Design Mind frogcast Ep.46 – Serving the Consumer Unconditionally

Our Guests: Bhavesh Unadkat, Vice President of Brand and Marketing UK, frog; Kerry Lee, Director of Commerce and Customer Transformation UK, frog; Christopher Baird, Global Head of Loyalty, frog

On this episode of the Design Mind frogcast, we’re talking with frog experts about what it takes to deliver on a radically consumer-first mindset, even when it might seem that traditional business objectives are at odds with this goal. This episode features three authors of frog’s new Chief Challenges report, ‘The New Rules of Engagement: Unconditionally meeting consumer responsibility.’

Listen to the podcast episode below. You can also find the Design Mind frogcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Episode Transcript:

Design Mind frogcast

Episode 46: Serving the Consumer Unconditionally

Guests: Bhavesh Unadkat, Vice President of Brand and Marketing UK, frog; Kerry Lee, Director of Commerce and Customer Transformation UK, frog; Christopher Baird, Global Head of Loyalty, frog

[00:09] Elizabeth Wood: Welcome to the Design Mind frogcast. Each episode, we go behind the scenes to meet the people designing what’s next in the world of products, services and experiences, both here at frog and far, far outside the pond. I’m Elizabeth Wood.

[00:25] Elizabeth Wood: Today on our show, we’re talking about what it means to serve the consumer unconditionally—even when commercial KPIs might seem at odds with such an ambition. To do this, we’re joined by three of frog’s leading voices on marketing and commerce strategy, especially when it comes to reaching a more conscious consumer base that is more sustainably minded than ever, seeking more relevant, higher quality experiences, and looking to align with brands long-term that share their values. Our guests are Bhavesh Unadkat, Vice President of Brand and Marketing in frog UK, Kerry Lee, Director of Commerce and Customer Transformation in frog UK and Christopher Baird, Global Head of Loyalty at frog. All three of today’s guests contributed to a new frog report that is the latest in our Chief Challenges series. It’s called ‘The New Rules of Engagement: Unconditionally meeting consumer responsibility.’ You’ll find the link to the full report in today’s show notes and we encourage you to dig in.

[01:23] Elizabeth Wood: But first up, you’re going to hear from Bhavesh. Bhavesh has lots of experience working with leading brands on evolving their strategy alongside new tech, new trends and new consumer behaviors. So let’s jump in.

[01:36] Bhavesh Unadkat: I think 2024 needs to be the year where we get smarter, get more sophisticated with what we work on. Less is more—double down on the things that are going to make a big impact. I’m Bhavesh Unadkat, Vice President of Brand, Content and Marketing Services at frog, part of Capgemini Invent.

[01:56] Bhavesh Unadkat: I’m working with a number of brands, especially CMOS, chief marketing officers, on how they deliver 2024. And the key tensions of 2024 are around how do you unlock the value of big disruptions in the market like generative AI and not be left behind? But at the same time, there are big cost pressures and big opportunities that need to be focused around how to take cost out of the business and cost out of the operation.

[02:28] Bhavesh Unadkat: The most important thing is not let generative AI dictate you let generative AI enhance your business strategy and deliver value from it. We’ve all got to take learnings from digital 15 years ago and not to set up siloed digital units in the same way we don’t need to set up siloed generative AI units. Then we’re hearing about marketers saying that over 60% of their spend has already been put into generative AI. And what I’m seeing is there is lots and lots of piloting going on in generative AI, which is great. But, that pilot needs to go into some level of scale and value unlock, because otherwise, you’re going to spend the whole of 2024 just doing more testing and trialing and you haven’t got time for that. So I think that’s really important. And I’m also seeing a number of brands investing in generative AI without really knowing what they’re going to do with it.

[03:21] Bhavesh Unadkat: So again, treat this technology like you would treat any other technology. And be really, really clear about the problem that it’s going to solve. Do not implement the technology for a problem that doesn’t exist. Do not implement this technology at the expense of something else because again we’re seeing that. Do not lose human intervention. Play with it, test it, but be really clear about the datasets that generative AI is learning from—the biases that might come with it. And your human intervention is critical in terms of how you unlock value from this.

[03:54] Elizabeth Wood: During our conversation, Bhavesh broke down the complexities that consumers face in making purchasing decisions that align with their personal values.

