#317: Canada's Leading Lifestyle Rewards Program - Scene+

Scene+ is Canada’s leading lifestyle rewards program, with more than 11 million members, enabling members to earn and redeem points for movies, banking, and grocery shopping.

Originally launched in 2007, the Scene+ proposition is now used by 63% of Canadian households, so Let’s Talk Loyalty was delighted to meet Matthew Seagrim who has led the program since 2015, to hear his take on Scene’s transformation over the last 8 years.

In our conversation, Matthew shares how and why Scene+ has grown to be so loved by its members, and how they plan to continually evolve and expand both geographically and across new lifestyle sectors.

Listen to hear the laser focus from all three of the program owners on truly delighting their members.

Show Notes:


2) Matthew Seagrim, Senior Vice President at Scene+

3) Earn Rewards Every Day with the Expanded Scene+ Rewards Program

4) Sobeys bets big on growing Scene+

5) Scotiabank is set on making a Scene+

6) Feedback Link

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

This episode is sponsored by Epsilon. Today I’m delighted to announce a unique opportunity for one lucky listener of Let’s Talk Loyalty, to enjoy a complimentary workshop with the loyalty experts at Epsilon. One brand, every month will have the chance for a unique, independent Loyalty Lab, a review of your loyalty program where Epsilon will share their expert ideas, how to drive your program’s performance to a whole new level.

This workshop is a powerful way for you to measure and then increase the return on your investment in your loyalty program. So, to apply, head over to letstalkloyalty.com/epsilon and enter your details.

Hello and welcome to episode 317 of Let’s Talk Loyalty, another episode from Canada. Which is fast becoming one of my favorite countries for loyalty expertise, and insights. Scene+ is Canada’s leading lifestyle rewards program with more than 11 million members. With the consumer proposition focused on enabling people to earn and redeem points for movies, banking, and grocery shopping.

Originally launched in 2007 by Scotiabank and Cineplex. The Scene+ proposition is now used by 63% of Canadian households. To help understand the Scene+ program, I’m joined today by Matthew Seagrim, who has led the program since 2015. And today he gives me his take on scene’s transformation over the last eight years in our conversation, Matthew shares how and why Scene+ has grown to be so loved by its members and how they plan to continually evolve and expand both geographically and across new lifestyle sectors.

What struck me most about Scene+ is the laser focus from all three of the program owners to truly delight their members. So, I hope you enjoy listening to my conversation with Matthew Seagrim, the Senior Vice President for Scene+ in Canada.

Paula: So, Matthew Seagrim, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty!

Matthew: Paula, thanks so much for having me. I’m such a fan of your show and really appreciate the opportunity to be here. 

Paula: My goodness. Thank you, Matthew. That really means a lot and I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to have Scene+ on the show. So, we have an awful lot of work to do today. Uh, as you know, we always start that with having a conversation about what is your favorite loyalty program other than your own.

Matthew: That’s a, a great caveat to put in place that we can’t talk about our own Paula. Um, so I think my favorite program, uh, you really have to start by thinking about loyalty as an all-encompassing strategy and not, uh, as a, uh, a program specifically.

Um, and I think my favorite program, uh, is one where if you speak to anyone who’s one of their customers, their eyes light. Uh, and they love the business, they love the brand, they love to engage with it. Uh, and it’s Sephora and the program that they have built. I think, you know, they’ve, the foundational loyalty elements in the program itself, I think they’ve really hit on a number of the key elements. Um, and I appreciate too, they’ve got the complexity of operating in so many different markets, which, uh, you know, add layers of challenge, uh, to the operation. Um, but I think, you know, the, the foundational. I think are really strong. Um, you know, in terms of the tiering, it’s very easy to understand the mechanics, how you’re gonna be rewarded. They’re incredibly transparent about what information they’re gathering, how it’s gonna be used and how it’s gonna benefit you. Um, and I like the way that they, you know, create a sense of exclusivity as you move through the program around access to offers, access to events, product launches, information. Um, And the rewards bizarre, that really lets them, you know, dynamically highlight, uh, you know, elements of their business that they want to, um, disproportionately reward or where they want to, you know, drive spending. I think, you know, they’ve really managed, uh, to nail that multichannel execution.  Um, but I think my favorite part of it is the community that they’ve built. They, they’ve built this beauty insiders community. Um, as a forum for people to speak about, you know, their products and their lifestyle and how their products impact their lives. Um, and it’s an incredibly engaged group of customers. It’s seated by Sephora, so they’ve invested significantly in, you know, making sure that they’ve got, uh, initial content, but the heart of it is user generated. Uh, and I think it’s just such a flywheel for their business. Uh, you know, it’s fully connected into the loyalty program, into their digital experiences. And it gives them this tremendous opportunity to create rich insight, drive segmentation. Um, I can’t say enough good things about what they’ve done.

