Perhaps the single most important insight for brand marketers today is the value of creating a true connection. More and more research shows that customers don’t just enjoy connection – they actually crave it. And this is not limited to any one demographic but is perhaps more pronounced with teenagers and young people who have grown up in a digital world.
Smartphone devices have created an extraordinary opportunity for us to connect, and yet it seems that the technology and many of their most popular applications have had exactly the opposite effect. We are technically more connected than any generation before us but the online culture of selfies and self-promotion that has evolved can cause intense social pressure and isolation with social media platforms and celebrity brands driving a relentless pursuit of perfection. Clever marketers from global brands such as Coca Cola have recognised this challenge and in recent years they have focused their marketing muscle on addressing this basic human need, driving product loyalty with their iconic ‘Share a Coke’ campaign – an idea rooted in our desire to connect, that also revolutionised their category.
From a retail perspective, we are uniquely positioned to benefit from this ‘connection economy’ – the term coined by Seth Godin, who is consistently listed as one of the most influential thinkers in business. Godin describes the essential pillars of the connection economy as co-ordination, trust and permission – the essential elements that the company of the future is built on. He describes how co-ordination creates value by bringing people together, trust establishes grounds for a relationship, and permission is simply talking to people who want to listen. He even advocates for the role of Chief Information Officers to be renamed as Chief Connection Officers.
So how does the shift forward from the traditional, industrial-led mindset of efficiency and cost-savings affect those of us focused on driving loyalty in the convenience sector? Historically, many brands carefully measure and monitor transactional behaviour – the percentage of transactions that have had a loyalty card swiped at the till. This is a useful and measurable business KPI, however in Liquid Barcodes we share the ‘connection economy’ mindset, so our passion lies in moving beyond transactions to creating a true emotional engagement and two-way conversation that allows a real connection between a brand and its customers.
Our favourite campaigns are those where we create a significant moment in someone’s day. It might be a moment of fun, maybe competing, maybe sharing, but in our view, unless customers are actively engaging, our programme hasn’t achieved enough. Our technology powers connection-led programmes such as the K Kiosk loyalty app in Switzerland that focuses on connection through sharing, with the Robin Good character designed to encourage customers to connect and share any of their treats instead of simply indulging in the reward themselves.
With the pillars of the connection economy clearly described as an essential approach to future business success, we are constantly on the lookout for case studies, examples and inspiration across all industries to share here on our blog, so feel free to send us any of your favourites.
I’m also currently judging the 2018 loyalty magazine awards and those entries truly showcase some extra-ordinary, engaging ideas that we can all learn from. I’ll be sharing some of those loyalty and connection insights later in the year once the winners are announced, so sign up to receive our email newsletter on live loyalty – specifically for you and the success of your convenience business.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.