#LEAwards 2020 highlight: Prudential ascends loyalty chart with programme refresh

Loyal customers of Prudential might be familiar with its former loyalty programme PRUprestige, which was launched in 2005. The programme was designed exclusively for its highly valued customers but after more than a decade, it was time for a revamp and the company revamped it to Ascend by Prudential. This refresh was a success for the insurer and saw it taking home the bronze award for the "Best Loyalty Programme – Financial and Insurance" category at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's recent Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.

Challenge

Prudential received feedback from its consumers and financial consultants that PRUprestige was no longer keeping pace with customer needs or marketplace expectations. Some of the challenges it faced with its PRUprestige included lack of exclusivity as the qualifying criteria was not tough to meet, lack of differentiation of customers' level of premium contribution, low engagement with the programme, tedious log-in process, as well as being environmentally unfriendly. This was because customers were still required to print their email vouchers for redemption.

To address these challenges, it mapped out business and programme objectives it wanted to achieve. They included increase customer satisfaction and brand affinity measures, increase products per customer, and grow customer participation in the activities and opportunities.

Strategy

To kickstart the programme revamp, Prudential outlined three key parts of the journey - insights gathering, the brief, and review and development.

1. Insights gathering

It listened to what consumers were talking about and conducted focus groups with agency leaders and financial consultants to gain on-ground insights with frontliners. It also made sure to clearly point out who it was revamping the programme for. To enable the feeling of prestige and recognition, Prudential knew it had to set the bar higher for its target audience of the revamped programme - its affluent customer base.

2. The brief

The brief comprised of establishing Prudential's loyalty architecture; benchmarking against best-in-class loyalty programmes in the financial sector; developing a renewed affluent segment strategy and transform the programme into one that exemplifies exclusivity; and creating an activation and implementation strategy for the newly revamped affluent proposition.

3. Review and development

Prudential made the decision to rename the programme to Ascend by Prudential to bring new life to its loyalty programme. The new and personalised programme had a clear proposition to recognise its affluent customers' drive to succeed.

Additionally, the team had to rethink the usual loyalty programme, ensuring that it was customer-centric. It believed that the revamped Ascend by Prudential programme was more than just a new name and logo. Instead, it is a new approach for loyalty that takes into consideration the customer journey. Together with its loyalty platform build partner, Market Bridge, it looked at developing a loyalty platform that would address the challenges it was facing earlier.

At the same time, Prudential also understood that its customers valued content that was relevant to them. The newly revamped programme also includes insights which were purposefully developed content for its affluent base. The pieces were hosted on its website and were proactively sent to the target audience through its quarterly e-newsletter. The topics included wellness, parenthood, investments, career and retirement.

Execution

Ascend by Prudential took five months to reach fruition and the journey included strategy development and approval, programme proposition and brand identity development, as well as content development. To support the revamp, it had to ensure that it had the buy-in of everyone who will see, interact with and speak of the brand. These individuals included Prudential staff, frontliners, agency distribution and customers. The company made sure to inform, educate and engage these key groups.

For Prudential employees and partners, for example, the insurer sent an email via its official channel informing about the change from PRUprestige to Ascend by Prudential. It also provided a clear guide on the new tagging in its customer data base for the target audience group. Meanwhile on the education aspect, training was provided for the customer management team to handle queries and process priority services. Its business development managers were also provided training on the new proposition so they can aptly address questions that any of its financial consultants may have on the new programme.

It also created a new email inbox for Ascend for customer queries pertaining to the programme and any of its offerings. According to Prudential, this channel allowed the company to attend to customer needs quickly with regards to the loyalty programme. It also conducted quarterly voice of customer surveys to identify gaps and areas for improvements.

Results

The revamp exercise was a great example of collaboration across the various divisions within Prudential, from the executive to management levels. The quarterly customer surveys will enable the brand to keep its ears close to the ground and create an overall culture of delivering customer-centric programmes.