Paula: Totally, totally. Well, I’m, I’m hearing it, of course, Matthew, um, through, you know, through the eyes and ears of you with, you know, 25 years of your own loyalty expertise. So, it is certainly extremely high praise. Um, you know, given what you’re about to share in terms of your own story and, and, and the piece that I do love, I suppose the most, because as we know, you know, the, the optics from the outside, from members is absolutely one thing. But that idea of making people really feel like they’re part of something, like we use the word community so easily, but actually successfully achieving it, I think is extremely rare. Um, and I think there’s so many sensitive topics around beauty. Um, it’s just incredible that they’ve managed to pull it all together. And it also reminds me that other brands, when I think. You know, for example, I spoke to, to Boots in the UK. And also in that instance, there is this idea that content can drive loyalty. And I love that because I’m in the content business as well, Matthew, of course. Like, that really appeals to me because what I, I feel like, and I’d love your perspective, I suppose, off the cuff, like I often feel like there’s a certain amount of jadedness with, you know, the points, the prizes and the, you know, the coupons that we’ve all kind of grown up with. So, to see brands like Sephora and Boots, as I said, really kind of leaning into these new mechanics. I think it’s just an incredible evolution of the loyalty industry. 

Matthew: I think so too. And I think there’s so much opportunity for others to learn from what they’ve done, um, I was listening to one of your shows recently, uh, with Christopher Ross from Collinson talking about, uh, bland loyalty and how, um, fundamental a loyalty program can be as part of your brand strategy and bringing your brand to life. And that really resonated with me because it’s been such a core part of the Scene and Scene+ story over the last number of years is really trying to dig deep to, uh, identify, you know, how the program, um, plays a role in people’s lives, that is more than a transaction, that’s more than a reward, it’s more than, uh, a discount on their next purchase or, you know, an opportunity to put something in basket. And uh, and I think Sephora’s tapped into that as well. I think they’ve got a rich insight into, they started with a rich insight into their customers, um, and have built on that in a way that drives deeper meaning for the program and for their business. 

Paula: Yeah. Thank you for referencing that one, Matthew. You’re absolutely right. Bland loyalty, uh, Chris Ross totally nailed it and as well as listening to the show. If you haven’t read his article, I would highly recommend it. Like I was, you know, underlining and circling so many things. You know, when you get something like that. So, um, yeah, so I think we, we really do need to, to drive the industry forward, so super excited to hear exactly how you’re doing that. So maybe start us off by telling us the, the history of Scene as the program, uh, was originally known and, uh, yeah, the early part of its journey. 

Matthew: Yeah, by all means, Paula and, uh, you know, Scene, uh, began as a, uh. It started really over a conversation between two companies, uh, two very different organizations between Cineplex, uh, who’s Canada’s leading theatrical exhibitor and Scotiabank, who’s one of Canada’s largest banks. And both companies, you know, had very different, uh, perspectives on, you know, where they were in the industry and in their own industries and what they wanted to accomplish. Uh, Cineplex had tens of millions of customers, uh, going through their doors every year, uh, but did not have a one-to-one relationship with them, and had very little insight into, um, you know, who their best customers were. Uh, Scotiabank on the other side of the table, had very rich insight into their customers, lots of experience in, uh, data, data management, insight creation. Uh, but they were looking to engage with new demographics and new segments and, uh, you know, creating new, um, opportunities to bring new customers into their business. And, uh, Cineplex had been considering a loyalty program is an opportunity for them. Um, and as that conversation progressed, it became clear that together they could create something, um, unique that neither one of them was prepared to create on their own. And so, they structured a joint venture between the two organizations and, uh, gave birth to the Scene program, which in 2007 started as really a, a, a movie program. It was, uh, go to the movies, earn points, redeem your points for movies and concessions. And, um, you know, the program, no one knew how this was going to, to grow at the outset.  And there was nothing like it really in the world structurally. Uh, and, you know, this was a new space for, uh, theatrical exhibitors. Uh, but it grew beyond anyone’s expectations and, um, you know, by the time I arrived in 2015, they already had over 6 million members. They were in 38% of households. Uh, and it was a really well-loved program. Um, and so it had kind of captured, you know, the hearts and minds of particularly Cineplex’s guests and their most avid fans. Um, but it was kind of poised to become something greater. 

