For brands that aspire to creating customer loyalty in this messed up world, there is a fundamental question that needs to be addressed.
What will ‘loyalty’ be? What will ‘business’ become?
The challenge lies in understanding the consumer-citizen-person of the future, and the things that make them tick.
The large complex social environmental and economic problems we face today are too big for any one organisation to tackle alone.
If you don’t get this then stop reading now.
They require us to work together in new ways to address the root causes of problems and to create new outcomes that benefit everyone.
The ‘benefit everyone’ bit is the new market driver.
But why have government and business been so slow to react?
(Because the status quo is too darn cosy, maybe?)
Lurking in the background there is also the question of to what extent digital natives will allow big corporates to collect and use personal information.
What will they expect in return?
Consumers increasingly face the problem of having a wallet bursting with loyalty cards so the value of loyalty is becoming diluted – people can’t see the value no more and want something that takes the idea of reward to the next level.
With new systems that make prices dynamic, rewards instant, and responses to consumer demands individually relevant, it seems to me that traditional retail loyalty models are fast becoming irrelevant.
We are beginning to see the emergence of a set of consumer demands and expectations that corporate brands will no longer be able to deliver alone.
(BTW, ‘corporate brands’ = Apple, as much as your local authority or indeed the NHS).
Strategic cross-sectoral alliances, designed to deliver sophisticated choice and content to complex consumer and citizen needs, are just around the corner.
Individuals are beginning to gain the upper hand in terms of the power dynamic and principles such as ‘great customer service’ are no longer a selling point – they’re the starting point.
Customer and citizen engagement is now a core function that must cut across individual silos. It has to focus the entire organisation on the contextual needs and desires of the individuals that consume their goods and or services, 24/7.
Remain relevant or vanish forever.
An individual’s idea of reward and expectations of loyalty are moving away from the mindless consumerist bullshit to a dynamic, exciting, and ever-changing experience that helps people become more empowered and able to change about the world around them.
In the coming years, corporate brands will need to be disruptive in their thinking about rewards and seek out new ways to help people become better at solving their own problems and those in their local communities.
The way loyalty and reward is perceived has changed. A common understanding is beginning to emerge – one that rewards contribution to the common good because it can be measured and metered and diced and sliced.
The device is the focus of the future. It knows where you are, what you redeem and will consolidate all your information into one dashboard of good. If you don’t do good you don’t get the reward.
Traditional loyalty reward schemes measure past customer behaviours and transactions. In the future reward will most likely be linked to contribution towards activities that benefit the wider public interest.
If you as a corporate manager can’t transparently demonstrate how your organisation in some way serves the public interest, then consider yourself toast. We can’t have one rule for the unemployed and another for the corporate elite, because that isn’t fair.
And people know it.
Since all consumer- / citizen-facing organisations (aka brands) have to consistently demonstrate their value to consumers, affiliation’s between the public, private and third sector should begin to blur.
Remixed rewards (aka ‘Community Loyalty Points) are just around the corner (or for my business readers ‘Coalition Loyalty Schemes’ are just around the corner).
That’s my take on it anyway – what’s yours?
How else will they deliver a joined up and customised experience that helps people develop as people?