[04:04] Bhavesh Unadkat: I think, ultimately, we have to remember who we’re serving, and we’re serving the consumer. And if we put our consumer hats on, we are all full of frustration. We’re full of conflicting messages coming from brands about what’s good and what isn’t good. I still get confused by milk’s not good for you because of milk production and cow production and all of those things. Okay, so I will go and have a milk alternative like almond milk. But then I get told almond milk is not good either because it uses 10 times the water consumption to produce it. Okay, so I’ve moved away from almond milk, I’m now on oat milk. Then I’m told that oat milk is not good for you, either because it contains phytic acid and it contains ingredients that are used in sugary drinks. So now I’m lost. What do I have? I’m having my coffee black and I’m not enjoying it. So I think there’s a big education given the social craziness and the content explosion of mismatching of information, mismatching of need.

[05:06] Bhavesh Unadkat: Then I think there’s the reality of each of our consumers, which are very, very different. Our consumers need convenience, need speed, need empathy, are struggling in the economic climate. And we continue to push more and more of our products and services versus let’s take a step back and let’s think about how we meet our consumer needs more holistically, how we can partner to meet our consumer needs better, how we take more ownership of our planet. And ultimately, that leads to my favorite two words, which is consumer responsibility.

[05:37] Bhavesh Unadkat: What I mean by consumer responsibility is it’s the brand’s responsibility towards their consumer, their citizen. If we just kind of start from the basics of you’ve got to deliver experiences for your consumers, for your customers, for your citizens that are meaningful, that are relevant. And we’ve all been talking about this for years. This is nothing new. There’s a lot of basics that I believe brands are not getting well from delivering experiences, meeting their needs, dealing with things better when they’re let down.

[06:07] Bhavesh Unadkat: And then we think about the next stage, which is okay, so we now own all of this data on our consumers. There’s all of this smart technology that can generate insights and generate recommendations. How are we using that in the most meaningful way to then impact the consumer when they need us and how they need us? So I’m seeing examples of audiences getting ads on products that are maybe more luxury and nice to have when that consumer household is thinking about how they’re going to put food on the table. The flip side of that is I’m seeing brands doing brilliant jobs with the insights and data that they have helping consumers that need their help the most. “I will get groceries on your table and give you a credit to make sure that your kids don’t go hungry.” That’s emotional relationships. That’s brand building that will matter and people will tell many people about and it will drive long-term brand loyalty.

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[07:02] Elizabeth Wood: Along with delivering experiences that are high quality, other parts of meeting consumer responsibilities involve ethics, data privacy and sustainability among others. But, how far a brand is willing to go to satisfy this need for responsibility can be challenged when it comes to bucking business convention.

[07:21] Bhavesh Unadkat: I also think there’s a big, big consumer responsibility when we think about the way data is used, handled and the ethical responsibility, especially as we’re now going to go into worlds that are even more complex, with immersive experiences and generative AI at the heart. Brand-to-brand experiences in the consumer lens. Who is going to be responsible when it all goes pear-shaped?

[07:44] Bhavesh Unadkat: We’re hearing pressure on Google around how some of their AI-generated content is a little bit left-sided. It’s not neutral enough. We’re going to move into a world where people are going to start thinking about how they monetize generative AI and AI tools. How and who is going to be responsible when it goes pear-shaped? And who’s going to be responsible when a consumer has an issue? Already a consumer can’t directly connect to a brand where they feel let down. When you’re in a world of immersion and AI-generated content and machine to machine, who is the consumer going to connect to? ‘What’s the brand responsibility for that consumer’s responsibility?’ is a big area that needs a big focus. I’m seeing brands that are more sophisticated in this space. Going a little bit slower and steady. They’re keeping their cards close to their chest. So I’m working with a number of these brands. And I think it’s the right thing to do.

[08:33] Bhavesh Unadkat: I’m also then seeing more nascent brands where they’re getting a little bit over excited with generative AI and they want to tell the world about everything they’re doing. These are the brands I worry a little bit more about in terms of, have you got the infrastructure in place? Have you got the governance in place? Can you manage the regulation associated with your industry on your consumer responsibility because you’re getting excited with the art of the possible versus the downstream impact on your consumer and your brand?