Paula: Okay. Ooh, that’s exciting. Now, uh, so just to be clear, so it was predominantly, as you said, Cineplex, but what was Scotiabank’s role at that point in Scene?

Matthew: Yeah. So, the two jointly owned the programs. So, they owned it 50, 50. And, uh, you know, both contributed to, you know, its structure and its setup and its initial operation. As the program grew, it started to have its own staff and then really to be run as its own, uh, business between the two owners. Um, but always with, you know, a board of directors that was represented, um, that rad representation from the two owners. Uh, really providing guidance and structure to the business and ensuring that as it grew that it was, um, doing so in a way that was gonna contribute to both organizations.

Paula: Okay. But, but in terms of its objectives, it was designed to, to grow the cinema attendance by, by the sound of it, was it?

Matthew: That was how it started. And, you know, by 2015, 2016, it became really clear that it could, uh, it, you could kind of take a next step. And, um, and that was, uh, right when I arrived at Scene. And you know, as we sat and looked at, you know, where the program was and where there was opportunity to grow, it already had great momentum. Like we knew it was gonna continue to grow, but for, to kind of get to its next chapter, we knew we were gonna need to, um, expand the value prop and expand the program into a new space. And, you know, this was, I think where, you know my, you know, my comment back on, uh, Chris Ross and the bland loyalty I think really comes to life. As we sat down with our members and we listened to how they used the program and where it created value, we, we had these really amazing stories, uh, of, you know, people who had their first dates going to the movies with the Scene program, uh, of grandparents who, you know, were able to take their grandkids out uh, for an afternoon or an evening, um, on a fixed income that wasn’t going to be possible otherwise. Of, of families who had meals together, at one of our dining partners, uh, through the program. And you know what we really uncovered through some of that was, you know, the, the people who were most engaged in the program, it was more than a transaction. It was more than a discount that in fact, you know, they saw the Scene program as, uh, really the, the instigator to encourage them to spend time with friends and family. And, and once we started to really internalize that message, it became clear that there was a bit of a deeper purpose that we could tap into. That there was, um, you know, we were, had an opportunity to kind of be somewhere else on the hierarchy of needs. 

Paula: Yeah, Amazing. 

Matthew: Then, uh, then where I think we started. And it allowed us to, you know, rebrand the program. It allowed us to, uh, really, um, lean into this richer positioning of encouraging togetherness. And it, you know, not only did it, you know give the opportunity to expand from a movies positioning to an entertainment positioning and start to tap into, you know, other areas of passion. You know, dining, music, professional sports. Um, it also really just gave the team at Scene the sense that they were doing something important and, you know, from an organizational perspective that did enormous things for our team’s morale. And, and it really gave us rich ground when we’re working with our marketing agencies to, you know, really bring this idea to life. Um, and you know, that was among a few other things, but that was one of the things that really helped us to kind of hit the next stage of growth for the program that took us from kind of 6 million members to 10 million members. So by, you know, 2020, uh, we were at about 53% of households across the country and growing, incredibly quickly. 

Paula: Incredible. My goodness. You know, as you were talking through that, Matthew, I was just actually reflecting back, um, because I got into loyalty within the telecommunications industry, so, so quite different. But at the same time, I did lead all of the partner negotiations with all of the cinema brands in the Irish market. For about seven years. So you know, what I’m hearing, you know, we very much, I suppose, took the, the model of Orange Wednesdays, which I’m sure lots of people were familiar with, uh, which I believe originated in France and was extremely successful in the UK and I managed to build that model thankfully across like five days a week in the Irish market. And, and I feel like we had the same insights, but I don’t think we articulated them as beautifully as you, you just did because we definitely did have, um, surprise and delight, I guess, from people. It was our most engaging partnership, of course. Uh, movies are fundamentally exciting and inspiring for people. And two for one was the, the value proposition. And as I said, we got it because it was such a big phone network. We got it five days a week, but we never really tapped into that emotional insight of, you know, the richer, deeper purpose that you just articulated. I think that’s amazing. 

