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The initiative: Lancôme Elite Rewards
In a nutshell: Lancôme, the luxury maker of cosmetics, skincare and fragrances including Poême, is versing itself in social media loyalty. The French beauty brand on April 21 launched a social media-heavy program, Elite Rewards, which rewards members for their social media engagement and purchases. The program is free and offers various reward earning levels based on activity. Rewards, once earned, can be redeemed for Lancôme products or for soft rewards such as spa treatments.
Features: Members of Elite Rewards earn 10 points for every $1 they spend in a store or online, but the real earnings are in social engagement. Every time members connect with Lancôme on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Foursquare, they earn 50 points. In addition:
• Members get 25 points every time they share a product on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
• Members can earn points for activities like watching online beauty tutorials or just visiting Lancome.com
• Members can redeem their points for Lancôme products, or for special services and events such as private beauty consultations, all-inclusive spa visits, and admission to New York’s Fashion Week, among others.
• Each member gets an online dashboard on Lancôme’s U.S. website to track and manage points.
The Takeaways: Lancôme is operated by beauty giant L’Oreal, and its Elite Rewards program may be guided by L’Oreal’s own loyalty endeavors. The company operates the Gold Rewards consumer loyalty program and Elite Loyalty, a program for professional salon operators. Lancôme said it analyzed seven years of customer data to determine the value of interaction at every customer touch point.
That kind of lead-time should ensure a pretty snappy launch. But Lancôme Elite is not yet complete. For example, Elite Rewards mobile apps are not expected until later this year. The program is launching on desktops and tablets alone for now.
Some other takeaways:
• Despite its social media emphasis, Lancôme Elite requires members to create their own profile, and does not offer the option to sign in through Facebook or other social media channel. This may be to ensure the company gets the data it requires for effective messaging, which may not be information available on Facebook. Requirements for enrollment are birthdate, email address and postal code. Once registered, members can earn 25 additional points for giving their phone number.
• A big challenge for consumer packaged good makers is determining how the customer is shopping across retailers and channels and then augmenting those self-reported purchases with social media activity to round out the brand experience and recognize their most-active customers. There is little net new in terms of technology here but it has been put together to recognize how important word of mouth is in this category.
• Determining how to put a value on social interactions is difficult, but L’Oreal has either successfully mapped this out or foundationally understands the importance of capturing this kind of data. Structuring a loyalty program to connect all the dots in this manner makes good business sense if the brand believes consumer insights and understanding are pivotal to building a superior experience through relevant conversations. I like the way this program sets it up to do this.
• Traditionally cosmetics (and apparel) marketers have not had a direct relationship with their customers – they worked through and were at the mercy of the retail channel. Programs like Elite Rewards are an attempt to capture customer data and establish a direct relationship with customers. Similar loyalty efforts are underway with other consumer packaged good brands, including Kellogg’s (Family Rewards) and Johnson & Johnson (Healthy Essentials).
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