[09:03] Bhavesh Unadkat: So let’s take some scenarios. So we want to protect the planet, right? Yeah. We want to not run emissions if we don’t need to run emissions, right? Yep. Perfect. Okay, so why don’t we share delivering products to the street between you brands? Why are you all running your own delivery trucks or fulfillment trucks in isolation when we know we have the data and the information to know through these fulfillment providers that these four or five brands are going to do deliveries to the same street? Why don’t we work together on that? It’s too difficult. It’s too complicated. Everyone has a different promise. Everyone has a different commitment. Everyone uses a different supplier. And I think that in itself is a big opportunity for brands to save money: for us to get one delivery as a consumer and for us to protect the planet. So that is one area I probe on.

[09:53] Bhavesh Unadkat: A second area I probe on is okay, now, let’s really test you on your promise to the consumer unconditionally. A consumer has a need, that need might be a specific product need, it might be a convenience need, it might be a price point need, it might be an emergency need of something that’s needed straight away. And guess what? The answer is not your product. You’re owning the relationship and the conversation but the answer is not your product. The answer is a competitor’s product. Are you willing to recommend that competitor’s product knowing it meets your consumers’ needs for that moment? It doesn’t mean they’ll never come back to you, but at that moment in time your competitor’s product meets that need. Are you willing to recommend the competitor’s product? And more often than not, the answer is no. Because we are wired as marketers to sell our brand, our product, our service, sell more of our product, more of our service, more of our brand. And I think there’s more work to be done there.

[10:51] Elizabeth Wood: Okay. So most brands might not be ready to recommend a competitor in the short term even if it means building long-term trust. Still, there are dynamic new models for brand collaboration that can emerge in a truly consumer-first landscape.

[11:06] Bhavesh Unadkat: So this where I think there’s such an opportunity for brand-to-brand collaboration. It’s hard for brands to collaborate with each other in a competitive sphere. But I think it’s easier for brands to collaborate where they don’t necessarily compete with each other, but they have common goals. So, for example, a consumer products company collaborating with a retailer who sells their product, or a consumer health company collaborating with a pharmacy who sells their product. A government organization collaborating with local offices or local councils on how they service that citizens need. So these for me are right for collaboration.

[11:43] Bhavesh Unadkat: Now, the problem you have with these collaborations, because I’ve been in the middle of some of them, is you might have one brand being more open than another brand. You might have one brand trying to drive their own initiative and their own agenda versus another brand. And we’ve played the role, often of intermediary or negotiator for kind of ensuring that we drive the same process. Then you get to the problem of priorities. And they might be up for driving this but then other priorities take over. You might then get to exposure where each brand is only willing to share so much and only willing to open the door so much because they know the mess that’s inside. But for me, there is a big opportunity for brands to collaborate—even at least at a collaboration of non competitiveness—because it will drive better consumer outcomes and better consumer responsibility.

[12:35] Elizabeth Wood: When it comes to evolving an organization alongside consumer needs, Bhavesh stresses the importance of not overlooking the fundamentals.

[12:45] Bhavesh Unadkat: Yeah, so if I think about how brands can be better at delivering consumer responsibility, then I think there’s some of the stuff I’ve already spoken about from getting the basics right. Really think about your processes, your touchpoints how consumers can get ahold of you, and how relevant you’re being to them. We hold a hell of a lot of data on our consumers and our citizens and our customers. Do we use it? Do we need it? Do we understand the cost of owning it? Do we understand the carbon impact of processing it on a daily basis on an hourly basis on a minute-ly basis that I see in some brands? No. So let’s strip it back into what do I need to know about my consumer? What have they given me transparently? How am I using it? And if they ever asked for it, which they’re allowed to do through GDPR, can I easily give it back to them? And again, I’m seeing a number of brands that can’t even deliver within the recommended timeframe the amount of data that they hold on the consumer. Now let’s start thinking about how we can be a bit more sophisticated and a bit more innovative and a bit more creative, to try and reach our version of the consumer promise that we’re making the responsibility towards the consumer that we’re making around how we will serve them unconditionally. So this, for me is basics—brilliant basics—and there’s a job to be done.

[14:07] Elizabeth Wood: Next up, you’re going to hear from Kerry Lee, Director of Commerce and Customer Transformation, also based in frog UK. For Kerry, a consumer-first mindset is essential for making marketing and commerce experiences that resonate long-term.

[14:22] Kerry Lee: For brands to be successful, they need to ensure that they’re developing a really strong bond with their consumers, and the consumers will come to them first and foremost. Hi, I’m Kerry Lee. I’m the Director of Commerce at frog UK.

