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When a brand goes extra mile to reward customers

In Nigeria, like in other climes, the common practice in consumer marketing is to roll out one form of promotion or the other. For product brands, especially, the objective of that strategy is either to increase sales...
Lucky winners in Milan

Lucky winners in Milan

In Nigeria, like in other climes, the common practice in consumer marketing is to roll out one form of promotion or the other. For product brands, especially, the objective of that strategy is either to increase sales, gain acceptance for a new product, or to earn brand equity. It can also be used for positioning, gain competitive edge or enhance corporate reputation.

Rewards of promotions or promos, as often called, can be freebies such as, asking customers to buy one or more of their products and get one free. They can come as winning valuable assets such as cars or household items. Sometime, it can be cash prizes.

The question experts often ask, however, is: How far do promotions go in adding value to the consumer?The question becomes imperative because consumers are more discerning. For high value consumers in particular, being loyal to a brand is all about real added value they get. In acknowledgement of this fact, Etisalat Nigeria, in 2013, launched its innovative customer reward programme for its high value customers, known as GEM (Going the Extra Mile).

GEM is a unique loyalty scheme designed to show appreciation to its high-end customers for their loyalty to the brand. Since its launch, many customers have benefitted from the scheme in different ways, including free calls while roaming, free high end phones, free medical check-up abroad, free shopping abroad, and free VIP box tickets to watch live FC Barcelona matches.

Not long ago, the network rewarded another set of its customers with an all-expense-paid trip to the city of Milan, Italy to watch this year’s UEFA Champions League final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the San Siro Stadium, Milan. These customers were selected as the top spenders on the Etisalat network for 2015.

According to the lucky customers, the trip was one of the best things that happened to them, and one that will last in their memories for a lifetime. Aside from the international exposure, they said the trip also afforded them opportunity to network, meet new people and shop amongst others.Their excitement is understandable for many reasons. First, not everyone gets the opportunity to watch a match of such magnitude at the San Siro, globally acclaimed as one of the football temples in the world. Home to two of Italy’s top Serie A teams, AC Milan and Internazionale Milan, the 80,018 capacity stadium has been graced by great football legends dead and alive, including the Dutch trio, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard; Franco Baresi, Carlo Anceloti, among others.

Recounting his experience on the trip, one of the GEM customers, Solomon Agbataekwe, expressed delight at the opportunity to watch the UEFA final match. “I am truly excited because it is a dream come true for me to watch the UEFA Champions League final match live. I’m very grateful to the network for appreciating their customers with this trip and experience. This trip provided me with the opportunity to network, meet new people, shop and experience the sights and sounds of Milan. I have always used the network, but with rewards like this, I feel like I will have to stay with them forever,” he said.

Another customer, Abubakar Isa, added, “It was an excellent experience.”Speaking on the rationale for the trip, Director, Consumer Segment Etisalat Nigeria, Adeolu Dairo explained that the company has always rewarded loyalty among its customers. “Our customers are at the heart of our business and we constantly reward them for their loyalty by connecting them with their passion. The game of football has a mass followership across the world, and we wanted our customers to experience the UEFA Champions League finals,” he said.

According to him, the company had during a profiling exercise at the beginning of the year, identified that a huge number of its loyal customers were football lovers. On the criteria used in selecting the lucky customers, Dairo said this included, the length of time spent on the network as well as their level of engagement with its products and services. To qualify for GEM programme, he said, all a customer has to do is to consistently spend between NGN10, 000 to NGN50, 000 monthly on his or her line over a period of 12-months. Once this is sustained, added, the customer qualifies to experience the benefits that GEM customers enjoy.