In our companion article, we covered three approaches for designing global loyalty programs. Once you’ve determined how you’ll approach designing your global loyalty program, now you must implement it. Easy, right? There are five key activities to cover to ensure your global loyalty program is designed with impact and local relevance:
1. Localize the Program Where It Makes Sense
The program’s global footprint will act as a blueprint for activation across the regions. Each region should consider how to localize:
- The program value proposition—features and benefits
- The member experience
- Program marketing and communications
First, the program must offer benefits and rewards that resonate with local customers; what is enticing in one region may differ greatly in another. The regional teams will know their members and regional nuances the best, including what offerings will bring the most value to their audience.
Second, any program experience, no matter where the instance appears globally, should be omnichannel. Channels leveraged may differ based on the preferred customer channels in that region—programs might have a stronger in-store presence in some geographies, whereas in others, digital might be more prevalent. Choose the channels that meet the expectations of customers in that region.
Finally, when it comes to marketing the program, be sure to address the essentials: use local languages/dialects, imagery, even regional talent/celebrities/athletes (if appropriate) in marketing materials. In this way, brands can create a powerful emotional connection with customers by acknowledging local norms and customs. Brand voice and values should remain consistent, but language and tone should be adjusted to the benefit of local customers.
Catalyst created a WeChat mini program for a client in China as part of the localization for that geography. While WeChat is not used widely outside of China, it has over 1.2 billion active daily users in the country.
2. Establish a Global Operating Model to Maintain Unity and Structure
No matter which program design approach you’ve implemented, you must have a level of governance to ensure brand continuity. As programs scale across regions, your program teams must regularly communicate with each other to share best practices, communicate performance, and learn from each other. For regional programs expanding to global markets or globally designed programs, part of localization includes creating a governance structure to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals and that the foundational elements of the program remain globally intact. Additionally, a local team should be hired to run the program instance. Leveraging local knowledge will ensure the program is run with a regional perspective by those with the context to inform the value proposition, deploy campaigns, and interpret results from the appropriate cultural lens.
3. Adhere to Local Privacy and Legal Regulations
No matter where the program is offered, adherence to local privacy laws and regulations is critical. As you’re implementing your program, you’ll need to establish a member data governance policy to manage the availability, usability, and integrity of the data you’ll be collecting. While some elements of this policy may remain constant globally, other elements such as data storage and warehousing, third-party compliance, privacy regulations, and consent/sharing protocols often vary by region. Be sure to consult with local legal and privacy resources to ensure you’re complying with all stated regulations.
4. Choose a Loyalty Platform that Scales with Your Tech Stack
As you prepare to implement your program, make sure the entire technology ecosystem is in lockstep with the strategy. Implementing technology takes time, and on a global scale, even longer. From handling different geographical instances of the program, to adjusting to different currencies, orchestrating and implementing any necessary loyalty platforms or other supporting technology selections early in the process will save time and money in the long term. Plan ahead—being certain to involve stakeholders from different regions—to ensure the nuances of different geographies, technologies, and regulations are captured and accounted for early.
5. Create a Global Program Roll-Up Report
Finally, measuring the program’s success is essential to ensuring members are finding value from its offerings and that the program is profitable. For global programs, reporting should always be done at the local level and should roll up to a global level too. Together, these views tell a holistic story of program performance, member engagement, and program profitability, while allowing teams to drill down into specific regional data—and any local differences—as needed.
How is your company preparing to launch its global program in 2023? Connect with our experts for a consultation today.
Principal, Integrated Loyalty Solutions
Associate Manager, Strategy