For Digital Loyalty Programs, Kiip Finds Most Brands Have It Backwards

Rewards shouldn't define behavior; consumers’ natural behavior should define rewards, says Kiip’s Brian Wong.

Retailers have realized the importance of rewards programs, with an increasing amount tying them into their mobile marketing efforts. But Brian Wong, the CEO of mobile rewards platform Kiip suggests that uniformly adopting rewards programs to keep up with rival stores may be misguided.

Wong finds too much emphasis on trying to get consumers to open an app or click on a coupon.  Instead, he advises that brands and retailers should  simply develop ways of rewarding what shoppers do in stores regularly.

GeoMarketing caught up with Wong to discuss this challenge, and to explore Kiip’s recent developments, which include the launch of Kiip Platform, white label loyalty solution intended to give brands more control over their deal offerings, and a partnership with MasterCard.

Brian Wong
Brian Wong

GeoMarketing: How does the introduction of the Kiip Platform bridge the company’s approach to advertising and marketing programs? 

Brian Wong: With Kiip Platform, brands can still deliver rewards for achievements in external mobile games and apps. But we now also enable them to reach consumers in brand-owned properties and across social media.

For example, if a frequent flier checks an airline’s mobile app to discover their flight is delayed, the airline can offer that person a discount to the airport lounge to help pass the time. Alternatively, if the flier tweets about the delay on their phone, the airline could offer a free drink at the airport bar, etc.

For Kiip, this move is a natural expansion from advertising to loyalty. It’s another way to solidify the brand-consumer relationship. We act as the bridge, finding the perfect moments to connect brands with loyal consumers, by delivering rewards that address real-time needs.

What kind of partners are you attracting to Kiip’s other marketing programs?

In February, we announced our biggest partnership yet! We’re working with MasterCard to power their Priceless Surprises app. The app is MasterCard’s foray into a new category of mobile loyalty, adding excitement to everyday moments. More info will be released soon.

How do you see the space evolving? What new methods do you expect and like to see emerge?

I hope to see two approaches grow in popularity in the near future: moment-based rewards and simplified funnels.

Right now, the emphasis is on incentives: brands incentivize users to interact with them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t prove loyalty.

Instead, brands should reward consumers for their natural behavior. If someone loves your brand so much that they purchase your product, you should recognize their actions and thank them appropriately. Rewards shouldn’t define behavior. Behavior should define rewards.

Second, brands err on the side of making loyalty more complicated than necessary. There’s a link on the Kiip blog that shows the traditional loyalty points funnel versus our funnel. Our funnel makes things easier by removing the hassle of points. This helps brands keep consumers interested and engaged.

What are your thoughts on beacons and the role they may play there? 

Brands leverage beacons because it helps them locate consumers and ultimately improve in-store shopping experiences. Considering that half of American adults already use their phones as part of their purchasing process (researching deals, similar items, reviews, etc.), this is another step towards providing relevant information to boost conversions. Just remember, it’s also the consumer activity – like the moment a person searches for a deal on mobile – that deserves brand attention. Kiip can make recognizing these in-store moments easy.

At the end of the day, what defines Kiip, and what differentiates the company’s products with the increasingly crowded loyalty/rewards space? 

Kiip Platform is mobile-first. We enable brands to reach the right users with the right content during the right moments. Instant gratification on the most personal device that users own: that’s what sets Kiip apart.