#141: Loyalty Excellence and Innovation with AA Smartfuel New Zealand

Voted the number one loyalty programme in New Zealand, AA Smartfuel is a fascinating loyalty programme that was designed with a laser focus on delighting customers with the opportunity to earn a free tank of fuel!

This coalition programme now boasts more than forty merchant partners across 1,200 locations nationwide, who together market the programme and ensure consumers can achieve meaningful savings on fuel from their everyday spend.

Joining me today to share their story are Ian Sutcliffe, Co-Founder of the programme along with his Marketing Manager Jordan Tran

Together they explain the latest innovations for this programme, from new reward options through to ideas on how best to share data and insights in ways that continue to delight customers and partners alike.

We also discuss another of my favourite ideas, leveraging our loyalty programmes to support supplier brands like FMCG manufacturers.

Listen to learn this unique case study from perhaps the most active loyalty market in the world.

Show Notes:

1) AA Smartfuel New Zealand 

2) Ian Sutcliffe – Co-Founder AA Smartfuel

3) Jordan Tran – Marketing Manager at AA Smartfuel

Audio Transcript

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

This show is sponsored by Comarch, a global provider of innovative software products and business services.

Comarch’s platform is used by leading brands across all industries to drive their customer loyalty.

Powered by AI and machine learning, Comarch technologies allow you to build, run

and manage personalized loyalty programs and product offers with ease.

For more information, please visit Comarch.com.

Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of let’s talk loyalty, where the first time I am heading to New Zealand, a country that has impressed me hugely, both in terms of the loyalty propositions on offer, but even more so the sheer depth of engagement by New Zealand consumers with those programs AA smart fuel has in fact been ranked the number one program in the country, perhaps because it operates such a generous coalition model focused on helping Kiwi consumers earn unburned cents per liter, across many monthly casual greys of spend boasting over 40 partner brands and 1200 stores. I was delighted to chart to the co-founder Ian Sutcliffe, along with marketing manager for AA smart fuel Jordan tram, and together we discuss why the AA smart fuel program is so incredibly popular with customers, as well as the latest interesting opportunities and Speaker 0 (1m 59s): Challenges facing this market-leading program. So welcome to let’s talk loyalty. Hi, Paula Paula. Speaker 1 (2m 15s): Great, great, great listen. Fantastic to have both of you on the show today. And you’re actually my first guests from New Zealand. So this is particularly exciting for me. You may know, actually from listening, I know you’ve been listening to a couple of the previous shows that I like to consider myself the global voice of loyalty. So you’re really helping me with that today. Very good. No pressure then. Great, great. And I actually had to Google, which you believe as well, whether it’s okay to use the word Kiwi. I didn’t know if that was a nice term or a less nice term, but I think it sounds like a nice term to use. Yeah, very colloquial, great stuff. Well, listen, let’s get into the show. And as you know, we always start with our favorite loyalty statistic and the idea is obviously that everybody can and learn immediately all about AA smart fuel. So maybe Ian, why don’t you kick us off with your favorite loyalty stuff? Speaker 2 (3m 7s): Yes, I have two Paula. One is a measure that we use throughout the business, which is unique monthly active users as in cardholders. And we track it just over a million of those monthly. And that’s really just a measure of engagement for us. You know, we can blow numbers up by looking at how many people are active quarterly or over a year, but really for our partners, they want engagement. So that monthly, monthly number is where our focus and attention goes. And it’s really important. And the other number that I have is household penetration of, of registered card holders of the program, which sits at not in New Zealand. We have 95% of households have a registered card. So for us there’s a, there’s a, there’s a scale and a reach component and an engagement Ponant. And those, those two really go hand in hand, especially when we look at a coalition program for, for the partners. So they’re my two numbers. Speaker 1 (4m 1s): Oh my goodness. I mean, 95% household penetration. I don’t think there’s any other country in the world that has a marketing program that penetrates 95% of households. It must be the top in the world. Speaker 2 (4m 16s): We’ll take it. Yeah. It probably helps just having under 2 million households, not millions and millions of them as well. Speaker 1 (4m 23s): Yeah. Well, I come from a small country and so I know what that’s like. So thank you for that incredible statistics and Jordan. So you’re in the marketing side of a smart field. So tell me what’s your favorite royalty statistic? Speaker 3 (4m 37s): So my favorite loyalty statistic is a little bit more general, I guess, more from a landscape point of view, but there was a recent study done here in New Zealand called fallout for local money. And one of the interesting stats that I read through that was that there’s still a whopping 53% of Kiwis, at least that still prefer interacting with longitude programs via traditional methods. I, the plastic card. And I just found that really interesting because there’s so much talk about digitization, everything becoming digital focus on mobile apps. So it was just a real, I guess I learned and a good reminder to not forget about the people that still have the old plastic card. Speaker 1 (5m 17s): Totally. And you’re right. And we should give a shout out to our mutual friend, Adam Posner for, for doing all of that work for coming up with that incredible statistic, because I think you’re right, Jordan, there’s them an extraordinary undervaluation I think of just the experiential piece of loyalty and maybe we’re all kind of rushing too fast with them, whether it’s COVID or whatever else, just to, you know, be all technical and old savvy. And some people just want to have a nice car that can show at the tail end. Exactly. Wonderful. Great. And I guess I should add a favorite statistic because as I said, you are the first at New Zealand loyalty program. That’s come on the show. And, and the reason that actually Adam introduced us was because of your results with that particular study. So I know AA smart fuel was ranked the number one loyalty program in New Zealand in the second edition of the research and the second time in two studies. So a hundred percent results, which is amazing. Speaker 2 (6m 14s): Thank you. We are Adam a bit. Speaker 1 (6m 25s): Yeah, no, it’s good. You know, I think we don’t often enough step back. Sure. We don’t and kind of go, you know, what have we achieved? And I think it’s, is it 11 years that you’ve had the program running so far? Speaker 2 (6m 38s): Yeah, so, so we’re actually just coming up to our 10th birthday under AA smart fuel, but we started the business before that, before we joint ventured with the AA. So yeah. And I mean, by, by way of background, I, I guess that’s