Matthew: Well, thank you. And not only, you know, did it really help us to help grow the program and to expand our partnerships over the last few years, but I also think it was really important for us through the pandemic. You know, as we, as we entered the pandemic, you know, like our main partner activities were, uh, you know, movies, in-person, entertainment, dining out, um, you know, professional sports, live music, you know, these were all categories that were the hardest hit through the pandemic. And yet we had this brand position about encouraging togetherness, about bringing people together, uh, that we’re able to use to pivot and to maintain a level of engagement in the program and to, you know, bring, um, the importance of connectedness to life through the pandemic. Um, and I think in many ways it really helped us to, you know, come through and out of the pandemic. Uh, with a level of strength that would’ve been really challenging if we hadn’t, um, adopted that position. 

Paula: And did you undertake new initiatives, Matthew, through the pandemic, given, you know, the, the lockdowns that were inevitable. I don’t know exactly what Canada experienced compared to, say, Ireland for example, extremely bad, uh, and, and long lasting. Again, just unable to get back to the cinema particularly, and, and certainly entertainment. So, so what did you guys manage to do? Or was it a case where the emotional connection kept you going until you could get back into connectedness?

Matthew: Well, we had to run a few layers simultaneously and, and this I think, kind of gets into where Scene transformed into Scene+, and we did that really through the pandemic, so. Um, you know, we had a couple of different threads of activity underway. Uh, one was keeping the core program, healthy and our membership engaged. And, um, you know, the Canadian market, uh, was uh, very strict in its approach to the pandemic. And the theatrical sector in particular had some of the strictest lockdowns of any industry in Canada and of any market in the world. Um, and so we, um, we, you know, tried to find opportunity through that. And, uh, we launched a program called Better Together, and it was about, um, you know, identifying where the program could still be used to enable virtual experiences. Um, but we also, um, you know, built a, a new level of geographic personalization because region by region and even city by city in the country, there were different rules in place at different times.

Paula: Okay? Of course. 

Matthew: And so we had to build a set of infrastructure that recognized what was actually available to you in the community where you lived so that we could be dynamically reflecting whether, you know, in-person opportunities were actually open and available, or if they were not, so we could be, uh, maintaining a level of relevance, uh, all the way through. Um, so that was kind of the one thread. And, and then the other piece of course was, uh, that we were in the midst of transforming the program completely into Scene+. Um, which I can, you know, go into kind of what that involved, but, you know, part of it was also bringing new categories of rewards into the program, that would have relevance, um, even in the midst of a pandemic. So just, you know, more opportunities to, you know, engage with the, with the program and more opportunities to leverage points. 

Paula: Yeah, yeah. And we’ll definitely get into that now, Matthew, but as you talk about the personalization, um, and developing that in the middle of the pandemic. You know, when I think about personalization, I’m thinking about birthday gifts, and I’m thinking about completely trivial ideas by comparison with matching up the availability, which of course was a nightmare for everyone concerned. So, so well done on managing to, uh, to keep that thread going and find a, a solution of real value, cause I’m guessing people were just desperate to get out and entertain themselves, as in when they were allowed to. So, so love the personalization, of course, it’s, uh, you know, a fundamental of our industry. But again, seeing it applied in different ways. Um, and thoughtful ways. I thought, you know, when I was looking back at kind of some of the other kind of conversations you’ve had, I can hear that coming through as maybe a thread. Uh, I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but certainly for me, there’s a lot of integrity around what’s Scene and Scene+ have been, uh, focused on delivering. Am I right in, in feeling? 

Matthew: Yeah, absolutely right. Uh, you know, we are very focused on the member and, you know, right from the board of directors all the way through the organization. Uh, you know, our primary focus is creating value for our members and our owners and our partners. And, um, and we try to bring that to life in every part of the business. And, you know, as I mentioned earlier, like this sense of, um, trying to create meaning in the program for the membership as well as for the team has really been foundational for, you know, how we’ve run the organization all the way through.

