The Loyalty Podcast: Are Customer Needs Changing?

Jan 30, 2023

Kobie’s Chief Innovation Officer, David Andreadakis, joined fellow loyalty experts from across the world on The Loyalty Podcast to discuss 2022 consumer loyalty research trends on a global scale.

In episode 44, moderator Ian Pringle welcomes Charlie Hills and Adam Posner alongside Andreadakis to explore how customer loyalty has changed post-lock down, bringing insights together from America, Australia and London. Three different research studies from their respective corners of the globe prompted the group to dive into main findings and recurring themes. From curated digital experiences, to brand partnerships and tapping into emotional loyalty, the group covered ground from unique research lenses.

In reference to Kobie’s 2022 Research Study leveraging findings from more than 10,000 consumers, Andreadakis explained:

“We took a slightly different angle. We’ve seen a lot of studies rank the order of what people want out of programs in terms of rewards and things like that. So we had to figure out how to to dig a little bit further, figuring out not only what customers were wanting, and how they were interacting with the program itself, but also what was driving the to want that – what emotional drivers and financial drivers really pushed them towards a certain thing. And what’s the impact of getting that wrong.”

In this deeper dive, Andreadakis describes a finding around the “trifecta effect” that comes from not just getting rewards right, but nailing the experience of the reward and the impact it has on the total relationship between the consumer and the brand. To better articulate, he uses the following example:

“If I said – Hey, would you like to have a steak dinner tonight? And you said – Yeah, that sounds great. Let’s do that. But then, I followed up and said, Cool, I need you to go buy the steak and cook it. And then we’ll go eat at your place. You might not be as interested in having a steak dinner. Rewards are pretty much the same thing. People can get enticed, interested in a program, and they can even participate in the program. But if the experience of obtaining that reward and tends to be long, or tends to put a lot of work on them to go out of their way, it’s too transactional for the consumer. It feels like they’re having to put more into the relationship and they just don’t get as much out of the program as you would think.

With this in mind, while many brands may think they are giving the customer a lot of value, the answer is they are. But it’s not being positioned in a way that’s good for the relationship. Kobie’s research further connected this hurdle with the impact on emotional drivers. What’s driving consumers to think and feel the way they do? And what can brands do about it? Each of the loyalty experts weighed in on how crucial understanding emotional loyalty is as a theme that spans across countries and economies. Andreadakis continued:

“The key here is the emotional connection with the customer and the brand, and if you can find the right emotional connection, they’re willing to take some more complex actions, they’re willing to give a little bit more, they’re willing to go through more discomfort. It all stems back to while we were all under lockdown for so long. We got some very personal things taken from us. The right to be with people, the right to connect, the right to not be alone, the right to actually socialize. And so the things that people are wanting before anything else is a meaningful connection. That meaningful connection means a little bit different things to different people. So tapping into that, we’re finding that customers are willing to do all sorts of things for that emotional connection. And the key is going to be if you can connect with your customers emotionally, then you are in relationship just like you are in a personal relationship. But if you’re not, they’re going to see you as increasingly transactional right now. They’re going to want their rewards for everything that they do and they’re going to want it more frequently. So the power of being able to identify what’s emotionally driving a customer and act on that has never been greater than now.”

“But this is what I understood from your work,” said Pringle. “And what I liked about it is that is that you have this distinction of emotional, non emotional customers. And then matching the right rewards to each customer. So you can be non-emotional with and match them to a transactional behavior. And that would make it an emotional program for them.”

The conversation continued with specific program examples and a hypothesis that while COVID most certainly had an impact on loyalty membership, as noted by US Chamber, it was a temporary blip. The insights from Hills, Posner and Andreadakis suggest much opportunity for brands to seize the power of emotional loyalty.

For the full episode, visit The Loyalty Podcast.

To learn more about how Kobie can help tap into emotional loyalty and drive enterprise value, reach out to us today.