probably a segue into that for you. Yeah, I I’m guessing it was probably 12, 12 30, 12 years ago, I think. But it was, it was in the era. When do you remember supermarket paper dockets? Where were all the rage on other big in the UK? And there was certainly a big over here. And this was essentially when you shopped at the supermarket and you got a few cents a liter off your, off your petrol to go and redeem your paper docket at the, at the local gas station for money off your shoe. And at the time my business partner owned fuel sites and, and sadly they weren’t affiliate the chain that he was involved with. Wasn’t affiliated to any, any of the supermarket chain. So he found himself losing market share, you know, the, the, the Kiwi, a Kiwi consumer has an infatuation with, with the price of guests it’s quite expensive. So anything they can get off site save a buck or two that they’re into it. And at the time he was, he was pretty keen to find an alternative. And I guess the reality is very seldom are the new ideas around. So smart fuel was a, an initiative that was a play on existing. And there’s just an idea around fuel, but with, with a number of differences, I guess, to what was in the market at the time. And, and the thing that really kicked us off was, you know, we were just talking about, imagine a, imagine a proposition for a consumer proposition whereby the consumers say, can save sufficient discounts to get a free tank of gas that has got to be good just by shopping at a whole bunch of different retailers. And, and that was really the catalyst for us, for, for getting going and, and really the, the differences that we had around it were, you know, the fact that you could earn these fuel discounts at multiple retailers, rather than just a supermarket. We built out reporting. We kind of had, we offered retail breakage for retailers, which was new in this stage. So that’s probably a little bit about the story. Yeah. Speaker 1 (8m 48s): It’s a brilliant story actually in, and, and you’ve reminded me of them. I think it was Walgreens in the U S who, who said something similar. So they started with one of their propositions by writing the press release. And I, that’s what I’m hearing coming through. And from when we talked before you really decided, what is it that customers are going to be wowed by? And absolutely. Then how can we make the business work for the consumer where sometimes I think we have it back to front, but actually if the consumer loves it, like you can’t really fail. Speaker 2 (9m 21s): No, that’s right. And that was, I think that was our, certainly that was our belief. And we keep coming back to that proposition time and time again, certainly when we started out on our own, we, we both like the business and, you know, you have moments, you know, we’d probably write a book on it, but there’s moments there, there, where you go, is this going to work? And we just kept coming back to the fact that if, if we can, if consumer can get a free tank of gas, w it is going to work, let’s just, let’s just figure it out. And, and the other, and I guess the other part of the equation was also thinking about, because we were late entrance into the market here in New Zealand, was what, what, how can we make it different for the partner as in the retailer and the, and the big piece that we did around that was probably unlike most of the programs around the world, essentially retailers purchased, if the points based, they’ll purchase the points for a price, and then they give them away to the consumer, however, they, however they deem appropriate. But yeah, but once you’ve bought those, once you bought those points or given them away to the consumer, whether the consumer engages with them or uses them or not, you’ve paid for them. So it hits, hit your P and L and for us. So it’s so from a, so from a margin point of view, what we said was we broke the cost of the rewards or waste separately to, we put a, a revenue model around being a participant in the program. And we have, you know, we’ll talk about that later on. But, but the, the idea was from a fuel discount point of view, you only feel dis discount, a hundred percent of that discount goes to the consumer. If they don’t use it, you as a retailer, get it all back. Wow. So, so from an, and you can probably understand there’s a reasonably, a slick system that sits in behind that to kind of work out all the breakage of all the partners, but, but still, it, it works pretty well. So the retailer actually, it doesn’t, it doesn’t cost the retailer as much as it looks on the surface to the consumer. Wow. That makes sense. Speaker 1 (11m 18s): It does even. And, and I was thinking, as you were explaining it, like, you obviously had to figure all of this out, you know, literally almost by trial and error, you know, build some models, see how it’s going to work, test them with the merchants. Am I like, did you have any, let’s say loyalty expertise to advise you when you were creating this concept? Speaker 2 (11m 38s): Well, no, not particularly, but, but I think that the, the, the piece that got us across the line again, but it’s sort of who knows who new Zealand’s a pretty small place. And my business partner actually had a really good school friend who was very, very smart with building out code and building systems. And in fact, built one of the first online banking systems in New Zealand. And basically two of the, two of them got together and, and tried to map it out and then, then left it to, to, to, to the brains to go and figure out all these algorithms and how they were going to build it. So we had some, we had some really smart, you know, smart resource that were able to, to tap into