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. Hello and welcome to episode 98 of let’s talk loyalty. And today I’m delighted to be sitting in my studio together with my guest, Lisa Brightwell, managing director, upright insights, consulting, a boutique loyalty consulting firm here in the UAE. Now Lisa and her team specialize in all aspects of loyalty strategy, loyalty operations, but particularly what we’re talking about today is innovative ideas and exciting technologies that loyalty program owners around the world can really think about in terms of the next phase of their strategy development.
1m 3s
0

Lisa has an extraordinary career that spans Marriott international Jumeirah group and EMR hospitality. So she really does have extraordinary credentials, but for me, when I first met Lisa, it really was her passion for new ideas and creating wow customer experiences. That really blew me away. Lisa and I talk about new concepts such as using WhatsApp as a messaging platform or the idea of voice assistance as a new audio concept that we have yet to seen executed here in this region to build customer connections. We also talk about my favorite loyalty technology, which is card linking, something that has been delivered with extraordinary success here in the UAE.
1m 52s
1

Okay, Lisa, welcome to let’s talk loyalty and tell me, what is your favorite loyalty statistic? Thank you, Paula. So I found this quite difficult because there’s so many statistics, but so I chose a statistic that was that that sparks my thought process versus my favorite. So, and that was from Accenture and it said that there are 3.3 billion loyalty memberships in the United States. Wow. It’s a staggering figure. Wow. If you consider that that’s 10 times the population. Yes. And so what it made me think of is, well, first of all, America is a very saturated loyalty market anyway, of course, but how do we as loyalty marketeers, make sure that we, our program, if we’re managing or building a program can stand out, but not only stand out, how can we use technology to elevate and amplify customer experience?
2m 41s
1

And I was in a meeting actually last week and about a new program potentially in the UAE. And somebody said to me, Lisa, does Dubai need another loyalty program? And my response was yes and no. Okay. So yes, this brand needs a loyalty program, but this brand does not need a loyalty program like everybody else. No, of course. And that’s the challenge, you know, and it’s saturated markets or where, and, and, and the fact that there’s loads of loyalty programs is great because it means that loyalty works and we know this, but how can we use technology and how can we use our knowledge to make sure as loyalty marketeers, we’re creating a program that can stand out and really engage.
3m 22s
1

And there were two other statistics on this same, it was on Forbes, actually this article. And the first one said that 95% of members want to engage with their loyalty program in an emerging technology, 95%. Oh my goodness. That was from that top quote was from bond. And, but then Wilbert said that 79% of customers said there will be less likely to enroll in a loyalty program if they had to download an app. Oh my goodness. And so for me, I mean, I don’t know about you, but my phone is full of loyalty apps and I am starting to get a bit annoyed by having to download, because it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a loyalty customer just don’t want to download the app.
4m 6s
1

And I think we need to, and the industry needs to really start considering loyalty is a strategy. It’s not an app. And so how do we take everything we know and create loyalty programs that can basically elevate experience and engage?
4m 21s
2

Yeah. Yeah. My goodness. There’s so much in there, Lisa, but first and foremost, you have incredible experience in the UAE and we’ll make sure, you know, to talk through all of that in terms of your career and credentials and your name is extremely well-known. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to actually meet you. And I definitely think we need to link to that Forbes article. So we’ll make sure to link to that in the show notes. And I just want to pick up, I suppose, first of all, on the downloading an app piece, because I think you’re totally right. And I think as consumers, we’re all a bit jaded with everybody wanting our attention. And I think it’s great when some brands can just maybe add a loyalty layer for example, into their core app.
5m 4s
2

But also I think that there’s lots of markets where you can’t even ask somebody to download an app because they mightn’t have a high enough resolution on their phone. So we’re quite lucky. We probably have quite cool phones quite high-end quite recent, but honestly, I think it’s just a dead strategy. I agree on the cost of getting people to download your app. I think just the acquisition cost is extraordinary. So, and I guess we can’t just skip over the big guest, starting statistic 3.3 billion loyalty memberships
5m 32s
1

In the U S it was staggering. Like God.
5m 34s
2

Wow. Yeah, yeah.
5m 36s
1

Right. And I think, you know, I’m, I’m less likely to want to download an app now. So exactly what you say, what about other markets where it’s more difficult, but also the cost of apps these days, you know, it’s not cheap to create a very engaging app of course. And so, and like you say, the acquisition costs to get people to download. So what if there are other ways that can create engagement without having to spend all that money on an app? What if you reinvested that money in other ways? And I think that’s where the likes of things like WhatsApp. Oh my goodness. I’m playing like a really interesting role in the evolution of interface between the business and the consumer, but also it’s just a very interesting space.
6m 19s
1

There are 2 billion WhatsApp users, worldwide goodness, and 180 countries using it in 60 languages. And 100 billion messages sent daily, daily, staggering. That’s staggering as well. Conversely, on SMS, you’ve got 23 billion. Oh my goodness. And so, and they get all loyalty programs. You use SMS and email. And so SMS kind of like started to drop in about 2011. Sure. WhatsApp kind of like pass them along the way up, you know, high fives on the way, but it’s staggering the statistics on WhatsApp, but yet we see very little of engagement with marketers or loyalty marketing with WhatsApp as a channel or as an interface.
7m 6s
1

