Team WeGift is back following a busy few days over at Flourish Conference – an event dedicated to the future of branded currency.
Much of the talk centered on transparency and the lack of control that brands have over the recipients of their rewards. There were debates over the use of ROI instead of incrementality as a method of gauging success. But one of the biggest points of the discussion was around program management and ways of improving the fulfillment of branded currency orders.
In this blog post, we will summarize the main themes around these key trends and will follow-up with a serious to cover them separately and in detail.
1. Transparency is in big demand.
At Flourish, we heard from the brands that require better visibility of their supply chain. When they sell a reward, they need to know exactly what the sales stack is and how many companies it consists of as, ultimately, they want to better understand their consumer. This lack of awareness is preventing adoption from groups that need to protect their brand image and reputation.
The buyer side of the debate is more about wanting to understand each brand, preferably through face-to-face meetings. This is mainly to help each party gauge their true potential.
But is transparency really that important to your business? We believe it is, which was also proven by how well-received were arguments from our founder, Aron, during his speaking session. Aron highlighted how a lack of customer insight led to the demise of several big companies, including
- Blockbuster, which focused on late fees and ignored customer behaviour
- Yahoo!, which overlooked the demand for search.
- Blackberry, which focused on IP monetisation and became irrelevant.
And then explained how through intelligent analytics such as better tools for reporting, approvals, user and product management, organisations can start to shed new light on their supply chains.
2. Brands are getting serious with security and control.
On the conference stage, there was a huge buzz around the lack of control retailers have regarding their choice of third-party vendors. If you’re a brand, you’ll know that it’s not enough to just to find any seller; you need partners that align with your core values and proposition.
In most cases, this can be solved by a few things:
- Technology that can identify and switch off undesired verticals.
- The ability to manage the full sales stack – a known blindspot when it comes to tracking.
- A partner-based approach between brands and third-party sellers, built from a solid understanding of each other’s businesses.
These three action points have been followed by many of the brands we work with. Judging by their success, if you would like to solve your issues with security, you should start by reviewing your technology and vendor relationships.
3. ROI is replacing incrementality.
When we talk about making money from our branded currency or eGift card program, incrementality has been used as the key indicator of success. But incrementality is very hard to calculate and define. Plus, it doesn’t have the same definition across all businesses. It’s why brands are shifting their focus to ROI in order to improve communication between departments, leading to more collaboration and revenue.
The benefits of opting for return as opposed to incrementality are:
- Demonstrable contribution to marketing initiatives.
- Evidence of how branded currency pays for internal staffing and resources.
- Development of a common framework, leading to conversations around leveraging branded currency in different scenarios.
Not only is ROI easier to define than incrementality, it’s also easier to explain. We’ll be going through ways of demonstrating ROI to both your finance and marketing teams in our upcoming blog.
4. Legacy technology is still hampering growth and opportunities.
Following all the talk around transparency, the discussion soon turned to simplification, efficiency and onto programme management.
The gist of the feedback is that most reward and currency programmes are relying on multiple solutions to perform very simple tasks. Their technology providers have great portfolios of brands. But due to the sheer amount of APIs required for ordering, invoicing and fulfilment, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to access them.
The lack of efficiency around programme management was actually one of the biggest inspirations for WeGift and us offering a global network of rewards using a single API. Our advice is to explore new options if the current ones do not make sense for your business.
What you really need to know.
If Flourish proved one thing, it’s that branded currency needs technologies that answer to calls for transparency and security, with a focus on ROI. Brands want to know where their rewards are going and how much they’re earning. Buyers want to know more about their brands, and both sides are still at times held up by ineffective solutions that are making it difficult to fulfil orders in real-time.
Will branded currency realise its undoubted potential? In our opinion, this will rest on technological innovation.