it. And he’s actually at another shelter in the business. So we’ve got kind of the key key stakeholders with key competencies invested in the business, which is, which is good. Yeah. And then once, once, once we’d established that, then we, then we, we were very fortunate. We sort of ran it ourselves for probably about 18 months in a small provincial town in, in New Zealand and tried to figure it out. We had a couple of all companies on board and about 30 local local retailers. So just individual sites, just to prove the concept. And we were looking a bit about what, what the next step was. And we were very fortunate that we, the AA where they had a program that perhaps wasn’t as performing as it, as it had been 10 years in the market was probably getting a little bit stale. So there’s only so many retailers to go around in New Zealand and we were tapping some of their retailers, which, which, which ended up bringing us together. So we actually formed a joint venture in, in 2010, 2011. And, and, and, yeah, sorry. Speaker 1 (13m 19s): Yeah, no, and, and just for my own amusement, I’ll make sure that we’re, we’re very curious the automobile association rather than the other AA, which I think in them again, I’m very familiar with it in the correct sense. Yes. Yes. I was thinking about that before we came on air Speaker 2 (13m 36s): The automobile association. You’re absolutely right. Although some of the stories could drive it to the other one, I suspect. Oh, bless. Speaker 1 (13m 42s): Okay. Bryce, let’s hope we don’t go there. And so Jordan, you’re involved in the marketing side of the whole program. So when did you get involved? Speaker 3 (13m 53s): Ooh, I think I’m pushing eight years now. I’m in the wrong game. I think it was actually my first gig at a university. So I picked it up through the, through the university email, as you know, I smiled, he was looking for a marketing assistant shot, my shot, and here we are eight years later. I still remember the first, my first job when I, when I came into the role was that to, to sign Christmas cards of a half of, of some of the directors of the business. Speaker 1 (14m 22s): Wow. Well done. You, that’s amazing. Speaker 3 (14m 25s): Probably the furniture now. I Speaker 1 (14m 27s): Totally agree. And I’ve often said on the show Jordan that I, that I really think from, from a loyalty perspective that we often undervalue as well, those very simple kind of human touches. So I know what is your total base now? 2.9 unique registered card holders. So I’m sure you’re not signing 2.9 million cards, but at the same time, just to have, I guess it’s even the merchants and those kinds of relationships just kind of done in a human way that builds loyalty in a whole other way that I think is super important. Speaker 3 (14m 58s): Yeah. And I think it’s also a part of, I guess, the Kiwi culture and I were very hands-on and lagging and was saying before everybody kind of knows everyone. So yeah. It’s always got that. You’ve always got that human touch to any kind of relationship here in New Zealand. Speaker 1 (15m 12s): Yeah. Yeah. Sure. So how has the proposition evolved I guess, from in the beginning? So again, you’ve set the scene in, in terms of it is a coalition program and a couple of fuel only rewards partners. If I understand it correctly, but the earn site in the beginning was that in the grocery space? Speaker 2 (15m 34s): No. So the, the, the earn earn space has always been around fuel and going back to, you know, looking at my business, my business partner, who was looking to try to drive volume back into his sites, so fuel what fuel was the reward and we’ve, and we’ve stuck to that all the way through w we’re evolving it slightly as the program, as the program matures, but primarily well, solely really fuel is the fuel is the, the reward. Speaker 1 (16m 2s): Okay. Right. Okay. So earn and burn on fuel. Fantastic. And I, I saw another lovely statistic that you sent me over him, which was that 5,000 card holders redeem a full, fine, sorry, full tank of fuel every month. So 50 liters of fuel and 5,000 people every month, you must be incredibly proud of that. Speaker 2 (16m 24s): Yeah. And I think it’s taken, it’s taken a long time to get there. You know, we look at those million active cardholders on a monthly basis. And, and w w we have, you know, that’s, that’s earning and burning. I think we have about 500,000 a month redeem a reward for fuel. And that varies as you, you saw there. I think we have 60,000 that redeem over 50 cents, a liter 5,000 to three tank, and then every, every denomination in between. But the, the big, the big shout out really is to our partners. I mean, they’re, they are the people who, who issue the discounts. So they right there, they’ve got in right behind the program, they market it really well. And, and it is a, it is a very generous program. And I think that’s probably part of its success. And, and just to, to give you a sense of that, you know, we have a, we have an energy partner, so we’re a company called contact energy here. They offer 30 cents a liter when you, when you pay on your, on your energy bill a month. So it’s rather than the, the discount, you know, the incentives coming up front by most power power companies do for switching, give you, I don’t know, a couple hundred bucks a switching. This is just a monthly, a monthly play, 30 cents a liter every month, it’s loaded onto the card holders card. There’s a communication goes out, reminding them, keeps the partner front and center. And they see lifts in, in, in retention rates. You know, same if you’re buying fuel, you buy 40 bucks of gas at a BP or guests. They’ll give you 6 cents a liter. So that adds to