And I find that very interesting
7m 9s
2

And indeed, it’s how we first connected. Isn’t it. So, so I will give a shout out to Judy LeBlond by the way, our mutual friend and contact in the wind network. So women in incentives network and during a conversation on that, Lisa and I talked a lot about WhatsApp and just realized we both see this as like the biggest missed opportunity that we as loyalty experts seem to be seeing. And I think where we got to in the conversation and correct me if I’m wrong, but it feels like, and I think you use these words, actually, Lisa, there’s an evolution of the communication. And there’s an opportunity to differentiate, particularly with the emotional loyalty, because I think we all have the transactional stuff down Pat, so we can give you points, prizes, whatever you want, but actually connect with somebody.
7m 57s
2

And my favorite example, and I’ve often said this, so WhatsApp is my favorite messaging platform. And when it is, for example, somebody’s birthday, like obviously personally, I won’t just send a WhatsApp, I’ll actually send a video or I’ll send a voice note. Or if I’m afraid there’s going to be complexity or communication, I will, I suppose, elevate my communication to eliminate the risk of confusion. And I think that’s what we’re seeing WhatsApp has a potential to do.
8m 23s
1

Oh, absolutely. I mean, and plus don’t forget on, on WhatsApp, you’ve got an open rate of 98% as well versus an SMS or an email, which if you’re lucky, if you get 20%, totally so not, but you are able to send rich media on WhatsApp. So you are able to have the exchange of voice notes, like you say, happy birthday, video and other content. And it’s a two way dialogue, WhatsApp, unlike SMS, which is a one way out, WhatsApp is a two way conversation. And the minute you have two way conversations with people, you’re able to build a relationship and that, and the whole notion of voice, you know, voice is able to convey subtleties that texts cannot totally emotion, tone. It’s natural, it’s normal.
9m 5s
1

And we all do it every day. So the ability to use WhatsApp as a channel to, to, to merge kind of voice through the communication is brilliant. And, and we’re just not doing it yet. I mean, Facebook have a stat that says 79% of their customers are more connected to brand if they can message with them via chat. Wow. That’s a big statistic from Facebook as well, 79%. Yeah. And I think as well, because WhatsApp is fast and it’s convenience. And I think when you’re dealing with customer support and it’s fast and it’s convenient, you get, you know, a better customer experience. And then for elevated customer satisfaction, customer satisfied satisfaction means happy customer.
9m 47s
1

And it has not only has the emotional side. It has the, the ability to have a better customer experience. So all of these factors, I mean, I could go on as you know, so many factors to what makes WhatsApp really interesting for me and why people are not putting that correlation together yet, but imagine in loyalty. So I remember imagine a hotel, I have a loyalty program. I can go on WhatsApp and I can put a voice note and say, what’s my points balance. Yes. You connect WhatsApp to the loyalty management system or any other CRM that you like. Therefore you can make the WhatsApp more contextual and more personal to that individual.
10m 29s
1

Wow. And can I make a restaurant booking? I’ve got a thousand points. What can I redeem for? And that’s so, and I can be multitasking while doing that. You know, I can be, you know, walk into work or whatever, how many points have I got, let me just, let me just do a voice notes and check with WhatsApp. And so, and to your point of like the birthday message, imagine I’m a hotel chain and my top customers birthday, or the GMO could send a voice note to me next time you were in the hotel, let me know. I’ll take you for a drink to celebrate wonderful. It’s like beyond personal kind of act goes even deeper than that. And it’s so easy. It’s so easy to do
11m 9s
2

Well. That’s I think the important conversation we need to have is how easy is it? How scary is it? How expensive is it? Because clearly there are reasons it’s not happening just yet. And I love what you said about what’s my points balance. Because to me, that’s something that everyone should be doing. It’s a factual piece of information. It’s not even a piece of customer service, as I define it, it’s literally checking a fact. So I cannot understand why I can’t do that with every loyalty program in the world, but I kept, hopefully we’ll get there. But even as you mentioned hotels, so for example, I have just made a hotel booking. I’m feeling very lucky. We do have some travel at capabilities out of here at the moment.
11m 50s
2

So I’m going down to a hotel in Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks time. And the first thing that the general manager actually did was he sent me his WhatsApp number. Wow. So again, this is not the business solution that we’re about to talk about. This is not being done at scale, but it is being done in the context where he wants me to have a great experience. And I’m extremely nervous to be traveling at this time. So the fact I immediately said it to my husband going, we have a WhatsApp with the general manager. He was blown away
12m 17s
1

Telling me that story. Totally. And it’s, it’s an, you were affected emotionally by that in so far as you felt, wow, this is nice. And that emotion you have, and you’re telling me, I mean, it’s, it’s yes.
12m 28s
2

Simple marketing. Exactly. Lisa. So it’s not complicated as we said, certainly in the one-to-one context. So I guess what I think you have that I don’t have is a sense of how does a business adopt? Sure. Because I know you need a different type of account, so you might talk us through what’s required there any alarm bells that we would need to be thinking about. And just, I suppose the capabilities, because what I think the bad experiences have been. And I think we talked about this before is sometimes there’s just an automated chat bot that can also destroy a relationship. And I often rant about my banking app because it has a very nasty chat bot, but I don’t get on very well with us.
13m 10s
2

