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Loyalty Un-Programmed
Industry Bronze - Communications/Utilities
Colenso BBDO
Entrant Credits
Matt Webster, Ben Barnes, Belinda Lush, Hugo Parcell, Jono Fellet, Michelle Hong
Nominee Credits
Lou Kivell, Akshay Chhabra, Kate Thomas
Entry Rationale
The telco market is hyper-competitive resulting in high levels of churn, and declining ARPU as customers get more for less year on year.

Spark has a history of investing in loyalty programmes to support retention – from Talking Points to Fly Buys, GlobalPlus (Air NZ and BNZ) and most recently the Thanks Programme.

With each iteration comes the eventual review and each time they found that the investments weren’t driving the behaviours needed.

Research showed that there was one key factor that made customers continue to choose Spark – feeling valued. Feeling valued doesn’t come from a complicated points system or discounts on things you might never buy, it’s meaningful gestures that occasionally surprise and delight, and removing friction in the day-to-day.

It was time to try something new. Enter loyalty un-programmed – a strategy focused on emotional loyalty and customers feeling valued through exceptional experiences, beyond transactional loyalty… delivered via unpublished, agile, surprise and delight rewards, and experiences across three interaction streams – care, customer engagement and rewards.

Spark set out to make their customers FEEL valued. To create an emotional connection the  engagement needed to be unconnected to a transaction, warm and with big heart. They were simply saying, “Thank You” but the way they said it was important. They modelled their contacts on the invites and thank you cards you might use personally with friends.

In the first year of set up and testing this approach delivered an impressive increase in Net Promoter Score, an increase in ARPU, a reduction in full churn and partial churn, and impressive ROI.