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Lessons learned: 2 years as CEO of BrandLoyalty

Interview with Claudia Mennen, CEO BrandLoyalty

It’s been two years since Claudia Mennen picked up the reigns as BrandLoyalty’s CEO.  We asked what makes her tick, keeps her up at night and which learnings have impacted her the most.
 

Which 3 words describe you best?
Energetic, goal-oriented and - even though this is more than one word – I am passionate about connecting people. True magic happens when you connect people with different backgrounds and experiences, at the right time. Connecting people is a powerful driver of progress because it sparks creativity and new ideas. 

What is your biggest life learning and how do you put it to use?
When an opportunity comes your way, don’t overthink it – even if you’re not 100% sure.  My biggest life lesson is ‘don’t be afraid to fail’. Dreaming big automatically assumes a degree of risk but to grow, you must leave your comfort zone. My motto is definitely to try, learn from it quickly, then try again! 

How are you using that learning to manage and further improve BrandLoyalty’s business?
Everyone at BrandLoyalty is empowered to speak up and encouraged to continuously reinvent. I believe this has triggered a sense of freedom and created a safe atmosphere where new ideas are welcomed and, when right for the business, rolled out. 

A fantastic example of this is BrandLoyalty’s drive towards innovation. The loyalty industry is built upon the optimisation of past successes, with solutions and campaigns that have worked for decades. Yet, these standard approaches are executed for a world that is not the same anymore. The retail landscape is ever-changing, offering unlimited choice, and shoppers are more demanding than ever before. So, it was time for BrandLoyalty to reinvent – to create new solutions and approaches that are smart yet creative, innovative yet purposeful but also more interconnected and more human. Working together as a team on innovation has boosted ideas and creativity amongst our colleagues, which has made a huge impact on our progress so far. I can’t wait to tell you more!

What do you do personally to contribute to our planet’s future?
The future and well-being of our children is paramount. We cannot keep going as we are, and there is so much we can all do to help. Of course, I make efforts in my everyday life, but the biggest impact I can have is in my CEO role - trying to limit our company’s environmental impact.

Sustainability isn’t a buzzword at BrandLoyalty, it’s real and ingrained into our daily operations. Last year we set 6 clear sustainability targets, along with the launch of our Plan 2025. Ever since, we made radical changes. We started from scratch using smarter product designs up front. For example, recyclable paper packaging for knife sets that is sustainable yet safe, and environment-friendly coatings on cookware. We have achieved a substantial reduction in plastics, and are on our way to 100% circularity on waste & returns. Each action, whether large or small, contributes to winning a little part of our planet back and with it our children’s futures. Our purpose ‘Next generation happiness’ really acts like a compass and directs our daily decisions. 

Evolution is by default infinite, and we will never stop being creative and innovative Claudia Mennen, CEO BrandLoyalty

How long have you worked at BrandLoyalty in total and how have you seen the company evolve?
I joined BrandLoyalty back in 2012 and since then, we have evolved to become more inclusive and collaborative. We have attained new levels of professionalism by developing smarter tools delivering data, business intelligence and increased security.  Our customers can now quickly determine how effective and compelling our campaigns are by accurately defining what they deliver in terms of loyalty and ROI. 

Nonetheless, evolution is by default infinite, and we will never stop being creative and innovative.

Now you have been CEO for 2 years, what has been your most important learning?
Be original and stay close to yourself! If you pretend to be someone else or try to convince others of something you don’t believe in, you will fail. When you are honest, open and transparent, people are willing to follow and will be true to themselves. 

How do you motivate your people? 
First of all, I ask questions and make it personal! I always want to know what makes them happy, what drives them. The important thing is to support people as they develop. Motivate them to dream big. Understand their needs and let them evolve. 

What advice would you give to the future generation? 
Stay focused and work as hard as you can for the first ten years to develop professionally.  This will help you discover what you like doing the most. Don’t miss out on new opportunities and take some risks. Go abroad and get a taste of international life as often as you can! There is an incomparable richness to experiencing cultural differences. 

And don’t forget to take care of yourself and those around you. Mental health is so important and can easily be overlooked. Look for the signs and don’t ignore them. I hope that in the future, with our global network of retail clients, we can have a positive influence on mental health issues and stimulate shoppers around the world to live a happier life. Because when you are happy and healthy, the sky is the limit!

Explore the latest columns from CEO Claudia

In a series of columns, Claudia shines a light on retail & loyalty, her leadership style, company culture, current global issues, and more... Have a look at the latest articles by going back to the overview

Go to overview

Why values are more than just words

What about company values? These are often overlooked, yet they are like the oil that keeps the whole business running smoothly. They create a culture that inspires and nourishes us all in our work. Like to know more about ours?

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