A marketing VP from a regional fast food chain had a problem: she wasn’t getting a lot of people on their corporate Facebook site. She hired an expensive and talented design firm, they bought a platform to manage their content and develop it (Buddy Media) but no one was coming. She told me the average household has over 18 loyalty memberships; yet almost half of those people have had a negative experience with loyalty programs and she didn’t want to fall into that camp – she thought going social was the answer. She needed help with engagement and came to us.
We ended up working out a great solution, which I’ll tell you about at the end of the blog, but first let’s think about the root of the problem.
Fact: Their e- coupons were getting very poor conversion, and their brand audience rate of engagement (B.A.R.E) was among the lowest of their peers.
It was obvious to me there were two things wrong – clearly there was too much friction and secondly they didn’t’ build personal equity.
If you look at brands that have had fantastic social media adoption there are two primary features that make them successful:
- They make social easy. There is no friction to participation, it just happens
- They make users look good, cool, sexy, hip, cosmopolitan.
Vail Resorts social loyalty program called EpicMix is a perfect example.
If you look at the Top 10 Facebook Places by Check-Ins they are in order of volume:
- Chicago O’Hare Airport
- San Francisco Airport
- Atlanta Airport
- Time Square NYC
- Denver Airport
- Facebook HQ – Palo Alto
- Seattle Airport
- Philadelphia Airport
- Boston Logan Airport
Why are these places among the top check-in? Because people have a lot of time and are bored waiting there, so they don’t mind the friction of taking out an Internet device like a phone, tablet or laptop and going through the check-in process, and posting those locations makes them look like worldly travelers. They look cool.
Next time you go to a sporting event, or concert try to check-in. It’s impossible. You’ll miss the action and the cell phone infrastructure is overloaded.
If you want a loyalty program that is going to get a high rate of adoption you have to make it frictionless and make it cool.
So how did I help this fast food chain stay “Fresh” (That’s a hint at the name of the chain). We suggested a program that changed the loyalty card from a credit card, to a small keychain that had an RFID tag in it. The keychain made it easy to carry, the RFID tag made interaction frictionless (and allowed them to use it at other locations with RFID check-ins and Photospots using an OT# standard). Then we added a kiosk to every store. The kiosk did three key functions:
- It allowed a person to “check-in” in under five seconds, without doing anything more than waving their keys in front of the kiosk
- It allowed them tap in an order and cut ahead of the line
- It gave them the chance to take a fun survey that changed daily with results pasted on their Facebook timeline and the total posted to the company’s Fan Page.
The results of a change like this are best practices for loyalty program built around the social web. The key thing to keep in mind is keep it frictionless and make sure it’s all about the user.