Seema Bihari and Sean Claessen
Seema Bihari and Sean Claessen
While en route to India, during a three-hour layover in Qatar, I had the opportunity to explore the highly acclaimed Qatar Airport and discover the various experiences it had to offer. One particular point of interest was a lounge operated by Louis Vuitton. It caught my attention for a fascinating reason. This lounge extends a warm welcome not only to Louis Vuitton VIPs, but also to Platinum and Gold members of Qatar’s Privilege Club loyalty program. The way this benefit is structured bears a resemblance to a layered, nest-like arrangement. We are currently witnessing a growing trend of brands uniting to provide advantages to their mutually loyal customer base—and have the other brand “vouch” for customers not yet loyal to the other—which hints at the emergence of the concept of "Nested Loyalty" as a transformative trend. This trend is reshaping the way brands and customers interact. Not many are acquainted with the term, and it is still in its nascent stage; we at Bond are taking this opportunity to define Nested Loyalty and delve into its benefits for both brands and customers.
Image by: Louis Vuitton
Traditionally, customer loyalty was perceived as an individualistic affair, with each brand striving to capture the undivided attention of its customers. However, this perspective has proven to be somewhat outdated. The truth is, customers often engage with multiple brands, exploring various products and services that align with their needs and preferences. This behavior is a representation of brand infidelity, yes, challenging the conventional notion of loyalty—but, perhaps more importantly, this behavior is a representation of the absence of a bond between customer and brand. In the current landscape, brands are being presented with the unique opportunity to deepen existing connections with customers—to curb that same infidelity with true loyalty.
The future of loyalty is unfolding as a tale of torrid promiscuity—not in the romantic sense, but in the business realm—, where multiple partnerships are forged to enhance customer experiences and rewards. This paradigm shift seeks to address the temporary nature of modern consumerism, curbing the trend of fluctuating, one-night-stand interactions between customers and brands. In this landscape, as customers fluidly traverse between brands, they leave behind a trail of their preferences. This trail, in turn, provides brands with the means to identify common customer bases and offer bespoke, potentially binding benefits. This intricate dynamic encapsulates the concept of nested loyalty, acknowledging the multifaceted tapestry of loyalties that customers maintain within this ever-evolving business ecosystem. Recognizing and adeptly navigating this network of nested loyalties stands as a pivotal opportunity within contemporary marketing and loyalty strategies. It demands a deep comprehension of the intricate relationships customers foster with brands, a readiness to adapt, and an unwavering commitment to meeting their diverse and evolving needs.
Picture a trio of brands: a third-party delivery service like Uber Eats, a quick-service restaurant (QSR) like Starbucks, and a consumer-packaged goods (CPG) company like Coca-Cola. How can these diverse entities collaborate to create a synergistic loyalty ecosystem?
Here's how the process could unfold:
If recent brand partnerships serve as indicators, the concept of nested loyalty holds immense potential. This innovative approach could drive frequent purchases and heightened brand loyalty. Customers would be motivated to combine brands strategically to maximize rewards. While executing nested loyalty programs necessitates collaboration and robust technological infrastructure, the benefits could far outweigh the efforts.
The future of customer loyalty is not a narrow path; it's a vast network of interwoven relationships that brands can develop into deeper bonds. Brands that embrace the concept of nested loyalty stand to tap into a reservoir of customer engagement and loyalty, fostering connections that transcend traditional boundaries. As the business landscape continues to evolve, one thing is certain: the era of solitary loyalty is fading, making way for a more interconnected and rewarding customer journey.
At Bond, we have created a method that uses behavioral science and human-centered design to ensure that your path to designing a futuristic, engaging, and rewarding loyalty program is simple and satisfying.