#274: The Loyalty Report 2021 (Short Summary Show)

The Loyalty Report” features loyalty research with tens of thousands of consumers in North America, so this annual research report is a huge help for our industry to learn from.

Today I share the top insights shared from my 2021 interview with Phil Rubin, who explained their latest loyalty learnings, such as the increasing importance of being loyal to your customers (rather than simply expecting it from them).

Show Notes:

1) Phil Rubin Interview on The Loyalty Report 2021

2) Phil Rubin 

3) Bond Brand Loyalty

4) Let’s Talk Loyalty Episode#255: The Loyalty Report 2022

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. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and today I’m looking back on my first interview with Phil Rubin, a well-known loyalty thought leader with over 30 years experience in the industry. At the time of this interview in the summer of 2021, Phil was working as Executive Vice President for Bond Brand Loyalty. The company that many of you will know for publishing The Loyalty Report. One of the most trusted sources of insights in the loyalty marketing industry, and that was exactly the topic of our conversation. The 2021 Loyalty Report was in its 11th year. And it featured an unprecedented assessment of over 450 loyalty programs and more than 35,000 North American consumers. Even with such huge reach and scope, Phil shared their intention of taking the report even further and making it more relevant at CMO level. Showing not only how well the chosen loyalty programs perform, but also how the brands themselves perform. With the goal of learning, Maybe more about the relationship between loyalty programs and their effect on their parent brands. 


With so much to discuss, we focused our conversation on the most exciting insights from The Loyalty Report, and Phil explained to me that this research had now identified seven drivers of customer loyalty. Now, in fact, some of these were previously considered underlying values that customers would have simply taken for granted. But during turbulent times, they have now become explicit expectations. For example, safety and security are essential for customer loyalty, whether that means physically given of course the global pandemic, but also digitally in terms of data security. Interestingly, relevant communications also emerged as an expectation that affected customers loyalty to brands. They highlighted the importance of finding the balance between too much communication, which can feel very sales-focused, and too little communication when the member then doesn’t feel any real sense of connection to your brand as it’s just too sporadic. 


The other five drivers of loyalty included the clear importance of personalization, as well as education. Helping customers learn how to maximize the value they can enjoy by interacting with your brand.


Another increasingly important driver is time. And of course, time is so valuable now it’s almost seen like a new currency. Depending on your sector, this can mean, for example, speeding things up. That should be speeded up, finding ways to remove friction, such as the need to wait in line. The other is slowing things down. For example, when it’s something like a nice restaurant meal and how diners don’t want to be rushed through an important time if they’ve chosen to spend an evening enjoying your restaurant. 


Another driver of loyalty is access. Now that could mean creating a community for a customer to interact with your brand, or even a favorite idea of mine, giving your members access to interact with each other through your community. Of course, access is also a powerful tool for loyalty. When you can offer members exclusive access to some perk or event that is only available to your club members. 


Most importantly though, what came through loud and clear in this research was the importance of recognizing that customer loyalty starts with the brand showing loyalty to the customer, not the other way around. This was a very provocative idea when Phil and his team first chaired it about six years ago, but now it has become increasingly important as a concept and therefore the Bond Brand Loyalty Report is now measuring what marketers believe about how much loyalty they’re showing their customers. Then they’re measuring the contrast with what customers are saying about how they are experiencing it. Unfortunately, it seems we still have a lot of work to do to ensure our programs are really seen, heard, understood, and felt by our members because there definitely is still a huge gap between the expectations we have as brands and the reality of our customers’ experiences. I think we all know that the par just keeps getting higher. So research like this annual loyalty report will continue to help us do that. 


That’s all for this short summary. I really hope this inspires you to go back and listen to the full episode with Phil Rubin. It’s available on letstalkloyalty.com/127. And of course, since then, we’ve also done a separate show about the loyalty report that’s been published by Bond Brand Loyalty again this year. So if you’d like to hear the 2022 research, you can find that episode on letstalkloyalty.com/255. 


Tomorrow, I’m thrilled to be publishing an interview with one of the world’s top experts in gamification. So if that’s a subject you are interested in, you should definitely tune in to hear my discussion with Yu-kai Chou. And on Thursday, we’re back down in Australia featuring an award-winning loyalty program called Childcare Saver. Which leverages the power of partnerships, community, and operational excellence to help parents reduce the cost of their childcare. 


Thanks again for listening to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 


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


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