With food on the stove, work emails buzzing on my phone, and hungry kids waiting I managed to notice it. There, sitting on a Cheez-It box is a tiny white logo on the top right that says, “Kellogg’s My Family Rewards.” Curiously, it’s the only mention of the program on the package; the loyalty marketer and mom in me decided to learn more.
The business point of view
The program’s press release says, “The Kellogg Co. has launched a Family Rewards program that will allow you to enter a sweepstakes and build up points for rewards, including discounts, toys, books, apparel, sports equipment, gift cards and a chance to win free groceries.” The program rationale includes the fact Kellogg products are in 93 percent of all homes, and to participate, you enter package codes on the website.
Consumer product goods (CPG) loyalty programs are not new in concept. The Coca-Cola Co. started My Coke Rewards in 2006. Pampers Gifts to Grow launched in 2008 and Huggies followed in 2009. But what is emerging now is the proliferation of a new breed of “family of products” whole-house CPG rewards.
For example, also new to the market is Unilever’s recent test. In October, Unilever announced a digital rewards program test using SavingStar coupons through Thanksgiving. Loyalty 360 reported this as a major entrance into loyalty for Unilever’s “10,000 food and personal care products.” The program connected more than 100 major retailers nationwide and allowed consumers to accumulate rewards across multiple shopping trips. This first rewards attempt must have went well for Unilever, because a Google search for “Unilever rewards” yields a web address that says “coming soon.”
By whole-housing CPG rewards, marketers have super-sized the usual benefits and drawbacks of rewards programs. Some of the benefits marketers get are:
• More of your purchase data and store shopper data (as in Unilever example)
• More opportunities to win new consumers
• The benefits of you sharing virally
• Product cross-sell opportunities
• More brand loyalty and stickiness
• Warding off of increased threats from generic brands from buy-in-bulk options online and from warehouse clubs
The consumer point of view
What does the consumer get? Let’s take the journey. What does “Family Rewards” mean exactly on the Cheez-It box? What are the rewards? There’s no QR code or mobile bar code scan option on the box. Do I have other Kellogg’s products in my cabinet? There are no answers on the Cheez-It box. There was no signage at point of sale. Then again, busy families with kids in carts are not great readers in the aisle, anyway.
At KelloggsFamilyRewards.com there is a fast scrolling homepage that overwhelms with participating brands, steps to earn and redeem points, and multiple seasonal promotions. Partner logos line the bottom of the homepage, but you only learn those partners offer program rewards when visiting the rewards page.
When I visited the site a side bar said, “double coated chicken.” The recipe seemed out of place until I located the small type that said the recipe yields 80 rewards points via all of the ingredients. The participating brands page said there were 11 brand categories, from baking to cereal to snack bars. The snack bars category had 44 products spanning four webpages. You’ll need a manual to keep track of all the brands.
A better example of whole-housing CPG rewards is General Mills’ whole-house “Box Tops for Education” program that has ritualized the simplicity of collecting box tops and tied a clear reward to the whole family participating.
This is not the experience with the Kellogg’s program. The online questionnaire to join is extensive. Entering a code is not easy. There is no mobile app or mobile optimized website. Kellogg’s instructs you to look inside the box, but the code is nowhere to be found.
Finding the win-win for Kellogg’s and the consumer
The bottom line is that Kellogg’s needs to clarify the rewards-participation benefit, and simplify finding and redeeming the brands and codes. The offer, branding, and means of participating all need refinement. “Family Rewards” as an offer has no clear meaning or benefit. There is no tagline and the logo is an illustration of a family.
A deeper look at the website shows that the rewards enrich the family experience through coveted video games and vacation-related options. This notion of enriching the family experience through everyday products needs to be more clearly communicated and all branding elements need to be simplified. What’s more, the website homepage has no headline or program positioning and participating in the program is difficult. And finally, the currency is too complicated. There is no easy calculation or tracking for families and kids.
Simply put it’s just not user-friendly enough for busy moms who will have no patience to sit and sort the program out.
The good news is that families would likely love the Kellogg’s program if they understood it or could participate easily. There is opportunity for all involved. And therein lies the simple insight for Kellogg’s to re-address: Families are busy. (That’s why families like mine buy frozen waffles and ready-made snack bars.)
If Kellogg’s can find a way to clearly communicate the goals of the Family Rewards program, it’d be a win-win for all involved.
What’s the best CPG rewards programs that you’ve found?