think before it has been just the odd competition winner through rewards that were made available, but now you can really participate and have more of a, more of a, an opportunity to drive your, your chances of those things through engagement with the program. So it is very exciting and I, yeah, absolutely loving it.
21m 16s
1

I can tell. And, and just as a general am, I suppose, interest from my side, Karen, I’ve always liked the idea that some loyalty programs can identify, you know, behavior beyond its own, you know, transactions, for example, or beyond the, the business of our membership base. So what I mean is things like somebody, you know, on the arsenal fan page on, you know, a third party, social media platform, do you have capabilities in that space at this point? Or is that something that you’ve thought about
21m 48s
2

With three months old at the moment? So for the most part we’ve been keeping to kind of be also owned channels. Yeah, we have, yeah. We have capability to obviously put things up on the big screen, matches what we have an internal campaigns team, and we’re doing some exciting things because we’re gathering the data, not only from ticketing them from our membership, but then the loyalty transaction data as well, all going into our CRM platform. And that’s going to enable us to do far more targeted campaigns to the members based on certainly the data we have about them, but they’re kind of going out, we are going to be working with our social media team as well to find ways that we can, we, I think we have to be sort of careful with it as well because my awesome rewards is only available at the moment to paid members.
22m 48s
2

And in the future, we’ll be looking at expanding that to our digital membership, which will take us into kind of further a field at the international base. So we’ve got to be careful about social media. I think just not, not upsetting fans that possibly don’t have access to the program at the moment, but certainly using push notifications is something we also want to start using, but really making the most dolls appropriate that say social media because it’s yeah, w w what we really love our fans to be doing is that say they they’ve, they want something through the program they’re at the game, then, you know, post a photo of yourself on social media, you know, hashtag it that you’ve got those three milestone awards.
23m 37s
2

So we’d definitely be looking to promote the program through those channels and increasing that.
23m 47s
1

Okay. Well, definitely another one for our next conversation, you know, so brilliant. So you mentioned it’s three months old, Karen, so here we are. It’s, it’s coming up to the end of October. And so probably November by the time our listeners are hearing our conversation. So tell me, how is it going compared to your expectations? I know you joined arsenal, I think in January, if I’m right current spend the whole year, then I guess from, from a blank sheet of paper, as you said, through COVID, which might’ve been, you know, helpful in some ways. So, so talk us through maybe just how the year has gone from, you know, even the, the, the, the pre-launch phase and through to how it’s doing for you now.
24m 29s
2

Yes, it’s joined in January very much setting working on the program or completing the program design because the team have been working on this for, for a good, good 18 months, two years altogether. So completing that program, design finalizing things with the fan groups is kind of the early phases and then building that design. So we work with Barclays, as I said, on the card issuing side, and with fortress, provide us with the loyalty platform. They have a big presence of the U S as well, north American clubs, sports clubs, you know, Canadian ice hockey, et cetera, they use that platform.
25m 10s
2

So then it was really building out our requirements, a big phase of user acceptance testing. And luckily we managed to do a live game test. The last game of the season was I think it was the 30th of May. If every service we run and we were able to then actually be in the grant, have some of our supporters groups live testing with some, some test cards that we were using, because not only is our membership cards, a prepaid card, it’s also your stadium access. So we wanted to make sure all of that was, was working, going to download the app and linking through to their test account at that stage from the app.
25m 52s
2

So that was a very important phase for us. We were very glad that we were actually able to access the stadium to do that. Yeah. And then it’s of course, mad in the summer getting cards out issued. We had well over a hundred thousand new membership cards to be issuing in a very time period. And yeah, that first, first games and answering, moving into kind of answering customer queries, supporting them. Now, we are moving into that phase of starting to really look at how, what are the leavers we need to be pulling? Where are we seeing certain fan groups aren’t engaged?
26m 34s
2

We could be doing a bit more so really starting to use the data that we now have at our disposal to do that. So obviously we track by the different membership types. We will look at how frequently are they logging into the platform to engage with it? When is that happening? What type of rewards or fans using their points on? Yeah. So yeah, it’s, it’s almost like a little play pen that we’ve now got, so you’re entering into, into that stage.
27m 4s
1

Lovely. Yeah. And it’s great, as you said, well, first of all, to have access in stadium to be able to, to test it, as you said, so I’m sure it was a nervous time for you, you know,
27m 15s
2

So yeah, very much so the day it was actually the heavens opened it right as well. Yeah. We’re running around from a turnstile to turnstile out with that,
27m 30s
1

And it was good actually. And thank you for mentioning the, the, the way that I suppose the technology is supporting, you know, the overall program, because you mentioned for example, that, that the guys in fortress is very much like a sports technology, because I certainly wasn’t familiar with that platform. It sounds like their loyalty module is fairly new in their own development. Is that fair to say? Yeah.
27m 53s
2

