Web magnifies loyalty flaws, says expert

Companies that simply transfer their loyalty programs online without assessing their strengths and weaknesses risk "turbocharging" any flaws inherent in their business model, says a leading organizational design consultant....

Companies that simply transfer their loyalty programs online without assessing their strengths and weaknesses risk "turbocharging" any flaws inherent in their business model, says a leading organizational design consultant.

Mark Van Clieaf, past president of the Toronto chapter of The Strategic Leadership Forum, told attendees at a briefing hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Relationship Marketing (AARM) that companies often don’t understand the long-term impact of loyalty programs on their bottom line. By transferring their programs wholesale to the Web, where responses are faster and easier to make, they’re simply magnifying those problems.

Van Clieaf, who based his conclusions on a study he did for MVC Associates International, says he is surprised to hear managers tell him they’ve merely taken their programs and shifted them to the Web.

" ‘We haven’t touched it,’ they say," he recounts. "Later on, they tell me: ‘What we did was turbocharge all that we were doing wrong.

"They’ve learned a lesson – that ‘e’-plus-mass-marketing does not equal eCRM (customer relationship management)," Van Clieaf says.

Before they even consider shifting their programs to the Web, he says, companies need to be able to differentiate segments based on customer economic value. Retention, rather than acquisition, he says, should be the focus.

"Companies must use modeling and customer information to customize reward and recognition," he says. "In other words, they have to be customer-centric and not campaign-centric."

That requires rethinking the whole branding process, Van Clieaf contends. Instead of using marketing simply to build awareness of the brand, marketers must now consider the customer’s involvement with and advocacy of the brand promise.

And that means companies must engineer a total "customer experience" to ensure that each customer contact point – whether through a call centre, direct mail, retail outlet, e-mail campaign or Web site -provides an experience that’s consistent with the brand.

"Branding," says Van Clieaf, "is taking on a whole new meaning."

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.