Paula: Yeah, yeah. So, tell us about the transformation then, Matthew. Why did you gain a plus, with Scene? 

Matthew: So, a couple of things have happened over the last three years. Um, so one of the, and you know, these are fairly substantial decisions that, uh, some major organizations have made. Uh, so the first part of the plus, uh, was really with our, uh, our owner Scotiabank. Scotiabank was operating two programs, uh, simultaneously. They had the Scene program that they jointly owned with Cineplex and they also operated their own program, Scotia Rewards, uh, that was really focused on travel and merchandise, uh, across a number of financial services products. And over the last couple of years, as the bank was looking at, you know, where it, um, had strategic opportunity, uh, you know, we came to the realization, these two programs were incredibly complimentary, they had, uh, very little in terms of overlap of benefits. Uh, they had some overlapping membership, but complimentary membership. Um, and you know, it came to realization that these two programs could in fact be stronger together than separate. And so last year, uh, December 13th, we merged the two into Scene+. And so that had, uh, some pretty significant implications, um, from a member perspective, it meant that, uh, you know, we were expanding the suite of benefits for everyone involved. So for everyone who had been part of Scotia Rewards, they suddenly had access to, you know, movie rewards and dining and some of her other partnerships. Um, and for everyone who was in the Scene program, uh, prior to last year, suddenly, you know, there was a new opportunity to, uh, earn and redeem points for travel through Expedia, an expanded range of uh, gift cards, some merchandise rewards, um, e-commerce, uh, through our relationship with Rakuten. Uh, so, you know, a fundamentally new and different program for everyone at the table. And from a strategic perspective, that also meant that Scene Plus was now Scotia Bank’s Enterprise Loyalty program. And so, as an organization now we are. into a very different, um, position within the bank. And uh, you know, with that comes a fairly profound sense of responsibility and obligation to ensure that the bank is going to achieve its objectives. So that, that was kind of the, the first big piece. Um, and then the second big piece, uh, that really launched this summer, uh, was Empire Company, uh, who is a grocer in Canada. They op, they’re the, the second largest grocer, and they operate some of our, the strongest brands across the country, SoBe, Safeway, IGA, uh, FreshCo and others, um, they have embraced scene as Scene+ as their, uh, enterprise loyalty strategy as well, and they’ve joined as a co-owner. So Scene has moved from having, you know, two owners in a JV now to three owners, Cineplex, Scotiabank, and, uh, Empire. And we’ve been in the process of rolling out grocery and pharmacy and liquor across the country, uh, since August. So again, uh, there’s transformational change. Yeah. And it’s been incredibly exciting.

Paula: Oh my goodness. I can hear the excitement, Matthew. I mean, to become the enterprise loyalty platform for a huge bank like Scotia, as you said, I can only imagine the sense of responsibility and I dabbled with a little bit of banking loyalty, I would say back in Ireland. and what always has stuck with me is how risk averse the banking sector, of course is. Um, so building, uh, loyalty propositions for them just brings a whole other layer of responsibility and complexity and opportunity, um, because I think for a brand, any brand in, in the banking sector, it’s almost one of those kind of grudge purchases. So, they get the halo effect, of course, of the super sexy scene proposition and movies and, and all of that, sounds super nice. And then I suppose the, the evolution towards grocery. Of course, as we know, consumers love to have those frequent opportunities to, to earn and burn. Um, but I do know that you are not keen and I suppose to ever be considered a coalition program, which from the outside looking in is perhaps the term we might have labeled, you know, to a proposition as broad as this. So, so tell us how you do position it and, and the distinction you see in the importance of how it’s framed.

Matthew: Yeah. Um, I mean, Canada has a very rich history of very successful coalition programs. Uh, you know, the Air Miles program, uh, you know, has been, you know, one of the longest standing players in the market. 

Paula: For sure. 

