World Book day 2022
For World Book day this year, rather than celebrating industry books, childhood books or anything else I have decided to give you an insight into our story. In the style of a 'blink' I hope it gives you a good grasp of why we started, who we are, what we stand for and where we want to take the business. What's a Blink? It comes from Blinkist (www.blinkist.com) which features a vast range of books that are precis'd into a 15 minute read and is a great way of identifying new and inspiring books.
The Stream Loyalty Story
Everything has to start somewhere
Stream started on April Fool’s Day 2009 as Stream Comms. At that point it was just myself and Mark running the business out of a garage (I believe all the best companies started out of a garage though so we were in good company). The garage was on a farm in rural Buckinghamshire and came with two dogs, some quad bikes, and some fantastic stories from the owner of the farm.
At the start we had both come from the events industry and wanted to offer a more digital way of engaging with audiences using reward and recognition tools.
The business worked with several companies including Anglian Home Improvements and Dentsply Sirona on engagement campaigns. For Anglian it was about motivating employees and for Dentsply it was about motivating a relationship with an audience where the channel was in the way. As the business grew, we recognised that we were working more and more on loyalty and engagement, and both wanted to take the business in the direction of loyalty.
We were passionate about changing our offering to show how you could use loyalty to motivate action and emotion with an audience whether that was internal or external.
Creating a Culture of Trust
Laura Lloyd joined us not long into our journey and became an integral part of the team. As a business we love to grow our team from within and put a lot of emphasis on education and providing the tools and space to develop professionally and personally. 12 years on from joining the team Laura is now a director and responsible for managing our client services team. Loyalty runs through the heart of everything Laura does, reflected in her being crowned as one of global winners of the ‘30 under 40 Loyalty Royalty’ by the Loyalty Magazine in 2020. We couldn’t be prouder of the journey she has taken with us and what we have all learned from each other during it.
“The journey I have been on with Stream has been a rollercoaster, with some huge highs and I love the business we have created. I am passionate that everything we are doing is pushing the business forward and providing our clients with tools that will evolve with their programmes, allowing them to always stay ahead of the competition.” Laura Lloyd, Client Services Director
The business is only as strong as its people and having the right team makes all the difference to clients continuing to work with us and attracting new talent.
We are really passionate about continuous development, knowledge sharing and education both internally and externally with our clients and prospects. Alice Kitchener started up Wednesday Wisdom sessions 2 years ago and they are loved by the team. Each session is designed to inform, educate and inspire. Our last one was from our Finance Manager and the journey we are taking as a business to become NetZero by 2030. Melanie became the first British female to become a certified CMLP professional, with 5 of our team following in her footsteps.
Our Loyalty Lunch and Learn series are an extension of these but to businesses who want some advice or guidance on a loyalty challenge. They are completely free and are designed to help businesses thinking about loyalty, starting in loyalty or wanting a refresh of their offering.
A Digital Transformation
Although when we started the business we were delivering engagement and incentive solutions, our journey has taken us on a path to developing our own loyalty software products, long before Covid forced the event industry into re-positioning itself. We are passionate about technology and how it needs to be simple to use, at the same time as having complex algorithms in the back end to ensure the right behaviours are rewarded at the right time.
Our LoyaltyStream software provides B2B companies with the ability to embark on a journey to loyalty maturity. We help them start with the end in mind and take small steps to understand their audience and grow their offering as they understand the connection with their customer better.
The B2B customer relationship is (we believe) much more complex than in the consumer space. Often there are multiple stakeholders with different goals and objectives. You find that individuals can be loyal to their account manager or sales rep rather than the brand. Our software helps our clients digitise the relationship without losing the emotional and personal connection. Often in B2B it is not the decision maker or the buyer who is interacting with the business on a day-to-day basis and brands need to be able to communicate the offering of both the business and the loyalty programme differently to different audiences.
In B2B we have taken companies on a digital transformation journey. Our software enables brands to introduce loyalty in a low impact manner with little taxation on resource. The idea that once you start a loyalty programme you can’t stop it, puts a lot of companies off ever getting started so we try to make that simple for them.
Loyalty is the Key to Unlocking Customer Trust
Unlocking customer trust is all about understanding your audience fully. We firmly believe that loyalty goes beyond the transactional and must connect on an emotional level with the customer. We love this quote by Calne D “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that, while reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action
A purely transactional loyalty programme may well connect with a customer at a reason level where they can tell it makes sense financially, but it doesn’t capture ‘hearts and minds’. This is where you need to understand the individual you are dealing with. There are many ways to connect with the customer at a more emotional level whether that is connecting over values e.g., by running a sustainable loyalty programme, via rewards that help the individual or the business such as providing support or training or via individualised communications and campaign metrics that are aligned to the customers goals to create a win-win.
“Using sophisticated loyalty metrics, we have motivated 43.5% of our clients customers to change their buying behaviours delivering a 23% increase in market share. I love being able to show our customers what our software has achieved for them.” Mark Maclure, Managing Director
What does the Future Hold?
Our goal is to be the #1 B2B loyalty software provider. As part of this journey, we achieved ISO27001 and 9001 accreditation in 2019 and are now working towards SOC 2 Compliance and becoming Carbon Neutral.
Melanie Parker, Operations Strategy Director said “Life is all about challenging yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone, never allowing yourself to look back and regret something you could have done. I live my life by these rules both personally and professionally and I am so excited about the journey we are taking and what the future holds.
We aren’t huge (yet!), but we have ambitious goals and with the team, the structure and the processes we have in place combined with our passion to continue to develop and push the boundaries of loyalty we are confident we will succeed, producing loyalty solutions that make a real difference and have a big impact for our clients. Then we can start looking towards our next goal.