As it has been up and running in the U though, so unfocused or the experts for the in stadium access so we can use some great info, actually, one lovely thing that we can do that we haven’t done yet, that we wanted to do with the program is combining that stadium access technology with the loyalty module and encouraging our fans to arrive at the stadium earlier. So from an operational point of view, fans arrive at the stadium, really, not that long before the, the match starts, that obviously creates operational issues. So using the technology, we can say, if you arrive at the stadium and you’ve, you’ve gone through the turnstile 45 minutes, this vape before the game starts, we can award you the points.
28m 45s
2

So not only just the fans, it can actually do so, make it a better experience by managing your operations of the stadium as well. So that’s a fantastic example of thought pieces, combined technology, if you like a stadium access and programs as well.
29m 4s
1

Yeah, well, definitely. I remember somebody asking me similar to that, Karen, and back in Ireland, and it was somebody involved in, in the rugby, the world of rugby. Now I’m going to say this was 10 years ago. So certainly predates all of the, the, the fabulous capabilities that you’re talking about. But again, it was a very, very interesting conversation where literally the guys were saying, how can we get our funds to spend more time in our venue? And it, I didn’t have an answer, but it sounds like those things are coming through now because definitely like, I am the type of person, like, if I am flying, for example, I’m there three hours, you know, I’m in the lounge, I’m doing all of that.
29m 44s
1

Like I’m already on holidays. So, so it’s almost like your airline mentality is also kind of being, you know, leveraged as you said for extraordinary operational.
29m 54s
2

Yes, absolutely. I think as I’ve said, there are so many similarities of the ways that you can use loyalty in different sectors and to your point about rugby cups as well. So yeah, I know that fortress have launched. They’ve launched with Harlequins there’s north Hampton science, and then reports this football club, Cardiff city and ourselves as well. So the, you know, it, it’s, it’s a similar operational problem that is experienced by whatever club it is, I think. Yeah. You’ve got to encourage the fans to come out of the, the Curry houses around the stadium and get into the stadium as quickly.
30m 40s
1

Oh, of course. Absolutely. Well, I mean, that’s such a tough choice because clearly the, the, the pubs of the Curry has their part of the day out for, for the funds. It’s important to it to encourage all of the right behaviors. And so, I, I mean, I just, I’m so excited about what you’re doing as, so my mind’s kind of in overdrive, Karen, I think I said to you, last time we spoke that I paid more attention now this year and perhaps to the Olympics. And just obviously is that the biggest sporting event that somebody like me might be interested in and I can immediately think about, oh, wow, quite extraordinary. Things could be done as well. And again, to support the, the legends, the athletes and the fans.
31m 21s
1

And it’s almost a shame that, that didn’t happen perhaps before COVID kind of flattened everybody, you know, but it sounds like it has truly global application.
31m 30s
2

Yes. It definitely one thing that, where we have our partners as well, you have. So for example, we have added us Emirates visit Rwanda or key key partners because they have global presence as well. We are able to work with them to offer things to fans and currently the UK and our paid membership that we have internationally. So we have the ability to work with other partners to bring them into a program that has resonated. So pretty much wherever you are in the world. So w we’re working. So the partners, I’ve also found that we have a, if you, like, there is a new part, a new area of, of asks on our milestone awards where we can, they can offer some great things to our engaged members.
32m 27s
2

For example, with added us, we’re, we’re offering gift cards that fans can redeem their points for gift cards. Brilliant. But it’s only available in that. So if you like the, yes, so it’s it. And that is something that we can definitely build on, on a, on a global scale. We’ve almost got a kind of, ready-made totally expunction base there, which is,
32m 55s
1

Yeah. And I did see your partnership with Emirates and with, with expo 2020, because obviously the, the shirt sponsor the stadium sponsorship. We’ve just had Emirates on, on this show as well for the second time to talk about skywards, but it was really nice to see Arsal supporting Emirates and supporting expo actually, because, you know, for those of us here in the country to see such an extraordinary world expo, and I just don’t think there’s enough visibility of us and perhaps in Europe, you know, I don’t think people realize what an extraordinary event it might be. So I was really, really impressed to see our soul doing all of that. But I did notice that one sponsor Karen, which was the visitor wonder partnership.
33m 35s
1

And is there a story there that you can share because I didn’t immediately understand why that might be a particular, you know, one single country that I, I didn’t realize that any connection with ourselves, is there a story there?
33m 49s
2