Matthew: Very, very strong business over many, many years. Uh, the Aeroplan, uh, business, uh, you know, grew into a coalition program and then, you know, expanded internationally, uh, through AMEA over, uh, a number of years. Um, and you know, so with very strong history in Canada, but, uh, we do see ourselves as a little bit different. Um, you know, for one thing, you know, we are, um, you know, owned by three organizations whose core objectives for Scene+ are to deliver value to the members and to deliver value, uh, for our owners and partners. And so the, I think, you know, at this, at the core, there is a fundamental difference in that we don’t have an outside shareholder, uh, whose needs would, um, proceed, uh, the needs of the, the membership and the owners and the partners. Um, so our focus is very different. Um, the other piece is that, you know, we are, um, you know, we’re structured in such a way, uh, that we, you know, we’re not looking to become a, you know, a program with hundreds and hundreds of partners. Uh, we’re very interested in, you know, creating a curated, um, partnership ecosystem, uh, that will really address the needs of our members and, you know, where we can create really significant value, uh, through a level of focus. 

Paula: I love it. And I, and I’ve seen you using the kind of terminology such as a lifestyle rewards program, which I think actually as a consumer, to me that’s much nicer. Um, and actually makes sense to me. So, I guess that that kind of positioning is, is very nice. And I guess it also has the benefit of feeling maybe even like a fresh approach for consumer.

Matthew: Well, we certainly think so. And you know, we’ve been so thrilled with how, uh, receptive the market has been. Uh, since we launched Scene+, uh, less than a year ago now, we’re, we’re not quite a year old. And since we began to roll out with, um, Empire, uh, in grocery and pharmacy this summer. Uh, you know, the growth has been spectacular. Over the last, you know, three months, we’ve had new, more new members join the program in three months than our best year in our history. 

Paula: Oh my God. 

Matthew: And Scene has always, we’ve always been able to grow quickly. We’ve always had a, a very compelling value proposition. And to see the kind of growth that we’re now experiencing, it’s, it’s really, it’s all, it’s all inspiring.

Paula: For sure, and the word that’s coming to mind now is disruptor. I don’t know if that’s a term you’ve been, uh, considering as yourselves, but it sounds like there is just this wave of momentum and opportunity and excitement to create something new.

Matthew: Yeah, there really is. And you know, it’s been fun for us to now have so much of this in the public eye. Particularly after working on so many of these initiatives for, you know, three years. Uh, it’s been, you know, a huge number of people across, uh, you know, all four organizations, you know, Cineplex, Scotiabank Empire and Scene working together to bring this new vision to life. And it’s nice now to finally be able to share with the world uh, what we’ve actually been building. And to have, um, you know, the, the industry respond, to have consumers respond. Um, and you know, the, you know the, selfishly, one of the nice things has been just the number of organizations that have called us over the last, uh, few weeks. Uh, saying, how can I participate in this? How can we play a role? Um, that’s, that’s been a, an interesting dynamic as well.

Paula: For sure, for sure. I’d love to know, what does success look like? I mean, you’ve talked through some incredible growth numbers in terms of 11 million, I think is the, is the current Scene+ membership, if I’m not mistaken. Um, and then household penetration I know is over 50% in the Canada market, so, so what else are you looking at in terms of, you know, as you said, delivering the value for your members?

Matthew: Yeah um, so’s a number of things that we are looking at and, uh, just to update, I mean, these numbers are changing day by day. So we’re at 63% of households now.

Paula: My God!

Matthew: From 53, uh, just over a year ago. So, it’s, uh, the growth has been pretty dramatic.

Paula: Amazing!

Matthew: So you know what, you know, you often ask, uh, your guests about, you know, what they’re measuring, what their metrics are and how they are um, tracking their program. And we have, uh, kind of an interesting, um, we’re a bit of an interesting place because the Scene+ program is less than a year old. Because we’ve just emerged from a pandemic, uh, because we’re launching a new program, because we have two legacy businesses that we’ve brought together, um, there are a number of different things that we need to look at. Um, so, you know, normally like we would go through any given, you know, year tracking the typical things like how engaged for our members. What’s our net promoter score satisfaction with the, you know, rewards program, the assortment. We’ve always spent a lot of time looking at whether or not the program is driving incremental business, uh, for our owners and partners.

