Some brands are raising the loyalty bar by creating experiences that help consumers on a more holistic level. This is especially the case in recent months of Covid culture, when digital has become more prevalent, and sleek designs and slick features carry less wow factor.
Rexall’s Be Well program is one example. In addition to offering members points for purchases in Rexall stores, Be Well also enables them to take greater ownership of their health: It gives them secure access to their vaccination history and lab results, and helps them manage prescriptions, access virtual consultations, and monitor their heart rate and daily steps—in addition to receiving information on Rexall’s wellness offerings.
Lululemon is another example. Its stepped-up loyalty program enables members (in select Canadian and U.S. cities) to access not only exclusive gear and discounts, but also workout classes and various special events.
While both these programs are innovatively going beyond the sale and supporting consumers in more meaningful ways, to be successful, they also need to be well-supported through their communications.
Because a successful loyalty program is driven not only by an intuitive app, but also by the customer-facing employees who stand behind it. This is particularly true when the brand’s approach is more holistic: Its mission must be embedded throughout its culture, from top-line management to front-line staff. The message must feel authentic, and to be authentic, it must be consistent.
At every touchpoint, the brand needs to walk and talk that message. Its relationship with customers has now moved beyond the transactional, so they are now allowing it farther into their lives, and are relating to it on a different level. There is a deeper sense of trust, and a higher expectation that wherever the brand is expressed, that expression will maintain the same relevance.
It is a tall order from a communications standpoint—one that requires extra rigour and oversight, starting with a strategy that effectively connects everything from the website and direct marketing to out-of-store advertising and the in-store talk-track.
While it is a logical extension of today’s more socially conscious consumer (and done well, can be deeply rewarding for both the brand and its followers), it adds more layers to already complex, often stretched marketing operations.