Audio Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s):

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.

Hello, and welcome to episode 164 of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, a short summary of my interview in September 2020 with Annich Macintosh, a well-known loyalty personality around the world.

Annich is the Editor and CEO of the Loyalty Magazine Group and our discussion was focused on one of the group’s main events, the Loyalty Magazine Awards, which typically take place each year during the summer in a prestigious ballroom in the Tower of London.

But of course, last year, like so many other events, it had to take place virtually.

Now, many of you will know that I have a particular passion for the Loyalty Magazine Awards, as I was a judge myself for two years.

And I have to say was absolutely fascinating to see the entries coming in from all over the world and being able to read some of the incredible results that loyalty professionals are achieving.

Annich firstly explained for everyone listening, how the awards typically work.

They tend to be launched in October or November with a call for entries.

These are then sent through until the deadline closes in around February time.

Of course, that gives brands the opportunity to reflect on all of their loyalty achievements from the full calendar year and put together a really compelling entry.

There are usually between 200 and 300 entries sent in across all of the categories.

So as you can imagine, there’s a very long process then of shortlisting and every entry being individually marked.

And finally, there’s a judging day, which used to take place in a London hotel meeting room, but Annich shared how brilliantly this worked in 2020 as a virtual event.

In fact, she said it was even better than the in-person one because it allowed for a truly global involvement for all of the judges, without anyone needing to fly anywhere.

So with the “zoom judging” element proving so exciting and invigorating in 2020, with several days debating and discussing the winners, this is definitely one part of the awards that Annich said won’t go back to its older format.

As you can imagine, like all other business events in 2020, the actual awards party itself also took place online and I certainly was one who joined in to hear the exciting announcements of all of the winners and toast their achievements.

In the episode, Annich then took me through some of the top winners across the 25 categories.

One in particular was an Austrian grocery sector program, which won several awards for managing to sign up and incredible 93% of all Australian households for their loyalty program within six months, truly amazing stuff.

We talked about a youth-focused loyalty program by Vodafone called Voxi, and award-winning ideas from the John Lewis department stores in the UK.

Another campaign we talked about is from a brand that is always doing fabulous loyalty work, but it’s perhaps less well-known internationally.

And this one is Turkcell – an outstanding mobile company in Turkey that it seems the whole country knows and loves.

We also talked about a coalition program called Wiiv from Mauritius, as well as IBM, which had won again for it’s an incredible B2B loyalty program.

Finally, we talked through some of the trends that Annich was seeing as one of the industry’s closest observers.

For example, the fact that retailing has been changed forever by the pandemic and every retailer is really having to reevaluate its approach.

Big ideas are taking the place of big campaigns, with a focus on community, charity and of course, environmental or sustainably led programs becoming really critical as we come through and post the pandemic.

The trends also include much more professional loyalty activity in the financial services sector and in some unexpected categories like utilities and overall Annich and I agreed on the importance of loyalty propositions and of course professionals through the crisis.

In closing, I will mention the latest news from Loyalty Magazine and the Loyalty Magazine Awards, which is a massive rebrand.

These are now being called the International Loyalty Awards to reflect their global reach.

So no matter what country you are listening in, these are now open for entry until February the 14th, 2022.

So all you need to do is head over to international loyalty awards.com and find out about the categories and how to enter.

So that’s it from this episode of “Let’s Talk a Little Loyalty”.

Join me this Thursday to hear the latest predictions for loyalty in 2022, from our friends in Epsilon.

This show is sponsored by “The Wise Marketer”, the world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research.

The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as Certified Loyalty Marketing Professionals.

For more information, check out TheWiseMarketer.com and Loyalty Academy.org.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”.

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