Well, Chris, I’ve not perceiving your footballers. We have international orders to play for the team, but the fan base as well, internationally, globally in Africa, you have, there is some very, very passionate fans, also us and Asia. We are the different the zones. If you like that, we do get a lot of, a lot of engagement from, and so for us having those links with Africa, it’s, it’s great in terms of being able to connect with, with our continent. We have a really great partnership team and work with visit Rwanda, and then we’ve been able to offer some member experiences to west fans have been able to, to, to travel to them.
34m 40s
2

In fact, one of our rewards at the, when we have a physical Rhonda governor soft toy, you can redeem your words for as well. Our players as well have kind of engaged and explained about gorilla recent. We’ve got something on our, on.com where you have gorilla naming ceremonies. So we have all players that have participated in that as well. So there’s, there’s great links to different parts of the world to make sure that even though Austin is a north east London club, actually it is, it is global. And it has that reach to places such as Africa.
35m 22s
1

Well, I can tell you from my side, just on a personal level, Karen, and Rwanda’s way up, I’m going to say in the top three destinations that I want to go to and on exactly for the gorillas that I think are still available and very small numbers to be seen. So I think it’s one of those extraordinary kind of adventures that I, that I hold, hold out the hope I’ll get to in the, in the next class. So thank you for explaining that unexpected parts of your loyalty program.
35m 48s
2

Yes, but that’s it? I think that’s the one I will say about this is there are so many different elements that are completely unexpected.
35m 56s
1

Brilliant. So the, the, the final area wants to ask you about was the rewards actually, you know, what is working. And again, given the context, we’ve talked about the passion’s already there, you know, a lot of the behaviors literally need to be amplified. So it’s super clear what you’re, you’re focused on. And I really love all of those are lots of different ways that you’re leveraging the program, but tell us what are the members then? And the fans actually claiming for their rewards.
36m 24s
2

Well, without, and this isn’t going to be surprising. I’m sure. But the most popular reward is to enter four tickets together. Oh, good. That’s what the fans absolutely. Because our paid membership base, it isn’t just season ticket holders. It’s fans who pay to belong to the club. And then that gives them a ticket access as well, early ticket access to purchase tickets when they go on sale. And so the opportunity to win tickets for a game that you might not be able to live with, they might sell out. You might not be able to get access to is, is proving. That’s definitely the most popular, so that’s yeah.
37m 6s
2

Prize draws. But then as a of the unique much dyes that we have on that too, is proving very popular and back to talking partners. One that actually early days made the, the site drop for a few minutes with, we had a new partnership that launched in August with socio who issue digital fan tokens. And you can buy kind of tokens as well, a trade it’s cryptocurrency, if you like associated with the different, a lot of it’s, it’s a really interesting area actually it’s coming.
37m 50s
2

I mean, I can’t keep up with it to, to be Frank.
37m 54s
1

Yeah.
37m 55s
2

So your European league, lots of the club has issued tokens and we’ve issued the arsenal token. And for our paid members, we offered a free a fan token, which is where you can vote for something to do with. So this buy, this, this token would give you the right that saber to decide what would be the, the music that’s played in the stadium. The, we offered a free fan token to our milestone rewards members. And that one had, that really did resonate. We, you know, as I said, it took the site down for a short time, just sort of the, you know, the, the communication went out to fans and the, the fans came back with a vengeance to the extent that we now have to just to stack the, send stuff on some of our communications to make sure that we are managing the flow of it back into the site.
38m 54s
2

Oh my goodness. So that, that proved very popular. And we also had something, we have the, the, when you’re looking at Gemma format, she might’ve said over across the top of the heads of the fans, they may have a giant flag that just kind of unfolds that say and held above the supporters. And one, we have the north bank, which is one of the stadium and we have the north bank of Canada flag and something, we offered a star three, if you’d like, are the first members that were logging on to the platform. We offered them a reward where they can have their name stitched into the north bank, Canada flag. So it’s kind of there for posterity that proved very popular as well reward.
39m 40s
2

So as we can tell, it’s the rewards that are pretty popular or very much the emotional rewards that Lincoln to the club, all the opportunity to you have to support your club to be there as part of that great big arsenal family in this.
39m 57s
1

Yeah. And also the exclusivity, because as you said, Karen, there’s, there’s plenty of what you’re doing. That flag being a brilliant example that I’m sure there’s absolutely no way that would have been operationally possible in the past, but now it becomes an extraordinary way to recognize. And I can imagine the excitement that goes around all of that.
40m 15s
2

Absolutely. Yes. I fought trust with our platform that just provided us with a great data capture tool. If you like, where the fan has gone, it captured the fact that they want to be on that flag and yes, operationally and efficiency wise. It’s a great thing for us to be able to put together and capture tens of thousands of names. Totally. Which can then be, yeah, well, we had your fans contacting us saying, is it possible for me to have my father’s name stitched? And it, he was a fan. So again, that emotion just keeps coming through.
40m 50s
1