[14:38] Kerry Lee: frog has to work with clients very frequently, helping them understand who the customer is, but then also what journey that customer currently experiences, but then also what that journey should look like. So actually, how can they, as a brand or organization, improve the customer experience at all touchpoints across that journey? And I think lots of brands may well have an understanding of who they currently work with and of their current customer base. But there’s not many that have a very good handle on who their future consumer is, what experience that future consumer is going to be demanding from them and then how they can actually deliver against that future experience. I think a lot of people live in the here and now and look at the current set of consumers that they have. And some people do that very well. But we find less frequently brands are able to articulate their future consumer and how potentially their existing consumer is going to change or morph, and their demands and expectations are also going to change and morph.

[15:43] Elizabeth Wood: Even unpacking that here and now means accepting that consumers already have complex demands. From work with clients and through research, Kerry and her team have identified four key drivers for ongoing change.

[15:56] Kerry Lee: Looking at the broader consumer environment and landscape at the moment there, we think there are probably four key drivers. And they’re not really trends—we don’t think they’re going away. But these four key drivers are mainly around things that actually enhance their overall lifestyle.

[16:13] Kerry Lee: So we think consumers at the moment are very influenced by brands that can personalize and be relevant to them. They’re all seeking convenience. So actually, make my life easy, make it simple, help me actually have a better life every day. They’re looking for brands that really understand them. And that represents the things that they feel that they stand for. So brands that have a specific purpose that they feel that they can align to. So whether that be sustainability, whether it be community, whether it be something around the environment and ecology broadly, individuals are very much flocking towards brands that represent that for them.

[16:47] Kerry Lee: And then I think the last thing that there is sort of an expectation from brands and organizations is that consumers need to feel inspired as well and educated. And so now we’re seeing brands and organizations as part of that sort of inspirational and educational activity that happens for them. As commerce evolves, and as marketing evolves, we need to be able to deal more effectively with our consumers.

[17:09] Kerry Lee: Where we’ve seen organizations go wrong is thinking that technology can solve everything. And actually, it’s not just about picking the technology. It’s about really understanding how that technology is going to help your customer. But then also how you can embed that in the organization, too. So, having a really solid understanding of what you’re trying to achieve with that, how it benefits the customer. And then, ultimately, how you can get your organization to understand that and then utilize the technology in the right way. We’ve seen a lot of money thrown at solutions that don’t get adopted and we’ve seen lots of solutions that are implemented but just don’t quite meet that customer need. And so they never ever deliver on the promise that the technology has. So I would say, start with a customer. And make sure you really understand the benefit and the value that it will have to your end customer. And then consider how you can start to ensure that your whole organization understands that. So we’ll also embrace the technology and utilize it in order to be able to deliver that benefit to your end user.

[18:18] Elizabeth Wood: Along with tech advances, models for ways of working are also shifting at a rapid pace, contributing to these new rules of engagement between brand and consumer.

[18:28] Kerry Lee: Lots of brands at the moment are obviously looking at partnerships, whether that be with retailers or with other brands, that enable them to have a broad set of products or services, and talk and engage on slightly different levels. And this is seemingly happening across all sorts of industry sectors where people are starting to connect more with like-minded brands that have similar audiences to actually provide new, different and more engaging solutions for their customers.

[18:57] Kerry Lee: Particularly from a commerce perspective, we see that there is a tension between the requirements for the business—to sell more, to be more profitable—and actually what the consumer really wants. Achieving that balancing act in your day to day life is the hard piece. And I think brands who do it well tend to have customer at the heart of the organization. And so operationally you’re set up so that every single person across the entire customer journey has a view of who that customer is, and knows exactly what they’re doing to be able to ensure that they’re meeting those needs. And then the organization has a culture that champions the customer and sometimes makes difficult decisions when it comes to whether to act on behalf of the customer, or whether to act in the interest of the business. And I think by having the ability and having the governance of framework set up within an organization to be able to take those decisions to a level where people can make them. So something that might impact the overall business performance versus what will impact the consumer is one thing.

[20:03] Kerry Lee: I think the other big common thing that we’re seeing with brands that are really truly consumer-first is that they have a lens on the customer, which is all about the lifetime value. It’s not about making short-term tactical wins and selling them something that perhaps they don’t need in the short term. It’s about looking at the overall trust and experience and the engagement and the connection that they have with the brand, and making decisions based on that longer term view, rather than on the shorter term view of “We just need to hit our budgets next week.”

