Branded currency is becoming more and more important in brand strategies. It brings a new reflection on the different strategies’ articulation. Some leading brands are now using this concept. However, it is still necessary to have a strong branded currency in order to stand out from the rest. So how to improve it?
Improve your brand image for a strong branded currency
It is clear that a consumer will give more importance and value to a branded currency tool like the gift card if he knows the brand and if the latter has a strong brand awareness among consumers. A good brand image is the starting point for recognition. Besides having a good strategy, good products and a quality-price in line with positioning, what are the steps to be taken?
Trust currency, or trust economy, refers to the trust placed in a brand by customers and consumers. Of course, no one will buy a product or service from a brand if they don’t believe in its reliability. And they will certainly not be more interested in branded currency tools (loyalty program, gift card…).
Brands’ goal is to manage the trust economy and to be prepared for possible external events, to play on several points in order to improve the trust currency and to make branded currency stronger:
- Realize consumers’ expectations that are more and more demanding
- The staff professionalism helps to gain trust
- Price positioning will have consequences
- The values and commitment of a brand among consumers
- The brand must position itself as a problem solver
- The brand must put the customer at the centre of its strategy
- Give credit for trust, especially on returns, refunds and after-sales service
- Constant innovation
Let’s take the example of a loyalty program or a gift card. If the customer experience is weak, few customers will decide to make a repeated purchase, and even fewer will give a gift card to a friend or family member for him to enjoy a good shopping experience.
Therefore, customer experience will allow the branded currency tools to be enhanced. To do this, a brand must understand each customer in real time, thanks to the data collected. This understanding must be able to provide essential information to personalize the experience of each consumer according to his profile and this on any physical or digital point of sale (omnichannel). These are the points to pay attention to:
- Work on each point of contact
- Do not work in silos but create close collaborations between retail and e-commerce teams and then between each point of sale
- Be attentive to users and customers feedback and measure satisfaction
- Deliver a consistent global experience
- Keep information up to date
- Create a data learning system
- Create an emotional connection
The higher social currency is, the more valuable branded currency will be. But what is social currency? It represents the number of people who positively recommend the brand or one of its products. Word-of-mouth is the recommendation with the biggest impact. But today, there are other media such as social networks, review sites, forums… Moreover, social currency represents 13% of sales and 20% of higher category products sales.
This variety of possibilities, finally, allows the brand to quickly develop its social currency to reinforce its branded currency. There will be no value creation if no consumer shares his opinion. There is no point in offering a gift card for Christmas from a brand you have never heard of or from a brand you are not sure about.
There are several ways to increase social currency:
- Affiliate campaigns
- Creation of a group of referrers or ambassadors
- Invite customers to post a review
Offer relevant forms of branded currencies to customers
Branded currency is the currency of a brand. To manage it, different media exist. The only thing left to do is to choose the most suitable ones for your company and especially for your customers.
One of the most widely used tools is the point system found in most retailers’ loyalty programs. Customers are already familiar with the principle and will therefore be able to adopt it very quickly. However, you have to be careful to choose how many points are earned for each action, and how long it will take for consumers to convert them into gifts. It should not be too long or too complicated, at the risk of tiring people. Moreover, gifts in the end must largely compensate the efforts made in earning points. The value of the points will depend entirely on the brand and the value of its branded currency.
Co-branded credit card
Today, prepaid credit cards issued by financial institutions exist. These cards allow consumers to have a credit card without having an account, and to be able to recharge it and spend it in stores.
Several major brands, such as Ikea or But, have decided to introduce a co-branded credit card, i.e. a card in association with a financial partner. Thanks to the card, customers will be able to access particular services (deferred payment…) of the issuing brand.
The gift card is the most representative tool of the branded currency. Why? Because the amount on the card represents the branded currency. This predefined amount can be spent in store or on the brand’s website only.
It is a basic gift service for consumers, but brands can expand its use in marketing strategies.
Discount coupon and promotional code
The discount coupon is also related to the brand currency. It is a percentage or discount amount given to the consumer at a certain time and for a certain duration. The brand agrees to give brand value to a customer so that he can have a product at a different price.
Very often, the loyalty program goes with the loyalty card. It is the customers’ system support. If the company decides to use a point system, those will be stored on the card. On the other hand, if they opt for a checkout process accounting to have the right to a reduction, the information is again stored on it. All transactions related to brand currency are recorded on the card.
The digital gift card can be a great asset in a brand’s strategy. From acquisition to loyalty, it is a real Swiss army knife, a formidable weapon to stay in the spotlight and capture consumers and customers. So, when do you get started?
Suggestions for further reading
What is branded currency?