So talk us through, what’s involved. Let’s say I have a loyalty program. Let’s say I’m an airline. Okay. What could I do with WhatsApp as an example?
13m 18s
1

And I think you’re absolutely right to ask that question because it can go horribly wrong. Okay.
13m 22s
3

Okay. So let’s be honest. Yeah. We can prepare. Yeah. I mean
13m 28s
1

5 million businesses now using WhatsApp for business, but you know, you have to be very careful the way you structure it. And as you rightly say, there are a couple of ways to interact on WhatsApp. You’ve got your chat bots, which are your automated response by artificial intelligence, where they analyze natural language processing and natural language understanding. And they understand the context of what you’re saying to them. And then they will apply a message. And that’s like a chat bot via messaging platform. And then you’ve got the chat, the WhatsApps where you can direct the chat to a live agent, to someone be sitting behind a desk and they will reply. Okay. Both in themselves have challenges. As you rightly say with the chat bot, if you haven’t set it up properly, if you haven’t loaded the right amount of intents as we call them the kind of questions and the different varieties of manners, that that question could be asked, I could ask, Hey, points, balance, and the chat bot doesn’t understand what I’ve asked for and just doesn’t apply or comes back.
14m 26s
1

Sorry. It does not understand that. And you’re going to strain it. Yeah.
14m 29s
3

Yeah. Spiral downwards crash at the end. There’s no way of getting out of it.
14m 35s
1

Sadly. I think this is where the hesitation is coming from on WhatsApp is that a lot of businesses have done it, but maybe not done it perfectly well. And the customer experience goes down not up because they haven’t managed the chat bot side of things effectively. And conversely, on the live agent side, I’ve also seen that done quite badly in so far as you’ve got a live agent sitting behind a desk, waiting for a chat, they pop to the bathroom. Okay. And you know, we’ve we just talked about,
15m 3s
3

So the simple thing, well, but we talk about how, yeah,
15m 7s
1

Well like WhatsApp because it’s convenient and fast, right? So you send a WhatsApp to a business and the live agent that’s answering the query has popped to the bathroom and it takes seven to eight minutes to reply. Oops. Then you’re kind of, you’ve lost them there as well. So for me, the sweet spots in the middle. Okay. And this, and there are, and you know how you structure, this needs to be a combination of AI, artificial intelligence, chat bots with live agent. And if something hasn’t been answered, you can trigger the systems to send to a WhatsApp group, to a live agent or the bot to answer. And so not only do you have to be very careful in the structure of the bots with all the intents, making sure you’re training about every day also that you are putting fail safes in there.
15m 52s
1

So if it doesn’t get answered, what’s the escalation, where does that go?
15m 56s
3

And I think that, I think for those reasons
15m 58s
1

We talked about is why I think a lot of people are hesitant on it, which is understandable. Totally. And I think, but this space is evolving and in terms of how it works very easy, WhatsApp, WhatsApp have very protective over who they give access to that API because they want to maintain the security aspect of WhatsApp. And which is what we all love about it. We don’t get spammed. We get no ma no marketing messaging on it. And so there’s only about 50 companies worldwide or 50 plus I think it’s for 55 or something like that, that are business solution providers for WhatsApp, who can provide the API to connect with WhatsApp directly. And then you also need like a front-end interface.
16m 39s
1

So you’ll have your connector, your business solution provider that will connect you to the API of WhatsApp and then you’ll need your front-end interface. And that front-end interface would be your system that allows you to message, but also could be your chat bot could also be your live agent login. A lot of these companies, there’s thousands of companies that are doing this. And a lot of them have integrated solutions that have all of these elements in it. Okay. And so quite simple, you fill out some forms on, on with Facebook, with WhatsApp to get your WhatsApp for business secured. And you get a little green tick on the top of your WhatsApp to show that it’s a business account.
17m 15s
3

That’s I did not know that. So if you, if you get
17m 17s
1

WhatsApps from businesses and you do not see the green tick is actually not a WhatsApp for business account. Oh my goodness. And that’s not approved by WhatsApp.
17m 27s
3

Yeah. So once you’ve done that, you’ve,
17m 29s
1

You’ve got your, you’re integrated with WhatsApp and you’ve got your front end solution or interface or whatever you, however you want to integrate, or however you want to use your WhatsApp channel. Cause not everybody wants a bot and everybody wants live agent. Okay.
17m 41s
3

Then you’re good to go. So it’s, it’s quite, yeah.
17m 43s
1

Easy, relatively to set up. And in terms of rules and regulations on WhatsApp, you can’t send messages on WhatsApp. Okay. Promotion today, 50% off restaurant, you just can’t do that. And that’s what I love about WhatsApp is they are keeping it protected that way so that it maintains the integrity for us as users,
18m 2s
2

For sure. But there are loads
18m 4s
1

Of ways to manage that and use WhatsApp for customer service, engagement and sales marketing. So if a customer engages with you,
18m 13s
2

Okay, so I’ve gone onto the WhatsApp and I’ve said, hello. Yes. The minutes
18m 18s
1

Me as a customer has engaged with the business account. I have 24 hours as a business to engage with my customer and I can send the messages as I like. Okay. Because the customer has engaged. I haven’t sent to the customer.
18m 32s
2

So as long as the user initiated the direct connection, the brand can essentially send anything
18m 38s
1