[20:36] Elizabeth Wood: As a commerce expert, Kerry has seen the rapid transformation of shopping experiences over time. She has some advice for brands who want to stay ahead in a domain that is in a state of near-constant change.

[20:49] Kerry Lee: Commerce has been changing and morphing over the past, like, 20, 30, 40 years. And so the traditional view of commerce was obviously high street shops and bricks and mortar. And then obviously, we saw the evolution and the growth of digital. And so with digital, it was initially websites. And now we’ve started to see more of an ecosystem play where marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are springing up, and you’re having peer-to-peer solutions where people are selling new products and services. I think commerce, like even recently, quick commerce, which is that ability to deliver in a very short period of time, and then social commerce, so the ability to actually buy when you’re shopping–all of these things are where commerce will move on and evolve. I think where we’re seeing or where we’re feeling that this is going to go is that in the future commerce will continue to be across multiple channels. And actually, there’s probably going to continue to be a proliferation of the ways that you can buy and where you can shop.

[21:49] Kerry Lee: But where we think that things may change is that commerce will be very much driven by consumption. And so brands will need to understand how and when you consume their products and be able to predict your needs. So as opposed to me actively seeking out to go and buy something, I want brands to come and tell me when I need things. And particularly with the brands that you have a relationship with that they’ll potentially use on a very regular basis, most consumers will probably actually give the brands the right to be able to do that for you. So the future of commerce and where we see that going is this continued proliferation of channels, but more of a consumption-driven commerce activity where that consumption data and predictive analytics is going to drive and support consumers and actually notify them when they need products and they need services and remind them and automatically order things for them when it runs out. So making your life simpler, more convenient and easier.

[22:55] Kerry Lee: For brands that are higher consideration or higher value, we really believe that actually, instead of having to bounce around lots and lots of different sites and look at reviews, and then talk to your friends about what a particular brand or product or services is like, the brands that are going to win are the ones that are able to actually bring together all the information that you need as a consumer to make a confident decision. So be able to pull information around peer reviews and what other people think, to be able to pull the expert reviews from various different sites, to be able to give you all the information that you need around your product, where it was sourced from like a little bit about the provenance of it all in one place, so that you can make those decisions about which car to buy or what watch to buy really, really simply.

[23:44] Elizabeth Wood: Like Bhavesh, Kerry recommends a bit of a back-to-basics approach to getting new brand experiences right.

[23:50] Kerry Lee: Particularly in the augmented reality space, some of the new tools and the new technology there. And it’s really enabling consumers to get a level of confidence and an online purchase that previously, they wouldn’t have had. And so enabling them to make the decision to buy online rather than have to go to a store to try something on. I think that’s a really interesting space.

[24:14] Kerry Lee: It does come back to getting those basics right. And then how you can augment that experience and really provide solutions that give people the confidence to be able to make a purchase, and make them feel like they understand the product enough to be able to click a button and buy it.

[24:30] Kerry Lee: Brands that act on behalf of the consumer as opposed to acting in their own interests will be the ones that will be able to engender that trust, and then have the capability to continue to engage with that consumer in a more automatic way.

[24:44] Elizabeth Wood: Finally, you’re going to hear from Christopher Baird, Global Head of Loyalty at frog. Christopher is passionate about changing perspectives on what loyalty should feel like for consumers and what opportunities it can unlock for organizations working to extend customer lifetime value.

[25:01] Christopher Baird: The primary impact that I’m looking to make is to have people rethink and to reframe what loyalty is actually all about—getting them to move away from plastic cards and points to something which is much more human, is much more emotional, is much more connected. My name is Christopher Baird. I head up frog’s global offering around the future of membership and loyalty.

[25:24] Christopher Baird: I’ve found that children are actually a great source of inspiration for me, whether that’s, you know, speaking to my nephews or children of friends, because they’re really good at asking why. And sometimes, you know, the answers to why aren’t always so obvious. And I think that applies in the work that we do as well. It’s not obvious as to why something is a certain way. And actually, more importantly, why couldn’t it be different in the future? And I think that really drives a lot of the things that I love to do.

[25:53] Elizabeth Wood: In his role at frog, Christopher spends a lot of time thinking about the ways loyalty can drive consumer responsibility initiatives forward.

