Mum, where's the app?

Mum, where's the app?

Kids everywhere want digital rewards

The CEO of LoyaltyOne has spent the last 25 years in the industry, and never shys away from the next loyalty challenge. During his time as CEO of BrandLoyalty Hearts & Wallets caught up with him to find out more about the man behind loyalty. 

Mum, where's the app?

It's no wonder that young children are often described as 'digital natives'. Having spent their whole lives surrounded by technology, they are totally comfortable with the idea of entertaining themselves via a smartphone, laptop, touchscreen and/or HD TV. They seize every opportunity to have a fund digital experience, especially if it relates to their own lives in some way. An Instant Loyalty Promotion (ILP) involving giveaways with an added digital dimension offers these 'smart kids' the perfect award.

Kids have already got their hands on everything
As every parent knows, mobile phones and notebooks somehow disappear when little ones are around. The old joke about the two-year-old being the only family member who knows how to work the TV has been updated: these days, kids know more than their parents about digital entertainment in its full glory. One reason is that they’re not scared to ‘press all the buttons’: no icon will remain unexplored.

Mobile use is soaring
According to the UK organisation ChildAlert, 9 out of 10 children already own a mobile phone. Old smartphones often get passed on to kids, who may be given a monthly allowance for calls, texts, streams or downloads. Members of the iPad generation also find it normal to have access to portable media players, multi-purpose pocket computers, HD TVs and a whole range of other tempting digital gadgets. The digital spectrum is getting more important, everywhere, even for little ones. Media use among children has soared in the past five years, and parents often struggle to keep up. They are also concerned about the amount of time their kids are spending staring at the small screen, and would prefer that time to be spent on activities that are educational as well as entertaining.

ILPs need to involve digital components
Retailers who are considering running an Instant Loyalty Promotion cannot ignore the potential of digital nowadays. A multichannel strategy involving a combination of digital and physical rewards is essential in order to reach the target group and optimise its response in order to increase ROI. The big question is how to ‘do digital’ properly in order to capitalise on kids’ interest in it, while also ensuring parental approval.

How to use digital to strengthen your ILP

Become a storyteller
With your marketing team, create a story around the campaign and your brand for shoppers to relate to. Devise an online marketing plan around the story and develop it in your existing social media channels.

Build a dedicated website
Almost everybody uses the internet and mobile technologies, so devote sufficient time and resources to set up shop online. A user-friendly, fully responsive, targeted and impactful website will add value to your programme.

Make sure there's an app
Enrich your concepts/programmes by integrating them with your existing mobile app, or launch a special app dedicated to your loyalty programme. This will make it easier and more rewarding for shoppers to collect points – especially while on the move.

Add AR & VR
Enliven your campaign by adding Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality elements. For example, offer a VR headset with an animal-based promotion so that kids can watch the animals spring off the page and run around over their hands or hunt for prey in the living room! The combination of VR and a real-life environment will provide a thrilling Augmented Reality experience. 

Go Multichannel
Media multitasking (using more than one medium at a time) is a way of life for digital natives. Set up a strong digital marketing strategy to extend communications to all channels. 

Treat store staff as ambassadors
Use digital staff activation tools to train and motivate retail staff, thereby enhancing their involvement and interest.

Analyse and optimise without delay
Improve in-store execution by using digital tools to measure and report on how well various aspects work. That way, you can immediately tailor in-store marketing communication to improve results.

Stimulate competition 
Create a couple of online contests with interesting prices to increase awareness and traffic, and to get user-generated content like pictures and stories. 

Drive consumers to your promotion
Make use of campaign-specific hashtags to create a hype and measure success.

Conquer the digital universe
Use paid advertising on channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Adwords, and/or banners to attract new shoppers.

Lead the discussion
Engage Community Managers to start and/or moderate conversations online. Each one-to-one communication can be read by all other participants, thereby increasing the value of your message exponentially.

Ensure analogue channels work too
While enjoying the digital dimension, children will probably want a physical album to put their stickers or other collectables in too. Use lots of pictures for younger kids, and make your promotion satisfying at all levels.

The future of digital ILPs
“No one knows where the digital path will take us, but we believe in taking a pioneering approach to exploring it further”, says Miranda Evans Kids Expert at BrandLoyalty. “Digital elements encourage children to get much more involved in a promotion, and to keep playing with it for longer. Going digital also has benefits for the retailer, such as easy distribution, real-time information and centralised monitoring.” She hints that more surprises could be just around the corner: “Keep an eye out for our future campaigns, in which borders of different realities will be crossed and might even disappear.” 

Hearts & Wallets is the official magazine of BrandLoyalty. It is a magazine for people working at the highest levels of the food retail industry. The goal of Hearts & Wallets is to come up with real insights on - and answers to - current issues, while offering its own individual interpretation as food for thought.

First published in February 2017.

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