#241: Payback Germany - A World Famous Coalition Program (Short Summary Show)

Payback is widely respected as one of the most innovative companies in Germany, with over 80 million members in six international markets and an impressive redemption rate of over 95%!

In this short show, we summarise the highlights of our interview with Payback’s CEO, Bernhard Brugger, showcasing their remarkable achievements over the last 20 years.

Learn how Payback grew from a simple multi-partner program to its current positioning as a global marketing technology and services company.

Show Notes:
  1. Payback
  2. Bernhard Brugger
  3. #94: Global Coalition Loyalty Insights with Payback’s CEO Bernhard Brugger

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.


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Hello, and welcome to this week’s short episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. When I’m looking back on my April, 2021 episode with Berni Brugger, the Chief Executive Officer of Payback, the world-famous loyalty coalition program, headquartered in Germany. Berni shared with me, his amazing journey with the company starting way back before the Payback brand was even launched and now he has spent over 20 years of his career there, leading the company from just a few employees to now over 1300. 


To start our conversation. I loved some of the incredible statistics from Payback, which Berni shared. The most impressive to me is the fact that 95% of the points collected by members of this coalition program are in fact redeemed. Truly incredible, and to me, that proves that loyalty programs don’t need to rely on breakage in order to be profitable. An idea, I know that some of you listing will either find unbelievable or a long-overdue insight. I definitely think breakage is an outdated concept for many brands. And it needs to be revisited as we continually evolve our programs in 2022 and beyond.


Berni also shared with us that it’s the scale of the Payback proposition as its single biggest unique selling point. As of course, customers get so much more value from programs with the incredible reach of a market-leading coalition than they can from any standalone program. And that’s exactly the reason why coalition programs like Payback are still so powerful and so important in many markets around the world.


Payback specifically has continually proven itself to be a loyalty pioneer, offering its services as a multi-channel marketing business many years before most other brands had identified this business opportunity. We also learned some great insights and a reminder on giving customers what they want. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to see exactly what customers need from the brands they do business with across a coalition program. But even without this exceptional level of visibility, the principle of paying attention to what your customers say they need will always remain critical to success in any business.


We also talked about the digital transformation, which was of course dramatically accelerated by the COVID 19 pandemic. Payback was again ahead of the curve on its digital journey and Berni shared some of the remarkable insights on their approach to digitization. 


The third main point that Berni emphasized is a lovely idea of finding a way of doing business that is innovative or feels super cool, and really making sure that the customer loves the entire experience and their interaction with your brand. I know for one, I’m personally enjoying the growth of the whole customer experience industry, or CXS as it’s known. And it’s wonderful to hear that this attention to detail is such a high priority for Payback and is seen as a unique selling point. 


Finally, Berni shared an insight again on how much customers are loving to receive post from Payback. Now, of course, it’s important to balance the environmental impact of sending out paper statements and coupons versus the convenience and ease of digital. But there’s no doubt that giving the customer a unique, special experience that will make them want to continue engaging, again and again, is incredibly powerful.


So that’s it for this short summary of episode 94. If you haven’t listened, please make sure to go back. It’s quite simply letstalkloyalty.com/ 94. Then tomorrow, I hope you’ll join me to listen to my conversation with Collin Larijani from Epsilon in Australia, who shared some ideas about the value that loyalty programs can bring indirectly to your business, as well as the usual ways that we measure and monitor our programs.


Then on Thursday, we have a special episode talking all about sustainability. Of course, we make sure to go beyond greenwashing to showcase some fabulous examples of case studies and ways that we can connect loyalty programs to support a sustainability-led company vision. 


Thanks for listening guys. And I look forward to you all joining me again throughout the week.


This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which is already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org.


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