Expert Insight: Building A Loyal Community Around A Brand's Values
PSFK sits down with Matt Blonder of Reebok to discover how the fitness brand is fostering connections among its most loyal fans through its Unlocked program, integrating into consumers' everyday lifestyles
- Reebok Unlocked is a loyalty program that rewards dedicated shoppers and aims to build a community centered around fitness. Matt Blonder is Reebok's Vice President, Marketing and Digital Brand Commerce.
- Consumers want to feel connected with their favorite brands and with similar people, and Reebok is betting that this loyalty program will drive that process—even if it's outside of the traditional purchase path.
- Unlocked rewards its users for online actions, but also for in-store interactions, like attending branded events.
PSFK: Describe Unlocked. What were your goals for the program?
Matt Blonder: Unlocked is a loyalty program designed to create an ongoing connected conversation between Reebok and its most loyal consumers. The intention of the program is to reward our consumers as well as enable them in their pursuits of living a fit and active lifestyle.
The intention was to add a creative value to the consumer's life and help open a world that might not otherwise have been available to them with ease in their pursuit of living that life. The benefits and the value that we're trying to deliver at times sit far outside the Reebok product itself. In doing so, we believe we can create a much more authentic and robust conversation between our brand and our consumer.
How did you build a consumer‑first program? What insights did you gather about consumer needs?
We spent a lot of time talking to the consumer, both the training community and the non‑training community. We had a series of hypotheses, but rather than run with those hypotheses without testing them, we took the time to talk and to listen.
We found that a good number of our hypotheses proved out to be true, but there were certain ones that proved to be untrue. Through the listening, we pivoted in some cases, or we doubled down in other cases. For us, it was very much about using direct feedback, both qualitative and quantitative, to build the program itself.
How does the loyalty program manifest both online and offline?
We're still building out the foundation of the program. Consumers can earn points in the current state in order to move up the value chain and unlock new and exciting benefits both online and offline. Through purchasing in stores, attendance at events, leaving ratings and reviews online, social mentions and sharing, the uploading of user‑generated content, all of these touch points allow the consumer to unlock more and more benefits.
What's the ultimate goal of building this Reebok-centric community?
We will foster connectivity between our training community and our non‑training community. At the end of the day, that has nothing to do with Reebok and has everything to do with them. As a consumer who's in the non‑training community establishes his or her fitness goals, Reebok will allow him or her to tap into the training community to make meaningful connections that help her to achieve those fitness goals.
In the future state, my vision is to help folks find local trainers who are vetted and approved by Reebok through a variety of mechanisms, and who have specialties in the area of focus that I'm looking to work on.
It sounds like this actually runs parallel to the purchase path, building community around it.
Ultimately, that's the goal. I want our consumer to look at Reebok as our aspiration, which is to be the best fitness brand in the world. Being a great fitness brand is not just about making great products. Our job is to equip and inspire a fit and healthy and active lifestyle.
Making those connections, doing it authentically and really meaningfully, I believe fundamentally is critical to achieving that aspiration. It really isn't about, at the end of the day, always selling products to people.
Lead image: Reebok