the 30 cents a liter. So you’re now at 36 cents a liter. So that’s, that’s how the program works. Supermarket, you get six, we’ve got a pet pet store online that gives you 20 cents a liter. So it’s really easy to start building a, what is it, what is a meaningful savings that, that, that you see essentially senior your back pocket by the time you’ve redeemed it at the, at the fuel station? Speaker 1 (18m 14s): Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not easy to negotiate those so well done again to you both, I’m sure there’s plenty of them work goes in at 40 partner brands over 1200 locations, and I’m guessing that’s growing on an ongoing basis, or, or would you say you feel like you’re, you’re fully, you know, optimized from a Parker portfolio? Speaker 2 (18m 36s): No, there’s, there’s still, there’s still a couple of categories that we, we would like to secure, but, but again, you know, New Zealand is a reasonably small country, so there are only so many retailer brands strike categories that you can capture there’s does set, you know, dots and we’ll look at it. There’s, there’s, there’s three, three or four big loyalty programs in the country and almost two sets of retailers. So you’re scrapping over retailers, you know, to try to bring them on. So we’ve been very fortunate to, to, you know, there’s two supermarket chains in New Zealand. We have one of them, Flybuys has the other. And, and so we’ve been really lucky to get some of those key key partners that you need to make a program successful, you know, fuel oil, energy, fuel supermarket energy with, so you’ve got a regular irregular retailer that you can transact it, which makes sense for the consumer. And then we have other retailers that are less frequent, but they tend to have probably higher reward values. So, you know, like, like we’ve, we’ve got Bridgestone who are a tire manufacturer, so that’s once every two years you might be buying tires. So it’s, it’s not in your consideration set all the time. Pet food is probably monthly. That’s quite good. So we, we just look there’s one or two categories we’d still like to secure telco. We don’t have, Speaker 3 (19m 58s): I think the other piece is we’ve also got, there’s a big opportunity and countdown, obviously being a partner and our program and being a super, but one of the biggest supermarkets here in New Zealand have a, have a really great opportunity opportunity to be working with a lot of the supplier brands as well. And then that opens up a whole nother world, I suppose, when on one hand, you’re talking about, you know, the retail brands or the companies, and then you’ve got the other side of the supply of brands. So the opportunity to be earning AI smarts, you have discounts, you know, when you purchase a packet of biscuits or some chips, you know, there was, I remember Ian talking to me early on when I first started and, you know, the, this ideal state of being able to say to someone, you can actually walk into the supermarket with the AA smart fuel card and walk out of it, you know, with a half a tank of, in your pocket, there’s almost the dream, but almost it’s very easily a reality to start thinking like that as well. For sure. Speaker 1 (20m 57s): And, and I have to say, you’ve touched on one of my favorite topics, I guess, Jordan and the upcoming trend or the, I think, I suppose it’s just, it hasn’t really been optimized or figured out chairs and it is the brand piece. So all of those incredible, and you know, whether it’s Coca-Cola or biscuits or, you know, it’s just an incredible portfolio that really wants access to engage customers. You’ve got engaged customers, obviously countdown has them as well. So, so I’m going to right now say we need to have a follow-up show, even if it takes, I don’t know, a year or two, but just to figure out exactly how that comes through with your program. Speaker 3 (21m 35s): Yeah. That’d be great. I mean, I know the guys are working hard on that and they’ve, and they’ve developed a few really great programs so far to, to utilize that side of it and to leverage those relationships that they already have. So, yeah, definitely. I think in 12 months times it’ll be a whole different ball game, which is quite exciting. Yeah. Yes, Speaker 1 (21m 50s): Yes, yes. And, and I’m obviously hoping to have countdown on the show at some point as well. I did talk to some of the guys there just, you know, to, to hear what they’re doing and they spoke very highly obviously of working with you guys. So hopefully further down the track, we’ll have th the story coming from their side. So am, I guess I wanted to touch on as well from both of your perspectives, what would you say, you know, are your biggest challenges from a loyalty perspective, and that might be in the context of the pandemic. And I know New Zealand is obviously having a very tough time at the moment, going into a new lockdown. And here we are, August, 2021, when we all thought we’d be coming out the other side. And so I think COVID brings its own particular challenges, but even as a coalition, would you say there’s particular things that you, you haven’t cracked as yet? Or what would you say you’re still kind of focus your energies on? Speaker 2 (22m 42s): Do you want to start Jordan? Speaker 3 (22m 45s): I think there’s probably one, one challenge that we’re facing and we’ve probably always, you know, being under the microscope a little bit is just the piece around. Obviously we’re a, a fuel discount program, so it’s very heavily feel fuel focused and you got a bunch of questions around, you know, what if I don’t drive what it feels not relevant to me, but also obviously looking to the future as fuel going to be around forever. So