Loyalty Magazine Awards get set to launch for 2022 event
A new challenge is facing the world’s governments – how to persuade people to get vaccinated. Shouldn’t they be taking some lessons from the loyalty business?
In Australia, the UK, France, Germany, India and across the world, there is discussion about what incentives will work to persuade people, especially young adults, to get the Covid vaccine.
In some environments, there is fear of side effects (Australia). In others there is misinformation (the United States), and everywhere, there is a great deal of apathy. The argument seems to be from young people that as they don’t get the illness too badly, why bother?
Various companies are getting involved – including Uber and fast food chains – to be the incentivising device. Some governments are considering a straightforward monetary bribe. Others are trying to be more subtle, and using the stick as well as the carrot. This equates to a warning that people can’t go to bars and cafes (France) or to large events (many countries) unless they can prove they are double vaccinated.
So what can the loyalty business offer as learnings in this environment? What have we learned over the past 30 years about what works and what doesn’t when trying to persuade people to either change their behaviour or show loyalty to something? In the covid example, this means to demonstrate their loyalty and support to society by getting vaccinated, obeying the rules generally and by encouraging others to get vaccinated.
First lesson from loyalty is that the reward/incentive has to matter. If the value of the reward is so low that it isn’t worth the effort, then it won’t work. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be monetary. Many fitness apps employ loyalty in a very successful way by offering badges, various levels of attainment, even a virtual high five, if someone completes a certain distance or number of lessons.
A very successful way to incentivise people is to get peers to push a certain behaviour – to get them to be your advocates. This would necessitate governments getting out of their ivory towers, and communicating to young people on their channels of choice (social media) and in the language they are comfortable with. It would involve gaining the help of influencers and admired personalities of media, music and sport to recommend the required behaviour. A good example of how powerful this can be is footballer Marcus Rashford who was instrumental in gaining help for struggling families by using his social media feed on Twitter.
Other lessons from loyalty include the need for honesty, credibility and lack of bias. Young people – and consumers in general – are very good at realising when they are being used, and equally good at making their own decisions in the absence of a compelling argument. Now unfortunately, in the absence of a strong argument in favour of one course of action (covid vaccination) they are also open to argument from opposing factions, and will read misinformation, so here the role of scientists and other independent sources is crucial.
Should governments incentivise people to vaccinate with free taxi rides, takeaways and even cash? Good question. Possibly it would be better to convince people with strong SM messages and by getting out into the community to talk to people in their own environments, especially in those areas where even mainstream social media fails to connect. Politicians seem to take to this course of action easily when there is an election pending. Possibly more work on the ground is needed for Covid vaccination.
Loyalty only works when consumers engage with the proposition, and over the past 18 months, their behaviour, preferences and way of life has changed beyond all recognition. This means those communicating – and marketing to them – have to change too.
The loyalty business has been extremely busy during this period of change, ramping up back office systems and working to connect the various departments of a business ready to launch a new wave of loyalty initiatives. There is much on the horizon.
Loyalty Magazine is really looking forward to receiving a raft of really innovative entries for the 2022 Loyalty Magazine Awards when we launch in October. We wish you good luck if you are entering. More information coming soon.