Well within reason. So there’s less losing, but there’s very clever ways to do it. So for example, at a, at an airline, you had the check-in desk, you could have a, you could have an NFC tag or something that you could tap your phone on. It opens up WhatsApp and it’s got a pre-typed in there, the text. Hello. And then you press send. So when you present, you’ve initiated dialogue. So the airline would say, Oh, highly. So thank you for checking in with us today. Is there anything I can help you with click? Yes. Click put one for yes. Two for no. Okay. And so you, you control the dialogue with a series of questions that navigate the consumer to something that they want to engage with. So, and that could be offers. So if you say, would you like to receive special offer today?
19m 19s
1

If you say yes, then you’re allowed to send, but you just can’t broadcast promotional messaging, but you can guide. There are clever ways to guide the way. So it’s not intrusive and it’s customer led, but you can, you can broadcast communications on WhatsApps. And they’re called template messages and template messages have to be approved by WhatsApp. And often they’re in kind of like often they’re used for service. So maybe you’ve booked a reservation at a restaurant and you’ve given approval to be communicated via WhatsApp. So you can say, hi, Paula, thank you for your reservation at the rib room. Here’s your reservation number? Would you like us to do anything else for you?
20m 1s
1

So again, that template message is approved by WhatsApp. It’s happened as a result of a transaction, but then at the bottom of that, you can say, how important would you like me? Would you like anything else I can help you with? Yes or no. And then you can, and then as soon as you stimulate that dialogue, it becomes what they call a session message. So there are rules and I’m talking very top level here of the rules, but there are rules, but providing you can, and to be honest, it safeguards you and the customer are not wanting to get spammed anyway. And you engage with it the way that you want to. And the business is able to engage with you and have a two-way dialogue. You’re able to create this, this connection with the brand. And it’s under on your terms on something that you use every day.
20m 41s
1

Anyway, for sure. I mean, I use mine three to five hours a day. It’s really embarrassing, actually addicted to WhatsApp.
20m 49s
2

I don’t need any convincing. And again, loads on what you’ve said there that I want to pick up on one. You just reminded me actually that when this pandemic started last year, the default communication platform that was chosen by the world health organization was WhatsApp. Interesting, which really, really impressed me. And again, I’ll put it in the show notes there just to make sure that anybody who wants to just test something that again, a global organization, which requires things like scale and accuracy, it’s just a very nice interface. And again, I think it’s purely chat bot led because obviously they’re not getting into anything individual, but it really just shows that it is to me, the platform of the future.
21m 31s
2

And I think you’ve proven that I love the balance between the AI and the live agent. And I also love the fact that you talk about that there are limited number of companies that WhatsApp have opened up their API to. And for me, when we, you know, thinking about the audience, listening to this show for me, what I would be saying is to make sure to connect with somebody like you. And again, we’ll make sure they can find you, but I, for one would not want to be a loyalty director figuring this stuff out on my own. When I know somebody like you has been down this road before. So I do think the expertise is invaluable and, and hopefully more and more of your clients are starting to pick up on it.
22m 10s
1

I would love that. And you know, part of what we do bright insights is really looking at technologies that can amplify and really add value to what everybody does already. So we really look at unique technologies. That’s what we look for. That’s what we’re looking for. But it’s funny, you know, and I, I know we had this conversation is that I have pitched this kind of concept of utilizing WhatsApp to a couple of big groups within the UAE. But sadly, probably for the reasons we talked about before they haven’t decided to adopt, but I think it is coming. And I think maybe it I’m, I’m at the beginning of that. Hopefully I think you are. And I hope that, you know, over time, people can see the value. And you asked the question before about the cost, because I think that’s going to change people’s minds dramatically, dramatically.
22m 52s
1

It used to be a bit more expensive than it is now. And now because of the so many companies that are providing that frontend interface layer coming on the market with competing products, it is so inexpensive to do this, Paula. Wow. I was trying to look at some, some numbers to try and give you some indications. And I was like, wow, okay. So it really depends how deep you want to go. You know, you do want translation. Do you want the AI part? Do you want the bot? Do you want the live agent? Do you want the direct? So it could be really big or really small, but if you go full Monty and you go all out there, I want the scene, all singing, all dancing, you know, set up wise, you’re looking at like $25,000.
23m 32s
1

My goodness. So it’s not expensive, especially if you go back to our app conversation and you think about how much people spend on apps,
23m 39s
2

It’s beyond me. Totally. When,
23m 41s
1

You know, I’d love to see brands tried and error in there. So if they’re not sure about, but want to try it, you know, let’s, it’s $25,000 I get right now. It could be a lot for people, but in the scheme of my marketing budget, it’s probably not that much. Let’s try it where there’s a group of your customers. You know, let’s try a bit with, if it’s a hotel, but let’s try it with one hotel. Let’s just see the response rate, because I think the other factor to that is how willing customers are to engage with it as well. But I’d love to, I’d love someone to jump on it and try it for sure, because I think they would be the pioneer in that. And it would be so interesting to see the engagement from a loyalty standpoint.
24m 18s
2