Wow. And you’ve reminded me actually, of a gorgeous M loyalty initiative that happened when I worked with O two priority. Now I’m going to say it was 10 years ago and it didn’t come from the loyalty department at all. It was very much a brand initiative, but it’s similar to what you’re talking about. Karen, in that what they did was I can’t remember the entry criteria, but there was, let’s say, I don’t know, 10,000 people identified. And because OTU was sponsoring the Irish rugby team, those 10,000 names were literally put in my Newt form in a tiny font to make up the logo 4 0 2 on the Jersey.
41m 30s
1

There you go. You’ve just reminded me. I’m there absolute joy that, that brought us so many people. And I know it was very complex obviously, and because again, jerseys have to be monitored. So there’s a whole quality control about how logos are managed of course, but it was feasible and, and did drive incredible loyalty again, without a mention of a point or reward that, that piece of history for, for a fan to be part of was absolutely brilliant. So yeah, I love what you’re doing. Great. So what’s, what’s the focus for 2022 then Karen is you, you know, you’ve had an extraordinary year, as we said, in the context of a pandemic and being the first in, in, in the country, I think the first premiership club ad to launch a formal loyalty program.
42m 17s
1

So what, what is your focus now going forward?
42m 20s
2

Well, funnily enough, we may only be you’re three months into the season. We are already talking about membership renewals for next season. So for tied to 2 23. So the end of the season is the end of may. Our offense points would expire at the end of the season. So there’ll be a lot of activity at the start of the year and encouraging fans to make the most of their points, but also building in how can we use the loyalty program to encourage renewables season tickets? Once you have that season ticket, obviously fans are very keen to keep their season tickets, but for the paid membership that possibly don’t have access to the season ticket yet, how can we encourage them through the loyalty program to, to take out early renewal of their membership?
43m 13s
2

So that’s kind of where the focus is going to be shifting to, but then, you know, it’s, it’s kind of a cycle. Like it will be matching the, the seasonal cycle of the club, but then looking ahead, how do we develop the program as well? So internationally, as I said, we would like to look at how we can take the program out to our global fan base. And another very important thing for us is a women’s football now asked all women is a, yeah, they’re a fantastic squad. And yeah, women’s soccer in the U S I think it’s more popular than men’s soccer. There’s a lot we can do to start engaging, linking in with the women’s game as well.
43m 59s
2

They don’t, they play occasionally, but the Everett stadium, they have, they play up a bore of word. So how can we link our programming to that? We’ve done a few offers already where we’ve had women’s football tickets for sale through points, and that’s been a good interest in, in that we’ve got a great game coming up. I think it’s just some of the, which date was Austin women versus Barcelona. So that’s going to be a Glenigan to watch. So we, you know, we spent time talking to the, the women’s a commercial team, and we’ll definitely be looking at ways we can integrate further with that team as well.
44m 39s
1

Yeah. Yeah. Well, that makes perfect sense, Karen, as has everything you’ve said, actually. So I love the, the, the global M ambition. I love the, and the diversity piece as well around the women’s football team. So, so just want to acknowledge that damn, that lovely intention for 2022. And I suppose I, I feel like I’ve learned loads and in the power of sports loyalty, and particularly the ideas you mentioned around getting people to arrive early, getting them to replace themselves. If they’re not coming on a season ticket, like just an extraordinary application of them being lowered back to your funds in ways that probably technically wasn’t possible before, but, but it also takes a real leap of faith for arsenal to decide that they really want to be, you know, loyal to, to their members.
45m 28s
1

So, yeah, that’s it from my side. Karen, is there, is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrap up,
45m 34s
2

Just to say what a great type of opportunity has been to, to chat with you about it, because it makes you realize not only how much we’ve achieved in a very short space of time, but actually the huge amount of learning. We still have the scope for so much more stuff to come it’s it’s exciting times.
45m 53s
1

Oh, for sure. Great. And if people do want to reach out to you, Karen, with, with ideas or to connect or in any way you, are you happy to, to share the way to contact you?
46m 2s
2

Yes, absolutely. So they can contact me at my work email address. So that’s Kate dumbbell@arsenal.co.uk.
46m 11s
1

Wonderful. Well, listen, as I said, it’s been a fabulous conversation and we’ve waited a long time to be here, but you’ve done an extraordinary year of work. So yeah, just want to say congratulations and thank you so much for joining let’s talk loyalty to character REL senior loyalty manager at arsenal football club. 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”.
47m 11s
1

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