[26:02] Christopher Baird: Traditionally, the purpose of loyalty was to get people to buy more stuff. And a personal experience of mine, I remember being in a store where something was an offer, let’s say it was buy one, get one free and it worked out cheaper to take both of the items. But I didn’t need both of the items knowing that the second one would ultimately go to waste. But I remember getting a strange look from the person at the checkout because the obvious choice was to take the offer, to take the free item. But I think that was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me on the things that some of these organizations are trying to do is making consumers consume more, even if it’s something that they don’t need.

[26:43] Christopher Baird: And I’ve tried to take that forward in the work that I do around loyalty where consumer responsibility, you know, needs to be about supporting customers to make decisions that they feel comfortable with, and which they’re happy, aren’t going to be negatively impacting the world or their society. But there’s an onus on the brand and the organization to actually do a bit more themselves. And I think we don’t quite see that yet. We hear a lot about consumers need to change their habits, consumers need to do something differently. But actually the role of the organization in helping them to do that, whether that’s giving them options, helping them understand the choices that they’re making, and the decisions that they’re making. And I think loyalty has a really interesting part to play in the future—moving away from making customers buy more stuff to helping customers buy more consciously or engage more consciously.

[27:37] Elizabeth Wood: Still, Christopher acknowledges there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to turning organizations or individuals into perfectly responsible businesses, consumers and citizens. It takes commitment over time—and support along the way.

[27:52] Christopher Baird: It is really hard to be a consumer and to feel that with every single thing that you do, whether that’s engagement, or it’s making a purchase, it is really difficult to feel that you are making every perfect decision along the way. It can feel as if a lot of the pressure is on the individual consumer to be more responsible. People are constantly told not to buy this thing because of one reason and not to buy an alternative because of a different reason. And there’s so many facets to that, whether it’s around health, you know, the product quality, ethical manufacturing, and sourcing, carbon emissions, all of these things, even forgetting about ‘Do I actually like this product?’

[28:33] Christopher Baird: So it’s really around how can brands provide more support, more information about the products in order for customers to feel that they are really making a decision that fits with their own beliefs, their values and their current circumstances? We need to acknowledge that not all consumers are in a position to suddenly switch to being more ethical or more responsible in their purchasing behaviors. There are a whole bunch of different factors that will play into people’s decision making, whether that’s cost of living, whether it’s access to information or to digital products. And brands need to make sure that those people aren’t forgotten, that they’re not left behind. Otherwise, you know, we do risk creating a gap in society. And whilst it’s great and we want to be able to encourage consumers to do more, and to behave a bit more responsibly, we also need to understand that it isn’t going to happen overnight. And we also need to cater for different customers who have different needs and are in different circumstances.

[29:34] Elizabeth Wood: Of course, there is also no one way to understand loyalty. During our conversation, Christopher shared a few lenses through which to view what might make someone loyal.

[29:46] Christopher Baird: When we talk about rational loyalty, that’s probably the more traditional thing that you think about when you say the word loyalty. It’s “What is the product? And do I like it enough to buy it again, or to engage with the service again?” Price is a really fundamental factor that no matter how good experiences are, price for the majority of people will still play a big part in their decision making. Convenience in a lot of industries is another primary driver. How difficult is it for me to actually achieve the outcome that I want? And is it going to be valuable for me to do that?

[30:21] Christopher Baird: So those are all quite fundamental, rational elements which drive loyalty. And those are really kind of the founding components that loyalty as we know it has been built on. But over the last many years, that’s been extended out into emotional loyalty, like I said, where things like simplicity have come into play. Consumers aren’t actually wanting a whole lot of choice because that’s what’s making things complex. It’s not actually making things easier. Personalization, obviously, has been a big topic for many, many years. And really now with some of the newer technologies that are coming out, brands are able to do that much more efficiently and much more accurately. Things like storytelling, connections to real life people and their experiences with a brand or a product or service are also really good ways of driving emotional loyalty. It isn’t just the brand saying how good something is, it’s people that consumers can relate to as advocates for the brand itself.

[31:16] Christopher Baird: But when we then extend that out to the third lens around purposeful loyalty, that’s where things like society and community come into play. And we’ve seen a few different brands starting to dabble into this. So when a consumer makes a purchase, how can that contribute to local initiatives in their neighborhood that are very relevant to them, their families and friends who live in that particular space? How can I be confident as a consumer that the purchase that I’m making is going to be positive, or at least it’s not going to have a negative impact on planet and climate? Is there much more of a social purpose and a social movement that stands behind something? So that could be a fitness brand where, you know, the outcome that they want to drive is more engagement with their channels and their technology and apps, but actually, there’s a social movement behind that, which is all around getting people active, making them feel empowered to get back into spaces like gyms where maybe they feel uncomfortable or they don’t feel that they belong. And how you can connect those things together for people to be loyal not only to the fitness brand, but also to themselves and their future health. So there’s some really interesting things that come out when you start talking about purposeful loyalty.