Totally. And if they do, I will promise now I’ll bring them on the show. So we’ll get them a bit of kudos for that as well. But, but I think you’re rightly said it will position them in customers’ minds as an innovative brand and KLM. I’m sure, you know, many years ago, as in, I’m going to say three years ago started with WhatsApp as the first airline in the world. Right. And for me, I had booked a ticket and immediately the ticket came through by WhatsApp. Amazing. And I was blown away, like literally blown away. So again, I think you’re right. You are at the beginning of this journey, you’re here to hold the Brown’s hand, coach them along. And I know you told me as well, last time we spoke that you’ve scoured the world.
24m 58s
2

You’ve looked at the technology platforms and you’ve chosen the best one that you believe. So you’ve kind of tested it up to your own standards, which I know are super high kind of career background. So I think it’s there to be done. It’s there to be taken and somebody can just do an incredible job with it. Let’s see. Let’s hope. Okay. So that’s our WhatsApp pitch. I’ve been dying to have that conversation. That’s such a long time. And, and I think listeners will probably know as well. Lisa, just in general, anything to do with voice, I have been totally converted to the world of voice as you won’t be surprised. In fact, I think this is episode 102 or something, but guest and also video. So again, I have a guest coming on in a couple of weeks talking about video communication and there’s things like clubhouse.
25m 42s
2

Now that’s the one I’m aware of, but I think you’ve done even more homework than me, Lisa. So tell us all of the other voice video and communication options out there.
25m 52s
1

You know, I think we bonded over the voice thing. I absolutely love the notion of voice marketing. Yeah. And I’ve been passionate about it for, or not, not marketing per se, but passionate about the power of the voice for a long time. Yeah. And I think the rise in popularity of voice recently has been the convergence between consumer preference and technology advancements. So that’s kind of collided, but you know, 60% of people using voice now only started last year. Wow. The speed of this is going so fast. You know, I also read a stat that 50% of all search in the U S is voice now. Yes. Yeah. And you know, voice is one voice is the way that the customer engages with the brand, but also the way the brand engages with the customer.
26m 36s
1

But voice is easy. It’s natural. The tone is easy to understand the emotion. We talked about this with WhatsApp. Well, and it’s more personal, but what I love most about it is that you can really listen and you’re doing podcasts. You know, all about this. I did a training about 10 years ago with a gentleman called Graham Fox. I don’t know if he’s still in the market, but 10 years ago I did a presentation training about how to make effective presentations. And when I went into it, I thought it was all about PowerPoint. I’m going to learn about how to make it all funky and fizzy, and everyone’s going to love it. And he basically put a black screen on the slide and said, presentations are all about the power of your voice.
27m 22s
1

Why, Oh, why are people putting stuff on PowerPoints? Which takes the attention away from what you’re trying to communicate through your voice. So he taught us in this presentation training to put a black screen on the slide and talk to the audience and only take the black screen off. If you wanted to show a picture or something to demonstrate a point. And so ever since then I’ve hated PowerPoint. And I’ve been very few almost corporate world. I think Lisa. Absolutely. But I focus on the voice and what I’m saying, because then people will listen. They do. And so if you think about it in what you do in podcasts, or you think about it in voice marketing is people can also do it by multitasking.
28m 6s
1

Yes. I play your podcast in the office whilst we’re working. So the team can, listen, I listen to podcasts while driving people can do it by jogging, by running. Yeah. So, you know, there’s a massive power in voice that people are now starting to see and let’s face it. I think Covid probably probably amplified that with the fact that people have massive screen fatigue. Oh yeah, for sure. But you can go for a run and listen. I mean, the voice is very powerful and I think voice marketing is now letting marketeers get much closer to their customers. And I’ve seen some fantastic examples. I read an article in South Korea about Starbucks.
28m 47s
1

You can send a voice notes to Starbucks via certain mediums for your coffee and pay for it on voice. You walk in, you pick up your coffee and you’ll walk out, wow, you’re multitasking on steroids there. But yes, you’re using voice. And similarly with Estee Lauder, Ooh, they’ve done some voice marketing whereby you, you have to request for these little voice notes and the voice notes will tell you, you know, don’t forget to put your night cream on and Pat around the eyes or whatever they’re telling you. I don’t know what they’re telling you, but sure. But effectively they’re giving you advice and reminders of making sure doing your skincare regime and it’s all through the power of the voice.
29m 27s
1

And it just, I just love the idea of it. It opens up a whole new door totally of, of opportunities. And now social media has jumped on this and this voice, social media phenomenon, clubhouse. I mean, it is, everybody’s talking about clubhouse. And for me, there is a distinction between voice marketing and guac clubhouse and what other social voice, social media channels do and WhatsApp, everything. It’s less about convenience. It’s more about access. Okay. It’s more about having access to people and content that you would never have had ordinarily. And for me, that’s so powerful, you know, like you, you know, very well, Elon Musk came on a clubhouse, gave it a good plug there, but, but also how would I get access to Elon Musk and listen to unscripted unscheduled content by someone like him, this is the only way to do it.
30m 24s
1

And it’s kind of completely the change the dynamics because normally this content is controlled by media. Yes, of course. But now it’s accessible for the likes of me and you know, and I can knowledge seek on these channels. I can look for things I’m interested for. And then it’s like podcast meets social media now. And it’s so fascinating, but what’s more fascinating to me is how brands are going to embrace this. Totally because you can have a room on clubhouse, but if you’re a brand and you’re a clothing brand, for example, and normally you market your product, buy your clothes because I choose clothes because of how I want them to look, of course, how do you communicate your brand through voice channels?
31m 13s
1

