BRANDS employ loyalty schemes as key tools to help build relationships with consumers.
Now brands are turning to social media channels to bring the traditional loyalty model in line with the growing demand by consumers for recognition, personal relevance and immediacy.
The old model used rewards for transactions as the main enticement for loyalty: offering regular consumer extra benefits or services.
Now though, with commerce moving much faster, consumers engaging via social media are no longer willing to wait while they accumulate points towards the next “free” coffee.
Many major brands are seeking to meet these evolving needs in new ways: HMV, Play.com and Costa Coffee have all recently adopted different elements of social media to build loyalty and consumer relations.
Costa has launched a Facebook app for its points and rewards scheme and sees adding social aspects as a natural progression.
Play.com recently revealed its Facebook fans are worth 24% more than non-Facebook consumers in terms of transactional value.
The “My HMV” scheme will integrate with Facebook and other social networks to build better profiles of customers and offer them more personalised experiences based on all interactions, not just transactions.
Independent marketing consultancy ICLP says consumers’ need to feel their opinions are recognised and valued is changing the way brands market themselves. Opinions matter – especially when they go viral.
The challenge is to harness the social element to ensure consumers, in their turn, respect and value the brand – and pass that message on.