[32:31] Christopher Baird: The employee is often unfortunately a forgotten part of customer experience and loyalty. And on the flip side, so many customer experiences are driven or they’re made, or they’re, unfortunately, made worse by the experience they have with employees, whether that’s within a store or a branch, or dealing with customer service. And almost always, that’s not down to the employee themselves. That’s because they haven’t been given the right tools, the right knowledge or the right empowerment to be able to have a customer-first mindset. You know, they may have their own internal capability structures and their own KPIs that they’re measured on, which are totally unrelated to the customer experience. And so it’s maybe obvious that the employee would behave in such a way to meet those KPIs. And that’s where the notion of being customer-first has to then also be true for the employees. And the way that they’re engaged has to support their ability to do that.

[33:22] Christopher Baird: I think we also need to understand and remember the employees are customers themselves. They’re consumers themselves. And if they don’t necessarily believe in what an organization is doing, you know, they’re not necessarily going to spread that word to the customers that they’re interacting with.

[33:48] Elizabeth Wood: Ultimately, thinking of loyalty as a membership experience could be the path toward continuously nurturing customers in order to understand, anticipate and design for their needs in the future.

[34:00] Christopher Baird: Loyalty has to be earned. For many consumers, in order for them to continue engaging with or buying from a particular brand, they want their first experience to be great. And if it isn’t, or if at least it doesn’t meet their expectations, there’s a pretty good chance that they might not come back and they will look for competitors.

[34:24] Christopher Baird: Growth is something which, when you look at loyalty beyond just a program, can absolutely be enabled. You know, this is the membership experience as a golden thread throughout everything that an organization does. You can launch new products and services with a highly engaged group of people, you’ve got a much richer and much more connected data set, because you’ve been able to see which customers are engaging with your brand across different channels. And you can then use that in your communication, in your targeting and segmentation, in the language and the tone of voice that you use for certain interactions.

[35:00] Christopher Baird: In order to change what you’re doing now, you actually need to start by trying to look into the future and ask yourself, if you had a magic wand, what would you want people to be doing? And how would you want those people to behave? And from a loyalty standpoint, that’s really your starting point for driving the change. Nobody has a crystal ball. But where you are able to do that and start to glean some insights on what could be, you can then actually start to work on what should be right now.

[35:30] Elizabeth Wood: That’s our show. The Design Mind frogcast was brought to you by frog, a leading global creative consultancy that is part of Capgemini Invent. Check today’s show notes for transcripts and more from our conversation. We really want to thank our guests Bhavesh Unadkat, Vice President of Brand and Marketing in frog UK, Kerry Lee, Director of Commerce and Customer Transformation, also in frog UK and Christopher Baird, Global Head of Loyalty for frog, also based in frog UK. All three of our guests helped author our new frog report ‘The New Rules of Engagement: Unconditionally meeting consumer responsibility.’ Check today’s show notes for the link.

[36:11] Elizabeth Wood: We also want to thank you, dear listener. If you like what you heard, tell your friends. Rate and review to help others find us on Apple Podcasts and  Spotify . And be sure to follow us wherever you listen to podcasts. Find lots more to think about from our global frog team at That’s Follow frog on Twitter at @frogdesign and @frog_design on Instagram. And if you have any thoughts about the show, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out at Thanks for listening. Now go make your mark.

Elizabeth Wood
Host, Design Mind frogcast & Editorial Director, frog Global Marketing
Elizabeth Wood
Elizabeth Wood
Host, Design Mind frogcast & Editorial Director, frog Global Marketing

Elizabeth tells design stories for frog. She first joined the New York studio in 2011, working on multidisciplinary teams to design award-winning products and services. Today, Elizabeth works out of the London studio on the global frog marketing team, leading editorial content.

She has written and edited hundreds of articles about design and technology, and has given talks on the role of content in a weird, digital world. Her work has been published in The Content Strategist, UNDO-Ordinary magazine and the book Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America (Bogotá International Press).

Previously, Elizabeth was Communications Manager for UN OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian Data in The Hague. She is a graduate of the Master’s Programme for Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Audio Production byLizard Media

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