Reimagining a rewards program for the modern era
When a multinational consumer packaged goods company wanted to create more personalized customer relationships, we helped reimagine a rewards program for the modern era.
Let’s say you’re a multinational consumer packaged goods company, the type of company whose brand is so beloved that you have hundreds of millions of loyal fans the world over.
And let’s say that many of those customers—about 25 million in the United States alone—are in fact so loyal to your brand that they have signed up for your rewards program.
It would be easy to just figure that there’s no reason to change something that’s working. But, in an era when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep younger customers loyal to any one brand, this particular company decided that it needed to figure out how to make sure the next generation of customers would be as engaged as the current one.
“The world’s changed a lot in the last seven-plus years since (our program) launched,” the head of the company’s data strategy effort said. “The loyalty program needed to evolve to recognize that.”
The company worked with Slalom to revamp its rewards program, knowing it needed to strike a delicate balance.
On the one hand, it wanted to offer its next generation of users a relevant, personalized program that would be appealing in a world in which using social media and accessing websites via mobile devices are becoming the norm. And on the other hand, it didn’t want to alienate the millions of users who are already fans of the current program, and like things the way they are.
“A good portion of (the challenge) is trying to find that balance,” said Blake Huffman, a solution principal with Slalom’s customer insight and technology practice who worked with the company on the rewards project. “What’s working, what’s not working, how are people reacting?”
The new program still lets people earn rewards the traditional way—by logging codes associated with their purchases. But it also gives loyal customers credit for doing other things, like taking a quiz or sharing a recipe on social media.
The head of the company’s data strategy effort said the company is hoping that those new programs will feel more like an interaction with the company, rather than a transaction.
The company also worked with Slalom to upgrade the behind-the-scenes technology to make the website more personalized. For example, if your past interactions with the company imply that you’re a sports fan, chances are you’ll see different content and get different promotions than if they imply that you’re a fashion fanatic.
“We want the customer to experience the site in a way that’s more personal or relevant to them,” he said.
Huffman, the Slalom consultant, said the new system also aims to reward people who love and use the company’s products, but don’t necessarily keep track of every package with a code number on it. It’s also more accessible: It works as well on a tablet or phone as on a desktop computer.
The company also is tweaking the rewards that it offers, to make them appealing to a broader range of customers. In addition to the traditional rewards—such as free products, T-shirts, or discounts—the company is offering more things like gift cards, and it plans to incorporate more experiences, such as a party.
It’s also offering people more ways to use their rewards for altruistic reasons, such as banding together to improve a local park.
“You’ll see a lot more … opportunities for people to use points to do good,” the head of the company’s data strategy effort said.