Coming out of Covid um, we also have to spend a lot of time thinking about, you know, are we reactivating, uh, people that were unable to participate in the program, uh, during the pandemic and are we doing that successfully? Um, and you know, as a predecessor to that, we need to make sure we’re looking at, you know, are we communicating with people with relevance? Have we brought rewards to the table that are making sense? Um, and is the Scene+ program compelling enough that people are going to want to continue to do business, uh, not only with Scene, but with our owners and our partners. Um, but through this transformation now, there’s a whole other layer. Uh, there’s the Scene layer, and then there’s the, you know, the owner’s layer, and then there’s the partner layer. Uh, and from the Scene+ perspective, uh, we have just so much work to do with, you know, 11+ million members now to make sure that people truly understand the program. Uh, we have, you know, 10 million plus members that came in from the legacy Scene program. We’ve got north of a million that came in from Scotia Rewards, and we have all these new people joining this new entity. And there’s, in all cases, we need to make sure that people really understand the program. That they’ve gotten awareness of the benefits, uh, that their, you know, their enrollment and activation is smooth. So, we’re tracking things like program understanding, time to first earn, time to first redemption, how much cross partner migration is there?  And then fundamental things like just, are we doing a good job servicing our customers? You know, do they, uh, are they getting the information that they need through all of our channels? And have we done the job of increasing satisfaction in the program, from what we used to offer, uh, either from, um, you know, the old Scene program, the Old Scotia Rewards Program, uh, or if someone is migrating into Scene+ from, uh another program, are we seeing a material shift? So, we’ve got lots of things to keep an eye on. And then simultaneously we have this enormous obligation to make sure that we’re delivering against the objectives of our owners. And, uh, so there’s a, another whole body of work around, uh, just being crystal clear on their objectives and making sure that we’re tracking against them. 

Paula: Yeah, yeah. Well, clearly a busy team, and I will ask you in a second, actually, I’d love to get a sense of your team as well, Matthew, but I really love that you pick up on the education piece because to me, that’s often forgotten about on the journey, the excitement, the marketing, particularly above the line, for example, and when you have such incredible brands as partners, of course, I’m sure the presence of the visibility has just been exploding to give you that 63% household penetration rate. I’m so envious. Um, so yeah, so, so I’d love to just even get a little bit more detail in terms of how do you do that education like, channel wise, is it mainly email? Is it, you know, are you using a lot of digital channels, for example? And it’s, I suppose it’s top of mind for me just today because I was interviewing somebody yesterday in Indonesia and they’re doing a lot of their communications on WhatsApp and…

Matthew: Oh, interesting. 

Paula: I love to see that. So I, I’ll definitely make sure, you know, when that episode goes live. But for me, you know, these messenger, um, applications, even using chatbots, which I know don’t have a good reputation. But from a Canadian market perspective, like what, what would be your, your opportunities and channels that you have to communicate at the moment? 

Matthew: Yeah I actually want, I’ll like step back for a second, Paula, because I think there’s, there’s one piece of how we’ve built the program that’s really important in this story. Um, which is, you know, we’ve, we’ve always tried to make the program as simple as we can and as understandable as we can. And, you know, through most of our history, our value proposition, uh, you could scribble on a napkin, and it was very easy to understand. And as we’ve added benefits and as we’ve added, uh, ways of interacting with the program, we’ve tried to, as much as we can, try to keep that at the core.

So, you know, you know, we’ve avoided the temptation to introduce, uh, additional or needless complexity and aimed instead for a, you know, a clear value proposition in the points. And, you know, that that comes across in our marketing. It comes across in how we speak about ourselves in our app and, and in our web uh, channel. Um, it comes across in our in-store marketing. Um, and it also comes across in, um, you know, things like redemption value, like we’ve aimed for a level of consistency in redemption value across most of the reward types. Uh, so that people will know when they walk into a grocery store, they walk into a movie theater or they’re, you know, walking into one of our dining partners. Uh, that they can be redeeming the points on the spot and they know exactly what they’re worth. 

Paula: Amazing.

Matthew: And so there’s little confusion, uh, in the program. Um, in terms of the education, you know, our, you know, our workhorse today is predominantly, uh, email, um, but then really reinforced through app and web. Uh, I’d say today we don’t have, uh, something fundamental happening in WhatsApp or in some of those other, um, the other kind of Messenger apps. Um, but what we’ve really been focusing on over the last little while is making sure that we’ve got a very clear onboarding, um, journey, that our members have taken through. Uh, and that there is a, you know, a level of responsiveness built into the journey, you know, based on where you’ve come in from. Uh, so that we’re recognizing if you came in through the grocery store, that we’re going to be, you know, um, you know, providing kind of that level of perspective on that program, part of the program first, uh, because it’s clearly of relevance to you and then reinforcing it with the other elements of the program.

