By Mary Hines Droesch
Managing Director, Benefits, New Product Development & Global Rewards, Citi

Over the past few years, we have witnessed an evolution within the digital landscape that has fundamentally changed the paradigm of how and where customers interact with Citi’s products and services, and particularly, Citi’s rewards program. This is why we’ve reexamined and reinvented our global approach to Citi’s ThankYou Rewards program, and why I’ll be sharing that journey at my upcoming session at &THEN.

Our goal for Citi’s rewards program is simple: to be the preeminent loyalty program within the industry for consumers across the globe, whether they are in Boston one day or Bahrain the next. And we go to great lengths to accomplish this through offering rewards that fit the needs and desires of our broad customer base and offering innovative new ways and means to redeem.

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers across the globe want to engage with brands in a meaningful way, and do so seamlessly. Increasingly, they’re engaging on their mobile devices and there’s an opportunity for brands to meet them there and interact in a way that is frictionless, tailored and intuitive. Today, 43 percent of consumers worldwide own a smartphone, according to recent research by the Pew Research Center. With this ability to interact with anything, anytime, anywhere, customers have a heightened expectation of how they want to interact with their loyalty program and it’s up to us to meet and exceed this expectation. For example, we’ve worked fast and furiously to ensure that ThankYou emails and the digital catalog are mobile-optimized for smartphone consumption. This omnichannel approach has been crucial for sustained engagement.

Over the past few years, Citi has heightened our investment in learning about customers’ preferences and continuously modified the experience to suit their needs — engaging consumers in an array of markets through a consistent, yet personalized, platform. As we build out Citi’s rewards program globally (last year alone, we launched in Australia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), we want to ensure we’re curating a collection that’s both practical and aspirational. As you can imagine, there are layers of complexities to personalizing the customer experience. What’s considered “personalized” in one market isn’t in another. So, as I’ll explain to my audience on Monday, we’ve learned to very quickly adapt across geographies.

By working with teams on the ground who are intimately familiar with a region’s culture and what’s meaningful in that particular geography, we’ve customized our offerings. For example, members in Hong Kong can redeem their points for mooncakes; in Singapore, members have an option to redeem for Dried Bird’s Nest with Stewpot. Providing a differentiated, yet remarkable, experience in all of our markets is crucial and we can only do this effectively if we engage on a local scale.

Within the complex global business landscape, providing relevance to consumers isn’t just smart – it’s a matter of survival – and at Citi, the challenge of continuously evolving is an exciting one, and we’re committed to making sure we remain relevant and offer the best customer experience to our members no matter where they are in the world.