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How loyalty programs can help brands in crisis
Loyalty programs could be the difference between a brand recovering from a crisis, and a crisis destroying a brand. One expert shares tips on how loyalty programs can help a brand in crisis.
Kristina: How can loyalty programs help brands in crisis?
Danielle Brown, VP of Marketing, Points: At their core, loyalty programs help brands build and deepen their customer relationships. And programs that are doing it right focus on building those relationships based on engagement and on ways to provide long-term value for their members.
Loyalty programs who go above and beyond to cater to their members' needs won't necessarily end up with the short end of the stick in a time of crisis. For example, brands who tap into consumer data can build relationships on a more personal level. From making recommendations based on redemption history, to sending targeted offers based on inferred preferences, brands can meet consumers needs and desires. And even when their image may be in bad light, loyalty programs help keep a customer around.
Similarly, programs who are well-connected with their consumers should have no problem gathering feedback or any concerns from their loyal members. Strong relationships between customer and brand are a two-way street. Build your program on the foundation of mutual value and engagement, so that it can withstand even the slightest hardship.
Kristina: What signs are there that a business has a problem that a loyalty/rewards program could help to fix?
Danielle: There are a variety of reasons businesses can turn to loyalty programs - from competition across the market, to a drop in sales, to a lack of repeat purchasers. But above all, loyalty programs (spanning all industries) are implemented to serve three main purposes: increase brand engagement, drive sales through customer retention, and to collect member data to get to know customers better. Businesses hoping to address these core issues should look to loyalty programs to help build relationships between their brand and the customers, as well as increase the likelihood that those customers return. After all, it's cheaper to retain and grow a customer than it is to find a new one. To be healthy, businesses need to succeed at both.
By creating more ways to earn and burn loyalty rewards, brands can create an emotional connection with its loyalty program members. Not to mention, once this relationship and emotional connection is established, loyalty program members are more likely to increase their spending habits. By offering increased opportunities for consumers to earn and redeem loyalty points, brands not only open the doors for increased engagement, but can boost customer retention rates - in turn an increase in sales.
And remember, loyalty programs should never be used as a bandaid to fix a business problem.
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