Will Blue, Green, and Pink be the new Silver, Gold, and Platinum?
As the Scorpions sing “The future is in the air, I can feel it everywhere, I am blowing with the wind of change ……. Where the children of tomorrow dream away, in the wind of change.”
I look around the world to pause and notice the changes taking place. Thinking specifically in the world of business, customer strategy and customer loyalty, human behavior is changing as we transition through Gen X, Y and Z and this wind of change seems to come through quite clearly.
In today’s world of sustainability and environment protection, your most loyal customers are now viewed in a different perspective. These customers are in many cases those with the highest carbon footprint.
The next generation – who express an unwavering focus on environmental consciousness - has a problem with frequent flyers who are constantly flying and being rewarded with miles whilst building up a carbon footprint of a few hundred tons of CO2 per person. It will not be long before this narrative transfers to other industries like retail, hospitality, car rentals, groceries, department stores, and your best customers may gradually be perceived as villains.
What then is the problem with Customer Loyalty programs as they are today?
For many years, business and brands focused only on the transaction value (read as “more consumption” ) of customers which is not necessarily the most sustainable route.
As we move towards this new paradigm, the customer loyalty practice needs to begin to change and businesses begin to focus on longer term sustainability and increased customer lifetime value, loyalty programs will be forced to recognize other elements of its responsibility as a corporate citizen to the community it serves, beyond its shareholders.
This includes the local community in which it exists, its suppliers, the environment, and the people it impacts, the fine balance between focusing on profitability alone vs an all-round sustainable index that includes living standards, pollution, and quality of life will drive organizations to redefine its core metrics for performance as well its authentic purpose.
Brands will now need to find more meaningful ways of engaging with customers through finding common purpose. Almost all surveys over the last few years have indicated the need for emotional connection between brands and its customers and other stakeholders.
It’s time that Customer loyalty programs start identifying areas that their customers are passionate about and try and align with their customers. The starting point is understanding what customers feel are the needs of their relationship with their brand, and then recognizing and rewarding customers to achieve this common goal of the customer and the brand. This means incentivizing and rewarding members for behavior that helps them achieve these common objectives.
These incentives are aligned to the corporate and customers preferences, for example a:
- Green tier that helps contribute to a cleaner environment, bonus miles for lower carbon routings, planting a tree, less check-in baggage, plastic free behavior, etc.
- Pink Tier with points that help to reduce health risks, like healthy eating, health check-ups, , health tips and benefits, products that help mitigate health issues
- Blue tier that contributes to saving the oceans, bonus points for consuming personal care products that do not harm the ocean, redemptions towards mangrove protection
When customers become loyal because of a marriage of a common purpose and value systems, that is when customer loyalty and Customer Lifetime value will be at its highest.
It’s time for organizations to jump onto this band wagon and prove that doing good is also good for business.
Points for Good is committed to offering brands a program that help meet these objectives of longer-term sustainability and profitability for brands and organizations. Building solutions that are beyond the standard points for more consumption and driving consumption we believe building true loyalty is the solution.