Boost Customer Lifetime Value with a Shared Purpose

Your brand makes a statement and should always reflect what you stand for.  This is your shared purpose with your customers.  The role of social and community support in connection with your brand and shared purpose with customers cannot be understated.   Shared values are increasingly gaining momentum and customers are motivated to join loyalty programs that are associated with a good cause and with a brand that gives back to the community. Customers are now more empowered than ever and brands must work twice as hard to gain their loyalty. According to a survey report by Censuswide, 89% of customers switch to a brand associated with good causes they care about. A Nielson report stated that almost 73% customers were willing to spend extra money on a business that’s associated with sustainable activities. Because making a difference is a huge motivator, customers are proactively looking to support kinder, more self-aware and socially-responsible brands.

Loyalty Programs like TOMS Passport Rewards have aced this trend. They encourage their loyalty members to donate their points toward a charitable cause or initiative. For example, currently, members can redeem points for a $20 donation to help support the COVID-19 Global Giving Fund. This option creates goodwill and helps customers create more emotional bonding with the brand. The Body Shop’s Love your Body Club allows their members to choose to donate their loyalty rewards toward one of their charity partners (Born Free USA or the National Parks Conservation Association) which coincides perfectly with their commitment to sustainability. Some other loyalty reward program examples that support causes are Warby Parker: For every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased, a pair of glasses is donated to someone in need. Similarly, United Airlines Mileage Plus members can make donations to the American Red Cross. Several companies such as Signet Jewelers, Dominos, and New York & Company are proud supporters of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

So, why incorporate charitable causes in your loyalty program?

  • Improve your bottom line with a shared purpose tied to your customers – Customers are more likely to purchase more from brands that engage in “giving back” because it makes them feel good about changing the world. Hence the sense of pride encourages more purchases. According to a study by Journal of Consumer Research, the social consciousness of a company stimulates customers to believe that products are better performing. Thus, doing good can indeed translate into doing well because positive perception about a brand translates into positive belief about its product. 
  • Improve customer loyalty – Make sure your community rewards program resonates with your customers. Show your commitment to the shared purpose.  Pay attention to customer feedback and analyze your data: these are extremely helpful in identifying relevant causes that will bolster customer experience and attitude toward your brand. The more beneficial the causes are for your customers, the greater the impact it will have on customer retention. If you support the causes your customers care about, you win their trust, affinity, respect and attention. Not only that, they will also advocate on your behalf to their family and friends. A study by Echo research states that nearly 53% of the customers will happily recommend a brand’s products and services if they are involved in charitable or socially responsible causes. This is a sure-fire way to enhance customer loyalty. 
  • Foster your brand reputation – Loyal customers want you to engage their hearts and minds not just their wallet.  They seek products that bring value to them and make them feel there’s a meaningful purpose. A charitable cause that reflects an authentic shared purpose is an excellent way to get your name out in the community and foster your brand visibility. Philanthropy reinforces positive brand awareness and improves your reputation because customers believe that responsible brands are more trustworthy and ethical. So, they don’t mind spending more on your business. It not only gives you an edge over your competitors, but also enhances your perception in the eyes of the customers.

Here are some suggestions to enhance your loyalty strategy with impactful community or social based rewards: 

  • Your charitable effort should align with your brand value and resonate with your shared purpose tied to your customers. Identify your purpose and make sure all your efforts serve it. Stand up for a cause that will add value to the lives of your customers, society and/or the environment. Focus on a long-term strategy and clear communication to stand out as a brand. And outline a great purpose that is followed up by a sustainable, authentic and long term commitment. 
  • Share the impact, milestones and accomplishments with your customers. They would love to see the impact of your shared purpose. Loyal customers want to see the impact they are having for the greater good.  Show customers the direct result of their contributions to the shared purpose as well as that of the brand.  Remember, the shared purpose is a collective effort.   
  • You need to stand by your beliefs.  It has to be authentic. Cause washing is a serious problem and customers can see right through this. Make sure you have a genuine reason to associate yourself with the shared purpose and how you will support it on an ongoing basis. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon only to boost sales. Again, customers will see right through this.  According to a report, millennials are twice as likely to invest in companies that can prove their credentials in terms of targeting a social/charitable goal. This doesn’t mean you can’t use trending causes to gain some steam with your loyalty campaign. 

Use your data to analyze and understand your customers through their purchase history as well as any applicable surveys, feedback and social media interaction. A successful loyalty program will be able to fetch you information regarding how customers personally invest and what social concerns they relate to the most. 

 
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