And so you have to switch as a paradigm switch here to amplifying what brand voice is about, but also communicating value what your values are. And then what happens is, is people can emotionally connect to that value. So I’m, I’m so excited to see what people are going to do in these spaces, for sure. So not only on social, but also voice marketing in general and the power of the voice and the emotional connection, but what’s, how’s everyone going to play it. Yeah.
31m 43s
2

And, and it’s, it’s an extraordinary, and I’m going to use the word explosive sector. And I think we’re, we’re both totally aligned on that for me again, I don’t know nearly enough, for example, when you talk about Estee Lauder, that sounds like an Alexa skill. And I built an Alexa skill and I launched it. I still can’t access the thing, but anyway, I’m playing, let’s say just for personal interest. So I think the whole voice assistance piece might be what you were saying in terms of the explosion of users in the last 12 months. Correct. And I know there’s incredible statistics around soon as people try it, they’re probably skeptical in the beginning, but once you’ve tried it, I think there’s a huge conversion.
32m 25s
2

So the, the, just the, the comfort levels, and I know friends of mine have talked about their parents using it, for example. So who may be elderly, don’t want to engage even with the mobile phone use of voice assistant because it’s natural. So pink, the thing, and any, I suppose, voice assistant, Google, et cetera. I’m not sure how advanced we are in this part of the world would probably get there. You’ve reminded me as well in London. Oh, I know there’s like voice agencies. So for example, more mature markets, let’s say here than here are starting to have specialists to again, talk about what’s your brand strategy on clubhouse to your point, what’s your brand strategy and a voice assistant.
33m 5s
2

And I think the one that commercially everyone will get excited about is voice search. So certainly what I’ve heard and seen is in 10 years time, nobody’s going to be going and tapping on the screen on their phone. You’re literally going to say actually, you know, tell me my points balance or whatever it is. So yeah, I think the e-commerce applications are just mind blowing
33m 26s
1

And it’s going to evolve. You know, there are so many platforms, clubhouse is one, that’s got a lot of PR because of, you know, you couldn’t get in, you know, you had to be invited. And so
33m 34s
2

It, the exclusivity piece does it super
33m 36s
1

Well. And as soon as that happened, I was like, I want in, how do I get in? Yeah. But you know, there’s him. Yeah. There’s discord. Discord has been really successful. The last couple of years on gaming, Twitter spaces is coming and Facebook has rumor to be doing something. So there’s going to be a whole shift in terms of the opportunities for brands to engage on these types of social platforms. So clubhouse getting in there super early as it’s created these dialogues with these voice agencies. Okay. What’s your, what’s your clubhouse strategy, but it’s soon going to be, what’s your voice strategy in social and, and kind of figuring that out. And I think that’s, that’s super exciting. And I, and I love the way it creates a much more personal relationship because, you know, you’ve always done brand guidelines in my past and you’ve got tone of voice and you’ve got brand, you know, type a font type and what have you, but voice is going to take the number one spot.
34m 23s
1

And how amazing is that? How amazing is that? And so all of a sudden your tone is very important because I think it’s always the thing that people have lost. And whereas it’s the most important how you present yourself and then the values that come behind that and how you execute that. So I’m really excited and I’d love to see cause obviously loyalty marketing is my passion. I’d love to see how we can as a community in the loyalty space, embrace this because we want that personal relationship with our customers more so than anybody. And we want to have that personalized relationship. I mean, that’s a constant battle in loyalty anyway. So how do we, how do we jump on this train and like, and really embrace it and how do we make this part of the strategy?
35m 4s
1

Yeah.
35m 5s
2

And you’ve reminded me of another example. And again, loyalty can mean so many different things. And to me, you know, in the context of this show, it’s the emotion of loyalty, you know, powered by loyalty programs usually, but not always. And a really interesting case study for me was Ryan air, which is, you know, an Irish airlines. So I’m not sure everybody listening will know it, but it’s, it’s an, a very effective, efficient, low cost carrier that has zero loyalty program. However, it does have a podcast. So in my mind, thinking about the airlines, particularly in this part of the world, they mightn’t be ready for an Alexa strategy or a clubhouse strategy, for example, but they could just launch a podcast.
35m 48s
2

They could literally be saying, you know, here’s Paula, she’s going to Sri Lanka, let’s have a chat about that experience and build again, the inspiration around travel, which then brings the emotion of loyalty, which again is completely different to, you know, they’re structured loyalty program. Absolutely. So I just think there are simple ways to do it. We don’t need to over-complicate things, but I think the key thing is, you know, the human voice is the oldest form of communication and let’s just share it. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. Wonderful. See what happens? So the other big thing I know we’re both passionate about Lisa is seamlessness removing friction and really making things super easy for our customers.
36m 29s
2

And again, building loyalty as a result. So tell me, what are your favorite things to recommend to a brand? Now, if you had a blank sheet of paper and let’s say a bottomless budget, what would you be if you were launching the next big thing in the loyalty world, in, in any country, what would you be recommending?
36m 46s
1

