Creditz poised to take on Air Miles

Don't try telling David Vaters that Canadians are inundated with too many loyalty programs. The founder and president of Consumer Economic Opportunities (CEO) in Toronto has helped create a membership-based consumer loyalty program called Creditz, which pledges to be a rival...

Don’t try telling David Vaters that Canadians are inundated with too many loyalty programs.

The founder and president of Consumer Economic Opportunities (CEO) in Toronto has helped create a membership-based consumer loyalty program called Creditz, which pledges to be a rival to The Loyalty Group’s successful Air Miles program.

‘We think Creditz provides a superior program to existing in-house and third-party programs for a number of reasons,’ says Vaters. ‘Consumers get a high-value program that makes attaining points easier, they get to control their own participation and they get to redeem rewards wherever and whenever they want.’

And just how is that different from other loyalty programs, all of which promise pretty much the same thing?

‘We are not a rewards program,’ insists Vaters, a business executive with 20 years’ experience in the Toronto fashion and promotion industry. ‘Our business model is totally different.

‘When we got into the business of loyalty programs, we quickly discovered that a lot of people are members of programs, but not that many were redeeming points and earning what they deserved for being loyal. So we’ve put together a broad-based program that makes collecting and redeeming much easier and quicker.’

The company’s base program will see members getting one ‘creditz’ for each dollar they spend at CEO’s partner companies. Partnerships have been struck with companies such as Allied Van Lines, Discount Car and Truck Rentals and Enbridge Consumers Gas. Vaters says partnerships are also being formed with businesses in the home improvement, travel, automotive and real estate sectors.

According to Walter Matias, program manager with the residential division of Enbridge Consumers Gas, the Creditz concept meshes well with the utility’s own marketing objectives.

‘We want people to choose natural gas,’ says Matias. ‘Creditz is a simple method to do that, instead of offering something like cheque rebates.’

He says Enbridge is also poised to reap the benefits of the data mining opportunities through its association with CEO.

‘Through follow-up surveys CEO does with consumers on our behalf, we can identify consumer behaviour and then do one-to-one marketing through CEO in areas of gas conversion or energy efficiency,’ says Matias.

Like other programs, a quarterly newsletter will be mailed out to members, with an option for online delivery. Over time, updates can be done monthly, weekly – even daily, if warranted.

Vaters says CEO is currently approaching retailers in the next segment of partnership acquisition, leading up to a full launch of the program later this year.

‘Three-quarters of all Canadians belong to some kind of loyalty program,’ he says. ‘So our target is quite broad. Once people learn about Creditz, we think they’ll quickly understand what makes the program so great,’ adding CEO’s goal is to sign up as many people as possible.

When customers are ready to redeem, they get a voucher that can be honoured through any of the program partners. Enrolment is free.

‘With some internal and third-party programs, consumers find it difficult to attain points because they don’t shop enough in one place,’ Vaters says. ‘Or they find it hard to redeem because of high thresholds. We’ve designed Creditz so these factors won’t be an issue.’

Partners, Vaters adds, can take advantage of CEO’s data mining tools. They will have access to large amounts of data that Creditz can turn into what he calls ‘workable business solutions.’ The company’s proprietary system, the Exclusive Systems Solution, is used to collect relevant transactional, demographic and customer information. Tener Solutions Group of Toronto will be providing the data mining analysis for CEO and its partners.

CEO will also offer loyalty account administration, member care services, data management and online access to information for program partners.

‘Other programs may have access to a lot of information,’ says Vaters. ‘But they are unable to collect, utilize and interpret data as we can. What sets us apart is our ability to work the data into one-to-one marketing solutions for our partners.’

To promote the program, CEO is readying a multi-million-dollar print and television ad campaign helmed by Toronto-based ad shop Holmes & Lee, along with Padulo Integrated.

‘We are also exploring direct marketing, but we feel our biggest asset is our proprietary communications vehicles,’ says Vaters.

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.