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Consumers need 'language of loyalty'

News, 23 February 2017
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SINGAPORE: Consumers in Singapore are showing signs of disengagement from traditional loyalty programmes with a quarter (24%) reporting that their expectations of brand loyalty have completely changed, a global study has found.

Accenture, the professional services firm, last year polled more than 25,400 consumers around the world about their loyalty relationship with brands, and its findings about US consumers were published recently.

The findings about Singaporean consumers have now been released, with Campaign Asia reporting that close to two-thirds (62%) have switched providers of goods and services in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, four-in-five (80%) of Singapore consumers are withdrawing their loyalty to brands at what Accenture describes as "profit-crushing rates".

Accenture also reported that millions of loyalty points are lying inactive in consumer accounts and, with 21% of Singapore consumers currently feeling negative or apathetic to brands trying to earn their loyalty, urged brands to quickly adopt a new "language of loyalty".

"Organisations that stick to traditional approaches and don't explore the new drivers influencing loyalty risk draining profitability and pushing customers away – even when they have the best intentions or are following their historical playbook,” said Alison Kennedy, Managing Director, ASEAN, at Accenture Strategy.

To help brands win back consumers, Accenture highlighted five trends, or languages of loyalty, which it said were key to retaining customer loyalty.

These included the use of small tokens of affection, such as personalised accounts, gift cards and special offers, which two-thirds (66%) of Singapore consumers say helps them to be loyal to a brand.

Brands also need to understand their customers properly, with three-quarters (74%) of Singapore consumers reporting that they feel loyal to brands that are there when they need them, but otherwise respect their time and leave them alone. Half (50%) also report being loyal to brands that allow them to personalise products.

Brands should also promote experiences, the report advised, after finding 48% of Singapore consumers are loyal to brands that engage them to help design or co-create products or services.

Another 41% feel loyal to brands that engage them in multi-sensory experiences, using new technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality.

Association is also important because 26% are loyal to brands that partner with social influencers, bloggers and vloggers, while 41% are loyal to those that actively support shared causes, such as charities or public campaigns.

Finally, Accenture reported that more than half (53%) of Singapore consumers are loyal to brands that connect them with other providers, giving them the option to exchange loyalty points or rewards.

"Organisations need to understand the loyalty languages of their most profitable customers and implement the optimal mix to ensure they’re delivering the experiences that drive advocacy, retention and growth," said Kennedy.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional data by Warc staff

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