So I definitely feel that we need to make programs more simple and we need to get rid of some of this friction. I think we have really moved past pink code, barcode scanner, plastic cards, get my phone out, give this. I mean, it really does frustrate me when I go into a store and they say, can you give me your, you know, your plastic card? I’m like, Oh my God, are we really still doing that? Well, cause there’s no need. And you know, one of the core things you need to think about when creating a loyalty program is how do we keep it simple? And now we’ve done a lot of work in market with Cardlink technology because I love it for its simple frictionless nature. And we’ve done an Eddy, had an outdoor have both launched card link technology in this region.
37m 29s
1

Cool. I’m very proud of them because it’s fantastic. And let me just explain so card.
37m 34s
2

So that was exactly my first question. So just for anybody who hasn’t heard about card linking, what is it?
37m 41s
1

So essentially you can link a payment card, a credit visa credit, or debit card or MasterCard or Amex and whatever region you’re in yeah. Into your loyalty profile. So say you have an app or a website wherever you want to link that card to your loyalty accounts. Once that card is linked one time, and usually you can link up to five cards. So if you have multiple cards in your wallet, you can link more. As soon as that card is linked against your loyalty profile, you can use that linked card to transact at participating locations. And what that means is this. If I go into a location, that’s issuing points to me as a customer, I have to do not have to identify myself. I do not have to provide a card, a pin code, a mobile phone, the person behind the desk does not even need to know I’m alerted customer, Oh my goodness.
38m 29s
1

I simply pay with that registered credit or debit card in the store. And I was time earn points for that transaction. Wow. And what I love about it is the frictionless nature of it. But what I also love about it is the ability that you can also burn so redeem seamlessly as well. Okay. So say I go into, go into a store and the store participating, I pay with my registered credit or debit card. I walk out of the store and I can be prompted to say, would you like to earn points for that transaction? Or would you like to redeem points for that transaction? And if I click redeem, I get cash back onto my credit card. Again, seamlessly.
39m 9s
1

So no redemption vouchers, no reconciliation. There’s no reconciliation with the merchant because they’ve had their full payment from the card. Okay. Cause you’ve paid full price in the store. We do it as cash back in the credit card, post the transaction. Wow. And so Eddie had, did a great job of launching this in summer, particularly during the yeah. You know, they really, by using card link technology with their program, there was an amazing amount of engagement by not flying. Okay. Of course. And you couldn’t fly. Right? So not only were people learning currency and everyday transactions because we have about 700 plus merchants signed up to their miles on the go program, which is miles on the go there’s, there’s a 700 merchants.
39m 56s
1

When you register your credit or debit card in the shop with any of those merchants, you can earn and burn. Eddie had guests miles, but, and their physical merchants in shopping malls, namely that all the outdoor shopping malls in Abu Dhabi. Yeah. But thankfully are open for business. Yes. But what was great about it? It’s not only are you engaging because you’re engaging with the currency whilst not flying, is that the redemption side of things? I think we were all surprised by how many people were redeeming their miles on the spot offline. Cause it couldn’t fly. Right. So even though you had guests miles, don’t expire now. Brilliant. Well done. However, you know, the, the, the flexibility to, Oh, Carrefour, it’s a bit expensive this week.
40m 39s
1

Oh, you know what, I’m going to just use my miles to pay for it this week. Wow. And the engagement was fantastic. And I think that, that, that, because a lot of airlines and a lot of loyalty programs and I hate the word lifestyle, but I’ll use it once to make their programs more lifestyle. They want to make their programs connected with the individuals everyday life. Of course. And, and so Cardlink technology has really helped airlines to do this, but also what the other great part about card link technology is that you get the data really. So, okay. So me as a, as a customer of the loyalty program, I’m transacting in all these stores, of course. So, you know, I’m transacting in all these stores. And so obviously we have data loss programs have data on customers, but sometimes it can be very granular.
41m 22s
1

I mean, it can be very sorry, very, you know, very basic position or very granular. And if all of a sudden you have data on me and where I’m spending, you know, maybe I eat 10 times a week at cheesecake who knows, but you know that about me that you didn’t know that about me before. Okay. And yes. Okay. Co-brand credit cards can give you some level of information, but you don’t need to have a co-brand to link your card. Totally. So all of a sudden you get access to a whole lot more data. And that enables programs to really try to personalize a bit better. We know that a lot of people have problems with the personalization of their communications, ongoing challenge, ongoing challenge.
42m 2s
1

But imagine if you’re able to, to, to not only have the data that you have, but also the customer spend data and using that to put them in propensity buckets for segmentation and being able to be a bit more contextual with the way that you communicate to them. So not only is the car link technology for me, seamless, frictionless and simple, we’ve been, we’ve seen so much engagement with it from the airline side and including our Starner program also has super card link technology. But the data that you get from it is great. And it, it eliminates the need for a lot of training and system integration and all this kind of stuff. It’s all eliminated through cuddling. So I’m very passionate about cars.
42m 44s
2

And again, it’s another thing we share Lisa, because I came across card linking, I’m going to say about four years ago, maybe five just before I came back to the UAE and my mind was totally blown so that the simplicity of it, and again, listeners will know, I do a lot of work with convenience retail, you know, even now. And I think it’s probably the last sector to really embrace loyalty because it was really the retail experience that you really didn’t want to be inconvenienced, but convenience retailers have certainly discovered card linking. And I hadn’t realized until recently your point about not even having to open an app. So the point about showing up at a point of sale, regardless of the sector, the one thing we know for sure is going to happen is there’s going to be a payment.
43m 29s
2