that’s one of the, one of the challenges that we’ve got. And it’s obviously on our radar too, to go, where does the program go in the future? It feels so good to be around for a long time. And, and you know, it’s not going away anywhere, but for us, it’s always focusing on what’s what’s relevant to the consumer now today or yesterday, it was, it was field discounts or what is it tomorrow? I guess it’s a challenge, but it’s also quite exciting to, to be able to keep your finger on the pulse and that, in that sense. Yeah, Speaker 1 (23m 39s): Yeah. Makes sense. Absolutely. And, and while we’re talking about a Jordan, I did see that there are rewards, for example, Quantas, M and also something about, I think, carbon offset. So it sounds like you’re already putting solutions in place around these relevancy concerns. Speaker 3 (23m 56s): Yeah. Actually something we, we recently launched on it only a few months ago, obviously not the greatest of timing with COVID and things like that, but it was definitely the, it was definitely the step in the right direction. When we start talking about, you know, how do we continue to stay relevant to customers, especially from a reward choice, point of view, for what choices is obviously a big, a big topic at the moment with regards to Logix giving the consumer the option to choose what or how they want to be rewarded. And then that was just one step that we took, you know, Quantas points and, and the Quantas brand is a, is a great one here down under. And, and obviously the idea of this aspirational reward, fuel discounts is very transactional, very, I guess, functional, but the idea of banking up a bunch of Quantas points for your trip overseas to Hawaii or Fiji or wherever you want to go is a little bit more on the aspirational side, which was quite exciting and obviously relevant, you know, to those that aren’t necessarily motivated by. I feel discounts as, as, as it as current, like, yeah. Speaker 1 (24m 58s): Yeah. It’s funny. I do notice my own behavior is very much in the travel space and I’ve been spoiled a little bit actually, because I did work in the airline industry a few years ago. So now of course I want to fly business class, even though I have to pay for a show, any kind of points I can end with earn with it with Emirates, particularly obviously based in Dubai is, is super exciting for me. So, so that’s really good. So, so a fairly new redemption piece, you mentioned Jordan, you on the, on the quantity side. Speaker 3 (25m 25s): Yeah, that’s right. So in terms of the way the program works, it’s, you’re still earning and it’s interesting the dynamic, cause you still earn AA smart fuel discounts at, at those 1200 retailers across New Zealand. But as you wear them, obviously you’re saving them up and then they’re loading up on your account almost like a bank balance. And then what we’ve done is we’ve enabled the customer to then choose, well, I can either go into BP or guests and redeem them on fielders on fuel. Yeah. Or I can go into the app and I can choose to convert them. So you’re actually literally using the technology within the app to turn the fuel discounts as a currency, into Quantas points or like you also see it into carbon offsets. Speaker 1 (26m 5s): Yeah. Okay. Lovely stuff. Yeah. And, and again, having seen it in Ireland, I know it was always supremely popular again from a supermarket perspective, you know, certainly to be able to convert them into too obvious as it was at the time and it just inspires people. So it might feel like it takes longer. But again, I think the airlines are getting better even at doing like, you can use those points for maybe part payment towards your travel. So again, maybe just makes the whole dream a little bit closer. Exactly. Great. Okay. So EMM. Yeah. So, so from your perspective, again, you’re, you’re, you’re a co-founder of the business. What would you say are the challenges for AA smart fuel? And, and is it a COVID thing or, or just more general business SEG growth? Speaker 2 (26m 51s): I think COVID obviously hit a, hit a lot of people for us. It’s, it’s, it’s a moment in time. We just know that, you know, our partners need a bit of support. Some are still trading through like the supermarkets they’re, they’re, you know, they’ve got their own challenges around everything, but, but they’re still trading, you know, that being a fuel program, that pretty much grounds grinds to zero pretty quickly when no one’s driving around. So the, the, the, the fuel partners have been hit pretty hard. So we looked at for this moment in time, we’re just looking at how do we support those partners? So we’ll send communications out less about fuel, but more about, you know, that they’re open or there might be a few other things that we need to do with them. So we’ll just generally look at how, how we can help them through. So that’s, that’s just a moment in time, but I think the, probably the, probably the biggest area for us is just the, you know, post GDPR, not, not that it affects us specifically in, in the New Zealand landscape, because we’re at, we’re only, we’re only focused around new Zealanders, but that said, I think the awareness of privacy and how, how people store information, the security of information is, is becoming more and more prevalent and more and more top of people’s minds. So just keeping ahead of that, keeping it re you know, making sure we reassure reassure customers, make sure our systems are good. And we’re, we’re lucky we’re partnered with, you know, with a very trusted brand in terms of the automobile association. So that, that helps us considerably from a partnership point of view, but you’ve still got to stay on top of it. You