Where data science means business

Where data science means business

Partnership with Jheronimus Academy of Data Science

At the end of 2016, BrandLoyalty became one of the first flagship partners of the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS), based in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. JADS offers its students theoretical and practical pathways towards finding new answers to the challenges of our era.

This journey is supported by the collaboration between two respected academic institutions (Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University) and the province of Brabant in the south of the Netherlands. We're diving into why the partnership is so important for BrandLoyalty – and for retailers worldwide.

JADS: creating connections with the business community
The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science is a unique concept in the Netherlands. It enables talented people to study, research and apply data science in three different locations through Bachelor and Graduate programmes. These include education leading to a PDEng (Professional Doctorate in Engineering): a Dutch degree which develops students’ abilities to work within a professional context, enabling them to incorporate their knowledge into existing ecosystems.

JADS brings together technology and its application with the objective of creating true value and economic development through data science in the local area and beyond. Companies interested in becoming closely involved in education, research and innovative start-ups may enter into partnerships with JADS. Through this innovative form of collaboration, JADS is creating a new knowledge infrastructure, enabling the province of Brabant to open the door to future discoveries.

The history behind the data
The historic city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch is proud of its rich heritage. As a prominent part of the city’s history, the former Mariënburg convent is one of the city’s architectural glories. Established in 1423, the building housed Franciscan nuns for over 250 years. However, today you are much less likely to find nuns roaming the halls than you are to come across the world’s future top data scientists. Besides offering extensive facilities for educational purposes, the impressive structure also provides student accommodation and features a dedicated space for start-ups.

Learning more about consumers
BrandLoyalty understands the importance of data now and in the future. We are living in an age in which power is in the hands of shoppers as they become increasingly empowered, smarter and more knowledgeable. Today’s consumer can shop for anything, anywhere, anytime and with anyone. Retailers need to understand individual consumers’ behaviour in order to fulfil their expectations. The key to this is data.

BrandLoyalty’s decision to enter into a partnership with the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science was therefore a very logical one. Claudia Mennen, CEO of BrandLoyalty, explains: “Data provides us with insights into consumers’ behaviour and motives. That’s why BrandLoyalty has been investing heavily in data and digital for the past five years.

As a result, we can offer a better service to retailers to help them meet consumers’ needs.” Big Data constitutes an important foundation for new ways of conducting market research and offers a wide range of new opportunities for companies who can gain fresh insights by analysing this data. The objective is to gain more understanding of what people buy, how they make decisions, and what retailers can do to tailor their products and services to consumers’ wishes, thereby driving brand loyalty. Properly interpreted and used, marketing and sales data can be of great value to business and industry.

From theory to practice
Over the course of five years, BrandLoyalty has committed itself to support three PhD students with their studies into different aspects of loyalty in food retail. Conducted in partnership with JADS, this arrangement not only shows commitment to the data talent of the future but will also provide further insights into how data can best be used. JADS is able to offer a unique network with other like-minded companies within the data science space, as well as access to professors within this increasingly important field.

Jheronimus Bosch the innovator of the middle ages

One of the most famous sons of the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was the painter Jheronimus van Aken, who was born in 1450. The fantastic imagery, detailed landscapes and illustrations of religious narratives in his work showed his deep insight into humanity’s deepest fears and desires. He signed a number of his paintings as Jheronimus Bosch, thereby identifying himself with his birthplace, but is now usually known by non-Dutch speakers as Hieronymus Bosch.

Jheronimus Bosch the innovator of the middle ages

The aim of the projects is to be able to piece together all relevant, often complex and hybrid data to effectively tell a story that can be easily understood by non-experts. This will result in actionable insights and data-driven solutions that will enable us to push back the boundaries of loyalty marketing.

Our students
Three PhD projects have been defined that complement each other and, together with supervision teams comprising of Professors and BrandLoyalty colleagues, form a larger project group. Two students from Tilburg University – Suzanne Bies and Nick Bombay – started their PhD project in September 2016, and Yorick Spenrath a student from the Eindhoven University of Technology, started his in June 2019. Here’s a quick description of what they’re up to:

Project 1: ‘ Effective Activation throughout the Shopper Journey’
Using BrandLoyalty’s Programme Activation Framework, Suzanne Bies is studying the impact of effective activation initiatives on programme participation and the extent of engagement – which may for instance be measured in terms of collecting stamps or through purchasing behaviour.

Project 2: ‘ Participation Simulator’
The goal of Nick Bombay’s PhD project is to improve the accuracy of performance forecasts for loyalty campaigns. In order to achieve this, it is important to identify how campaign performance is systematically and predictably related to certain campaign characteristics; quantify the relative importance of these characteristics; and determine to what extent this influence varies predictably according to certain retailer and/ or country characteristics.

Nick is aiming to develop an implementable method to obtain accurate forecasts of the campaign’s penetration, contingent on a variety of actionable characteristics and taking into account the specificities of the setting in which the campaign will take place. He is also creating a tool for conducting reliable policy simulations.

Project 3 ‘ Real-time instore journey optimisation’
Yorick Spenrath recently started this PhD project to optimise the instore journey of the shopper during the total period of a short-term loyalty programme. To do so successfully requires a deep understanding of real-time shopping behaviour and redeeming behaviour. Given the widespread availability of Big Data and the increasing number of technologies to exploit it, more data-driven approaches to enhancing customer engagement are coming into reach. With the rise of mobile and social technologies, consumers are always connected and can find information in seconds. This puts customers in control, but also provides retailers with much more detailed and direct information on their behaviour. By combining process mining, data mining, and visualisation techniques, Yorick aims to learn about customer behaviour and to increase the effectiveness of loyalty programmes and promotions. Compared to the other two PhD projects, this one is more technology-focused. Its purpose is to exploit the data that is abundantly available by further using and developing state-of-the-art process mining techniques, and is complementary to the other two PhD projects.

For more information about JADS and its partnership with BrandLoyalty, please visit www.jads.nl

More about our company? 

Learn more about how we're using data to enhance shopper experiences in our case study about a loyalty programme we ran at Hema China. Within the Hema app, BrandLoyalty is giving the collecting journey a game-like progression to create an innovative, interesting and more fun shopping experience for customers.

Go to case study
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