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Virgin Launches Cross-industry Loyalty App

Tim Maytom

virgin red app
Virgin Group UK has launched a mobile-first cross-industry loyalty programme aimed at connecting customers across its diverse licenced businesses to offer added value to loyal consumers and cross-promote the various Virgin brands.

The app, Virgin Red, is free on iOS and Android, and members can earn points by connecting their Virgin accounts to the app, and by playing daily quizzes and challenges that are used to gather information on members' interests to aid future targeted marketing.

Rewards will come in the form of offers and exclusive opportunities from a range of the company's businesses, including Virgin Trains, Virgin Media, Virgin Holidays, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Games, as well as partner businesses such as Caffé Nero.

"Loyalty shouldn't just be measured by how much money you spend with a brand," said James Tipple, managing director of Virgin Red. "Virgin Red is disrupting traditional loyalty programs by rewarding our members for their relationship with Virgin.

"We've developed fun ways to interact with and learn about our members, and we're using that insight to give them value back through access to relevant offers and exclusive opportunities from across the group. Basically, the more Virgin a member is, the better their offers and rewards get."

Virgin worked with end-to-end mobility firm DMI to develop the app, using a customer-centric approach that combined user research, rapid prototyping and user testing to ensure that the finished app met user expectations.

The app's user experience adjusts based on individual preferences collected via the app, and the loyalty programme has been integrated into Virgin's back-end systems, as well as its CRM and payment systems.

While there will be no direct advertising in the app, members will be recommended products based on the Virgin businesses they already interact with, and the app may be expanded to include editorial content that informs users about new products and services.

Virgin-Red-2-20160620094331362The app marks the first time the Virgin Group has merged its businesses under a single service, and is being supported by a joint cross-industry marketing campaign, another first for the firm. Each of the 15 Virgin companies involved will be sharing the campaign across a variety of channels including out-of-home, social and in-store promotions.

The campaign, which centres on 'V Marks the Spot', will see more than a million coins, both digital and physical, hidden in various locations around the UK and on websites. Each coin features a code that, when entered into the Virgin Red app, credits the user with points which can unlock various prize draws and offers.

The campaign will culminate in nine winners meeting Sir Richard Branson on his privately-owned island to dig for a buried 'treasure chest' that contains thousands of pounds worth of Virgin prizes.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The Early Bird deadline for submissions is 22 July. More details here.