Q&A – Mike Brinn, Global Loyalty Director, TLC Marketing Worldwide
TLC Marketing specialises in unique reward experiences that deliver an enviable ROI and improved brand metrics to loyalty programs. Mike is an advocate of putting customers at the centre of all decision-making – thus building and deploying engaging and super-personalised programs. Experience has taught Mike that successful and sustainable loyalty programmes are all about the right blend of big ideas, rewards, technology, and analytical expertise. Previously Mike worked as both a strategist and program operator for companies such as Woolworths, AC Nielsen, Swiss Post Solutions, and founded 20-20 insights a loyalty technology and data insights company.
What does your company do? What is your USP?
We are global leaders in using experience-led rewards to turn brand positions into powerful acquisition and retention programs.
Our experience led rewards help customers find additional value to an interaction, and help develop emotional connections with a brand. We have proven that this approach can make your brand more relevant to your customers’ life than a simple discount at sale.
What is special about your approach?
At TLC Marketing, we believe actions speak louder than words. We live in a dematerialized world where experiences are valued more than possessions. Consumers are increasingly looking to brands to offer experiences, and brands that do will prosper.
Our methodology is simple, yet effective. We firstly immerse ourselves with a brand, understanding not only their consumer, but their business needs as well. We then pull all this insight together and create a network of reward experiences that will drive emotional engagement.
How do you measure success?
Any loyalty programmes we create are built on a business case, and have KPI’s on engagement, churn, etc. We also heavily weight our success to NPS.
We believe the program will only be successful if we are helping your members in their lives, we are passionate about understanding members passions, and live through the mantra “do not expect the member to be loyal to you; you must be loyal to them”.
A recent survey we took on one of our programs had the following answer to a question: ”75% of members believe the programme does a good job at helping with their long-term goals”
This is success, when the programme has moved past a transactional relationship.
How are retailers using your approach to gain competitive advantages and what advantage does it add?
Retailers sit on amazing data, which have helped them become fantastic recommendation engines. They know their members intimately, are they foodies, do they enjoy sports, have kids, etc.
With this knowledge, they now want to strengthen the relationship by offering their members experiences that fit their lifestyle. Experiences that can be enjoyed outside the store, meaning the retailer becomes more relevant in their customers everyday lives.
What are the challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail in 2020 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2021 and beyond?
Retail in recent years has worked so hard in setting new standards of operational efficiencies in the supply chain, invested heavily in store layout, and in store experience. The question will now be how this will be affected post Covid, and do we need to re-define our approach to everything?
One constant that will not change is that a true competitive advantage remains in having a connection with your customers. The challenge is to understand the new consumer who may be returning to retail with a more considered mind-set and re-evaluating their priorities.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
A lot of talk has occurred about the New Normal. Unsurprisingly, people do not aspire to this new normal. Instead, they want to get back to normal.
We have spent a lot of time understanding consumers concerns and motivations. We learned a lot, and in our business a simple example is that they want to have to offer a consumer the freedom to use a reward inside or outside their home. Therefore, if you are offering Pilates as a reward to your consumer today, they may want to experience a personal training session or a complete a class in the safety of their own home. They must have the choice to decide whilst uncertainty in the world exists.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
We want to reimagine the loyalty experience, and in particularly help brands with the human side of a brand’s connection with its members.
Our passion is to change how people feel for the better about their brand relationship. Experiential rewards are our techniques to get us there, and we will continually strive to learn and offer new and exciting ways to deliver on our approach.
Any Final Thoughts?
Look at your brand marketing message today, in many cases brands are creating incredible stories and building emotional links to their brand.
Now look at your loyalty/customer engagement programme, if you don’t see the same message coming through, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.
What is your role and what do you do brilliantly?
I am the Global Loyalty Director for TLC Marketing, in this role I help develop our loyalty proposition, and support our offices around the world in developing the strategic direction a programme should take.
What is your favourite part of the job?
The excitement around the ideation stage is the best part of the job, but standing in a retailer and physically seeing the programme you had the pleasure in being involved in is definitely my favourite part.
What in your team do you work closely with and why?
As an agency, everybody is welcome to our brainstorms and kick-offs on any client brief we receive. Everyone’s input is invaluable.
The concept of any programme is critical. Rob Scott, our Creative Director has an empathy for brand consumer relationship, and an ability to bring an ideation to life.
What will you be doing in the next 12 months that we should watch out for?
You will see our approach continue to evolve with the ever-changing climate and focus on loyalty programmes which build brand engagement. We will continue to work with technology partners to make programs frictionless and bring huge success to brands in 2020 and 2021.
Find out more about TLC Marketing here
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