Um, and as I say, this is, this program as it stands today is less than a year old. So we’re doing a ton of construction as we go and, uh, um, you know, we’ve, over the years had, you know, really sophisticated onboarding strategies. Uh, many of which have had to get completely retooled as we’ve, you know, changed our brand and changed the program and so on. Uh, and so we’re rebuilding a lot of things even as we’re, uh, in transformation.

Paula: Yeah. And I can see you smiling as you’re talking about it, Matthew. You know, I mean, that would, you know, it, it’s actually quite overwhelming as I hear you talk through the amount of complexity, um, to make it appear simple. And I guess that’s the, the definition isn’t it, of, of, uh, of genius. They say when something is, is super easy, super simple. You’ve done the thinking behind the scenes. Taken that burden of responsibility away from, uh, from the members just to make sure that it’s that easy for them to understand.

Matthew: Yeah. Uh, well, I’d say it’s, um, it’s really helped by this extraordinary commitment from, you know, the three owners to help bring this to life. And I don’t think that any of this would be possible if we didn’t have, you know, all three organizations fully committed to making this happen. And really committed to a common vision, uh, that, you know, this program can occupy, uh, a really powerful place, um, in the Canadian landscape and, you know, can really unlock value for members from coast to coast to coast. 

Paula: For sure, for sure. And yes, and, and again, we’ve often said on this show, you know, it’s one thing to have an aligned vision, but you know, to have it at board level of course is essential. You know, there’s absolutely no point us as loyalty practitioners, um, attempting to convince, you know, other people that this is the right thing to do. It definitely has to be strategically valuable and valued by the board. So, it’s super interesting and inspiring to hear you have exactly that going on there. 

Matthew: Well, we do. And you know, as I was thinking about, you know, your Chris Ross, uh, interview again, uh, you know, one of the things that has been wonderful for us is, you know, we have a board of directors that’s, you know, very senior individuals who are very committed to this vision. Um, and, you know, we, you know, we’ve, we’ve got this opportunity, uh, for Scene+ to really be a, a tangible manifestation of a brand promise. And, and to really bring it to life in a way that is going to be, um, meaningful and relevant, uh, to all of our members.

Paula: Wonderful. I will make sure to send this episode to Chris, make sure he, uh, he, he gets to hear that lovely feedback. So, I guess my final question then, Matthew, is what does the future hold and can you tell us, now you probably can’t, but where would you say your focus will be in the next 12 months for Scene+?  

Matthew: Uh, Scene, Scene+ has a pretty exciting journey ahead. Uh, not only are we completing the rollout, uh, with Empire, so we’ve still got the Quebec market still to launch. Uh, in early 2023. So really excited to kind of, um, complete that rollout and to, uh, you know, bring the program to that market. Uh, Quebec is such an important market for us nationally and just can’t wait to have that done. Um, and then next summer, uh, we’re excited because we’re gonna be adding a new vertical, uh, to the business we’re gonna be launching with, uh, Home Hardware. Uh, Home Hardware is a home improvement retailer, uh, operating under four brands, more than four brands, but, um, they’re in over a thousand communities across Canada. And you know that, you know, they are themselves a, a terrific organization, um, and amazing people to work with. And it’ll be terrific for us to kind of add that, uh, vertical to the value proposition, um, but also really meaningfully, you know, they’re in communities of all sizes across the country. And so it, you know, will give us a real opportunity to strengthen the footprint of Scene+ and the relevance and the value we can create uh, for Canadians everywhere.

Paula: Yeah. Wow. Well, that sounds incredibly exciting, Matthew. My goodness, nonstop. So, listen to me, that is all the questions I have from my side. It’s been a pleasure to learn about Scene+, but is there anything else that you wanted to mention before we wrap up? 

Matthew: Paula, just how much I appreciate you doing this. It’s, uh, tremendous to be able to learn from leaders in this space, uh, around the world and to get insights into, uh, where others are finding success and inspiration, and to be able to bring that back home, uh, and to share with our team. So really appreciate this opportunity. 

Thank you, and thank you for sharing your wisdom, insights, and expertise as well. So, with that said, Matthew Seagrim, senior Vice President at Scene+, thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

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