As customer engagement evolves through the social media & mobile technology, more & more brands are aspiring with customer centrism. Technology has been at it’s best in the recent time with web 2.0, which has evolved a new paradigm changing the codes & architecture of once CRM & now social CRM. One of sequential of CRM is Loyalty Program, a program to entice shopper to the brand, build in a much required dosage of adrenaline through the veins of buying decision of a shopper, to make them loyal. But what we see now is that, these programs are done to death, monotonous, daunting & cumbersome, which are not fairing as it is expected.
The trends started from driving consumption in the same category, went on to cross category, not necessarily the same brand through strategic alliance to benefit shoppers with wide range of products & services. Take the hot example of Kingfisher Airlines, there are cards like American Express who have tied up with other brands, to convert the loyalty points into miles to fly, the question here is are these “wow” and has it boasted the much required usage. No doubt these program are meant to engage and encourage usage, unfortunately not every plan flies.
We have also seen professional bodies, coming into existence whose day job is management of Loyalty programs; they on behalf of brands manage in their name & build alliance across categories in segments to boast usage collaboratively. But the very customer engagement goes missing in these programs. If we rig and use a crystal to granularity, we would see a fine phrase in loyalty programs called customer engagement, where one of the principles of engagement is aspirations.
Understanding customer aspiration is the key to any program and cherry in the icing would be to have understood trending behavior. For example “Gaming” there are hundreds of infographics which talks on how gaming is been engaging people online & once such statistics which pinned me down is 57% of the people who played games had never used gaming before, isn’t this rising your eyebrows. Well if that is the case, have you thought even Loyalty programs could be influenced with gaming.
If Farmville had to be popular in India, it was because every one of us had the aspiration of farming, but in reality knowing the difficulty, limits them to venture, but when they found virtual people jumped, across the globe, to a extent of day talks on what was the cultivation in their farm, isn’t it astounding. Then why not try the same principle of aspiration in your Loyalty programs using gaming methodology.
Creating an Avatar
This is how you do it, Loyalty Avatars, which are your shopper’s aspiration in terms of superheroes, personality, film characters, relevant personalities, brands & so on. Helping your shoppers in understanding the Virtual Avatar they want to be and helping them to recreate in virtual world through the consumption of your product. Every quantity the shopper buys goes closer to that of what he wants to be. There by you allow quantity, consumption across your product range & to top it, point to brag among his friend, moreover you build a close connect and wall of fame.
Virtual Environment through real life actions
Now that you have the avatar ready, let the avatar face some challenges, you model an environment of constraints & challenges in terms of activity related to the consumption or to the character or in the virtual interface for it, thus creating season & campaign calendar for yourselves. And in the process you have built a community which engages, fans to applaud leading to the second moment of truth, reviews boasting your product and before you realize you have them talking on product ideas which have a ready target audience.
Thanks to technology enhancement, we have tools & applications which help you to engage & such ideas are not farfetched but opportunity which knocks only once, one who adopts first has first mover advantage. This concept is ideal synchronization of the social world (engagement), gaming (environment) & mobile technology (reach). The words in brackets explain the impact of each activity. If you are into the Consumer Product Group (CPG) or FMCG or eCommerce or Multi-retail outlets this works so well, limiting yourselves to just the branding merchandise of your promotion is hampering your engagement.
Use this concept in synchronization of the trending like social world (engagement), gaming (environment) & mobile technology (reach). While I was on customer engagement through the social media, I found an interesting application using facebook, by a company Adepto which calls its products as Trolly, they have an interesting feature where they gamify the way the customer shares the purchases, this methodology not only helps in engaging them but also shares in the network there by creating ripples and excitement. This application is a clue to what can be done. Check the video
These are just the clues what I call Grey Munchies for you to think a loud and engage your consumers. Customer engagement is the key in today’s worlds as shoppers’ are informed, social & mobile device savvy, if you are not there, you have lost your game.
Tips of the trade
- Brands adopt the recent trends such as social media just not to gain fans, but engaging them too.
- Innovation, Relevance & Reach is the new mantra
- Adopt gaming to create excitements
- Not to forget mobile technology while you lay your plan in integration.
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