Yes. Everything else should be optional. And to your point, everything else should and can be eliminated. So for me as a consumer, I’m kind of going, you know what, everyone just already get this sorted.
43m 43s
1

Yeah. And I think some people can say, I have concerns about, okay, what about cash transactions? But again, COVID is probably amplified cash. Most people have used card. And so as long as you’ve got a plastic card, then you can link your product. Now in this region at the moment only visa is operating their platform. I hope the other platforms will come soon and I’m sure they will. Sure they will. I’m pretty sure they’re working on it, but globally, a lot of markets, all the platforms are all the schemes should I say, have the ability to, to, to link card visa, MasterCard, Amex. And so, and again, we’ve worked with a couple of Cardlink suppliers and really we found one out of Europe that we feel does the most efficient work job.
44m 27s
1

And similarly, I mean, our reputation’s on the line in markets and we provide loyalty strategy and consulting, but we also recommend technology. So I need to make sure when I’m recommending someone that it’s, it’s good tech. And so I feel very confident that we’ve found such a great partner in the Cardlink space to deliver a seamless frictionless slows your transactions solutions. Yeah. Yep.
44m 53s
2

And something I heard about which I’m sure is part of your solution, but just wanted to check from my own knowledge. One of the big benefits in the retailer I spoke to who was in Europe, in convenience retail. And I think in Denmark at the time, but one of the unexpected benefits they noticed was all of a sudden they could facilitate digital receipts, which hadn’t been possible previously. And what they found from the consumer feedback was there was a wow factor, particularly again, in a supermarket who wants all these bits of paper that we all kind of resent that, you know, there’s trees coming down left, right. And center. So is that another benefit that, that most retailers can expect if they use card linking?
45m 33s
1

Probably we haven’t done that yet, but I think it’s the functionality of something that we can do, but yeah, absolutely. I also hate those receipts. I don’t generally don’t take them. We should be way past that these days. So yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I think there’s lots of more involvement in this space as well and, and the ability to also do marketing on it. So certainly from a moral perspective, we can do promotions to help drive visitor management. So say for example, you’ve got a more program and it’s, it’s facilitated by card linked, but you want to drive footfall to the upper floor because it doesn’t get a lot of footfall. And from a visitor management perspective, you’re trying to give your tenants a nice, big even coverage of the show of visitors and make it up as they go.
46m 14s
1

But you could say, okay, any store that’s on the third floor, there’s double points today. Wow. Any store that’s on the second floor, you know, you could use it
46m 23s
2

Brilliant. And it’s so easy to
46m 24s
1

Put a merchant into the platform or like, all you need is the merchant ID of the, of the, of the store. And you can pop it in as quick as you can type it into the computer. So to load and unload merchants is easy seamless. It’s simple, but also to be able to facilitate promotions based on category of merchant where the merchant exists in the more, but ask it size. I mean, you can, all loyalty platforms can do these type of things these days, but how fun is it to play with that within the mall environment and guide visitors around the mall to places where you want them to go. So there’s lots of fun things you can do with the technology to try to drive and stimulate behavior and transactions as well.
47m 10s
2

And I know there’s another term as well. I’ve come across Lisa, which I think is an industry term, a payment industry term called card on file. And again, it’s something we might explore maybe at a different time, but for me, you know, I do have a visa card. So if I do that single, you know, adding it to my loyalty profile, as you said, I think the simplicity and stickiness of that customer suddenly is, you know, it’s just extraordinary, you know, it’s like, it’s the simplicity. And again, moving of the friction. So getting that card on file, I think most retailers really need to get that one step taken by customers and to circle back to the start of our conversation, rather than asking people to download new apps every time and all of these kinds of things.
47m 54s
2

That’s the one ask, I think that makes sense between a brand and a consumer. So, so from my perspective, the more card linking that can happen, the more excited I will be. Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be on an app if you don’t want an app, you could do it on a website. And then it sounds one time. And I think one of the concerns, if, if we, if we also are honest about where there are concerns with card linking is that people are worried about the security of it. I’m putting my card on a, of course, yeah. On an app or on a website. But these, that these platforms are PCI level one compliant, which is as secure as a bank. And so it’s very secure, which is sometimes where we have concerns, but yeah, you’re right. Let’s see done by now.
48m 35s
2

Mike, can you imagine a program with WhatsApp linking and voice marketing, so, okay. We’re going to find one that may not happen. I think between us maybe make our own one. I think, I think we should listen. That’s all of the questions I have from my side. Lisa, was there anything else that you wanted to mention before we wrap up? No, just I’ve been a pleasure to kind of share some of my thought processes on the CDs technologies and have a forum to do it. So thank you so much, Paula. Not at all. And is LinkedIn the best place for people to find you Lisa? Absolutely. Yes. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So again, we’ll make sure to link to that, but for clarity, Lisa Brightwell, the managing director at bright insights consulting.
49m 16s
2

Thank you so much for let’s talk loyalty.
49m 18s
0

Thanks Paula. This show is sponsored by the wise market here. The world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research. The wines marketeer 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 the wise market, tier.com and loyalty academy.org. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of let’s talk loyalty. If you’d like me to send you the latest show each week, simply sign up for the show newsletter on let’s talk loyalty.com and I’ll send you the latest episode to your inbox every Thursday, or just head to your favorite podcast platform.
50m 14s
0

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