Bond Brand Loyalty was recently recognized as a category leader in Forrester’s Wave. We sat down for a Q&A with two of Bond’s senior executives to get some context and find out a bit more about Bond’s philosophy, strategy, and culture.
TWM: First, congratulations on the Forrester announcement. That’s a big deal in our world and something a lot of companies covet. But I’m curious, if you can, tell us what you think separated you from the pack, so-to-speak? What were those criteria that caused Forrester to assess Bond like they did?
Scott Robinson (SR): It’s hard to make comparisons. What we know about ourselves and by the positive feedback that our clients regularly give us, and now again through Forrester’s evaluation, is that we’re leading with our strategy. that our technologies services are leading in this space and that we’ve got a terrific and vibrant employee culture that creates an environment for us to do great work for our clients. The Forrester Wave has 20 different attributes in it and we’re proud to say we were strongly evaluated on many or most of those.
TWM: It’s almost too easy to say that loyalty has changed over the past few years; but as practitioners, can you elaborate on some of the bigger shifts that brands are now having to deal with?
Maria Pallante (MP): One of the things that we’ve witnessed is our clients who might have previously been focused on (just) loyalty programs, have expanded mandates that focus beyond that. And our offering has expanded along with it. When it comes to customer experience, we think about it much more broadly. Though loyalty as an outcome continues to be the focus, some of our clients’ mandates have grown and they’re thinking about the customer experience along the entire journey. It’s no longer about just the program. And we’ve been helping them in that evolution.
SR: First and foremost is any initiative that you’re designing, planning, or implementing to engage your audience must be an authentic and proper reflection of your brand, because your customer engagement initiative’s role is to deliver the best version of the brand possible to your best customers; and, so the loyalty mechanics really need to be an extension of the brand and a means for the brand to fulfill on its promise to customers.
MP: I would encourage people to continue to test and learn. I think sometimes there might be a tendency for organizations to first have everything perfectly sorted out in the back end – all the technology – before taking ANY steps, and what we would say is, just take a step. Try something, get a reaction, get a read – because your customers are moving and you need to be doing something to engage them. So, test and learn.
SR: The other thing I would add is that technology, allows organizations and brands to have visibility into customer activity that otherwise hadn’t traditionally been available. Every single consumer carries around a mobile device and they’re plugged in 24/7. The opportunity to create value at moments that go beyond just the transaction where traditional loyalty used to play; modern loyalty is a broader look across the entire customer journey and there is a role for a brand’s program to play in much broader ways creating forms of value that really work.