know, cyber security, it’s not going away. It’s only getting worse. So those are things that, that, you know, probably keep us awake. And we know we just got to keep, keep, keep moving forward with, with that, you know, what you might do one day, isn’t going to be good for the next day. You know? So, so I think that there that’s, that’s one area. The other part is, is then of course not, of course, but you use of data. You know, I think from a coalition point of view, partners are becoming, when you join a coalition program, partners are becoming increasingly or increasingly required to be able to get decent insights out of that data and whether that’s directly from us or, you know, how do we utilize that, that some of that anonymized first party data so that we can give, provide good insights or good data sets are big, build out custom audiences for our partners without almost betraying the trust of the consumer. So, so we’re, we’re conscious of that. And it’s just that the demand side of it is, is, is increasing in terms of utilizing that to make good decisions. So, and that’s quite exciting. So w we’re working, we’re working with that all the time. Speaker 1 (29m 33s): Okay. Yeah. And would you believe in, I’m literally recording a second podcast today, ad directly on the topic of privacy and you know, all of the data protection complexity, and I’ve already told them that and you know, he’s a good colleague of mine, Richard Dutton, I’ve already said, you know, I’ve been avoiding you because it scares me so much. So you’re absolutely right. Yeah. I think we’ve, yeah, we’ve all heard the horror stories. And again, as consumers, we, we know what it would be like now. So I don’t know if you’ve heard, for example, in Ireland recently the, the health service was hacked. So, so medical information was, was, was captured and there was all sorts. So, and everyone, I know got a phone call, would you believe from, from these hackers, like it’s, it’s unbelievable, honestly, terrifying. So you’re, you’re totally rise. You’ve thought the AA brand to support you and you obviously have to support it back, but there’s, there’s absolutely no way we can, we can build loyalty without those fundamentals being top, top of mind. So, yeah. And as you said, I also have, you know, being on the, the end of the, you know, the partner expectations, which are, are clearly not on reasonable, but are very difficult to, to balance with them. Again, making sure as we said, the customer is totally am trusted and trusting. So I know that also can through an Adam’s research as well. So, so well done on, on flagging that it’s, as you said, it’s not going anywhere. Speaker 2 (31m 1s): No, no. I think, I think it does. It does add the opportunities, you know, as you start looking forward to around that the, you know, probably a few years ago, still in, in some quarters that there’s this idea of personal information actually building out cohorts of non identity, just behavioral and behavioral cohorts, non identifiable, using first party data to kind of do that. But I think presents, you know, with, as cookies have disappeared or disappearing, it’s, it certainly presents really good opportunities in a responsible way for coalition programs that, that, that, you know, have a bunch of behavioral information that doesn’t betray the customer, but also can add a bit of value back to the, to the partners and, and serve up relevant offers, you know? Yeah, Speaker 1 (31m 48s): Yeah. And you’re absolutely right. Actually it is about that whole piece, you know, first of all, you know, what is the consumer’s expectation? I think when they give that data and I think all of the research I’ve seen has said, well, look, if you use it to give me more relevant offers and I get to benefit them, I’m totally fine. But again, obviously make sure that the people take care of it. So I’m definitely one that will evolve very carefully. Speaker 2 (32m 13s): Yes. We’ll be, I’ll be interested to listen to your, your other podcasts then. Sure Speaker 1 (32m 17s): Will. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. He’s already had to decide for plenty of acronyms for me. And again, the global complexity of it all is, is, is only getting more confusing, I would say for, for big global brands. So, so that’s yeah. Up and coming. So the final area I had then guys was I suppose my favorite topic of innovation, and I’m always of keen to, to see if there is anything that either has been particularly impactful, perhaps that you’ve done within a smart field program or anything that you’re thinking about in the future. And because I’m always looking to inspire people with them. Yes. We all know about the points and the discounts and the rewards and, you know, the program structure, you know, coalition programs are clearly not going anywhere, but is there anything that you’re doing or have done that you feel is quite different to other markets that we could talk about? Speaker 3 (33m 10s): There’s one area that I think we’re quite focused on and it was quite innovative in the sense that, and it kind of dovetails from the conversation that una and Jess had around, how can we leverage the technologies that we’ve got and in some of the, out of, out of the box solutions to, to be able to, and we inverted commas, we call it internally liberalized data. And that’s really for us to, to be able to leverage data to a whole lot better, but also to help our partners do that as well. You got to spoke about, you know, as a, as a beta coalition program, it’s our job to ensure that we’re doing right by the partner, but also right by the consumer, which is an interesting challenge, but there’s definitely a few pieces of pieces of work going on internally. And it’s an innovative way to, to kind of look at how we can liberalize that data, you know, all above board from a consumer point of view, and it’s transparent as, as possibly candy and as expected of the customer, but also enabling it in a way that partners can really get the most that they, they intended to out of a loyalty program. Would there be, you know, really understanding who their customers are, what they’re doing, the insights that they can use to, to drive really meaningful experiences and bring them back in store as a really exciting, innovative kind of project that we’ve got going on and chose definitely challenging. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t have, we don’t have to go live solution or anything like that, but it’s definitely a challenge we’ve taken on the chin and we’d go, we there’s definitely ways to do it. And it’s almost just the challenge of looking at things differently, I think. Speaker 1 (34m 42s): Yeah, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Jordan and Ian obviously alluded to it and we all know that cookies will be disappearing. And interestingly, obviously being put on the long finger, I think now until the end of 2023, if I’m not mistaken Bush, I think that is just to give people like us a time to catch up and to build those permissions first party data and systems. So I’m very impressed to hear actually about all the amazing technology piece. And it sounds like it’s entirely kind of built internally from what you’ve said is, is that right? Yes. Speaker 3 (35m 15s): Yeah. And look, it’ll be, it’ll be definitely an element of, of bringing in the tools that we need as well at the same time as building it out internally because it’s, it’s definitely a lot of, a lot of efficiencies and using what’s already out there, but from what we gather in a coalition program probably got a little bit more complexities that I think other loyalty programs do when they Speaker 1 (35m 38s): Totally I’m putting that on the agenda for a follow-up interview as Jordan. Speaker 3 (35m 44s): And now that now that I’ve seen it, we’ve got, we’ve got to have, we got to have to deliver on it. I only Speaker 1 (35m 48s): Totally. And it’s on your LinkedIn profile as well as seen it. So we can’t hide. Very exciting. Yeah. And even from your side, is there any kind of big ideas or innovations that you’re you’re looking to or are you happier again, obviously data and insights. The Jordan just talked about is extraordinary in terms of delivering on that anyway, but have you, any other kind of things that you’d like to explore, do you think, Speaker 2 (36m 13s): Oh, well we have it, we have a few things sort of on the, on the burner, but no, th th th I think the, the main, an opportunity that we see, which, which is not, I wouldn’t say it’s innovative, but, but the Jordan touched on it earlier was around today. We obviously have those direct relationships with, with distribution partners in terms of retailers and, and some that own the brand as well as the retailer. But we, we certainly see an opportunity to work closer with the brand owners and, and from a, and really that will allow us hopefully to, to provide insights to those brand owners because they’re quite hard to get. So we just see some, without saying too much, we see some opportunities in that space and we think that that’ll work quite, quite well with our existing partners. I wouldn’t say it’s innovation. It’s just a bit of different thinking. Speaker 1 (37m 5s): Okay. Well, sometimes it just takes the different thinking. And I think just to kind of nail something, if it hasn’t been delivered before, whether it is for your partners or for your consumers, you know, so yeah. I think that sounds super exciting. So I’ll certainly be watching very closely. And so I think that’s all the questions from my side guys. Were there any other, I suppose, closing points or thoughts that you wanted to comment before we wrap Speaker 2 (37m 29s): Up? No. No, not, not from our point of view, if you haven’t got any more questions, Speaker 1 (37m 35s): I think it’s amazing. So tell us, where can people find out more, whether it’s you guys directly, if people want to reach out to, to connect with you and, or just to find out more about the program. Speaker 2 (37m 46s): So just through the program, there’s, there’s a brief, brief overview on the, on the website at AA smart fuel dot code on INSEAD. So that will give them a little bit of insight into that. If they want any consumer insight, our Facebook page is pretty, pretty useful in terms of the way people talk about the program and share their savings and the scale that’s, that’s quite useful. Otherwise, otherwise they can reach out to probably via you if they need a personal email address to talk some more. Speaker 1 (38m 13s): Yeah. Happy to and no problem at all. Great. And Jordan, from your side, Speaker 3 (38m 19s): I think I would be doing the marketing team a disservice if I didn’t have to put a plug in there to download the ad, it’s not philanthropy. Speaker 1 (38m 26s): Brilliant. Brilliant. Absolutely. Okay. Well, well said, well, listen, guys, it’s been an absolute pleasure to hear all about the program. I love the innovative, I love the way you built a consumer proposition and then retrofit the business model to make it work. I think it shows true, I suppose, loyalty to your customers. So yeah, just want to say thank you so much to Ian Speaker 0 (38m 47s): Sutcliffe, Jordan Fran from let’s talk loyalty. 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 and 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. 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