Congratulations to Columbia Sportswear for being named a Finalist in this year’s Retailer Innovation Awards in the Customer Engagement category. This inaugural award from Innovative Retail Technologies magazine recognizes retailers that aren’t just doing something new, but that are reaping the business reward for the execution of their innovation. Columbia Sportswear fits this billing handily for its innovative use of engagement loyalty to encourage brand advocacy.

Lead by Lindsay McCann, Marketing Analyst, with Columbia Sportswear’s Loyalty Program, Columbia was named for its innovative use of the engagement loyalty platform from Chirpify to proactively — and unexpectedly — reward customers for the brand advocacy the brand encourages. The merchant can reward anyone for their social brand advocacy activity with automated, pre-defined rewards.

Columbia Sportswear exemplifies innovation

As customers increasingly judge brands on the utility they provide, Columbia Sportswear has found a way to engage with its on-the-go customers, effectively turning their mobile device into a remote control. Columbia Sportswear has uniquely found a way to give its customers the utility they crave by bringing together its customers’ use of social media, mobile devices, and desire to share Columbia products ‘in action’ through a social media loyalty program.

By rewarding their customers for desired behaviors in social media, Columbia Sportswear is able to engage its customers more deeply, and by connecting their profiles across marketing channels, is able to create a more holistic customer experience with the brand. For example, using Chirpify’s moderation linked to its CRM system, Columbia Sportswear is able to look up a social media user’s past experience with the brand and reward them accordingly. At a time when CEOs are questioning the value of extensive social media investment, Columbia Sportswear is delivering innovation that directly impacts the top line.

Using innovation to drive growth

Using the Chirpify platform allows Columbia Sportswear to reward its Greater Rewards loyalty plan members with points and other rewards for sharing products, promotions, and brand content in social media. In the background, Chirpify listens for pre-determined social triggers, such as hashtags, conversations, check-ins and more that once set off, can automatically and immediately initiate a response. Using the Chirpify rules engine, Columbia Sportswear can tailor specific responses to specific triggers. For example, a check-in might trigger an in-store offer whereas sharing positive product feedback would result in rewards points.

In addition to automation, Chirpify allows Columbia Sportswear to moderate any social trigger or conversation, filtering the resulting queue against a number of parameters, such as quality of user generated content, number of followers greater or less than a specified amount, post language, default profile picture and more. Columbia Sportswear can then apply bulk or individual approvals or rejections to the filtered queue to ensure promotion of content that is a good fit for their current campaign. This is particularly useful in promoting user generated content for campaigns such as Columbia Sportswear’s annual “How Tough is Your Trail” photo challenge.

In addition, Columbia Sportswear uses Chirpify Reply Rewards to surprise and delight its social media customers. Reply Rewards allows Columbia Sportswear to reward any customer via a single reply on social and messaging channels. This can be used in customer service situations, to thank a person for their advocacy on behalf of the brand, and/or to surprise a loyal customer on the anniversary of joining the Greater Rewards program.

Last, Chirpify provides Columbia Sportwear with critical information about their social media customers and social media campaigns. Columbia Sportswear has integrated Chirpify with its CRM and ecommerce systems and can as a result frictionlessly convert customers within social media as Chirpify recognizes members online via their social handles. This means that Columbia Sportswear can measure with granularity its social media marketing conversion and dynamically report on multiple data points — from demographic campaign response to ecommerce sales.

Business wins of innovation

Socially connected members are more active and more active members spend more. In fact, social engagement among Columbia Sportswear fans is four times greater than the company’s average social consumer. More than just social growth, however, in using the Chirpify platform Columbia Sportswear has been able to link the social ID of its Greater Rewards participants to ecommerce purchasers, verifying a growth in social loyalty related sales.This database link provides Columbia Sportswear with additional opportunities for database segmentation, resultant marketing outreach, and greater future top line growth.

Congratulations to Columbia Sportswear on this well-deserved recognition! As this innovative retailer has shown, engagement loyalty can indeed be a powerful mechanism for driving business-impacting innovation in customer engagement programs. To learn more about how other brands are activating customer advocacy, growing engagement, customer acquisition and ultimately sales, sign up to receive our blog direct to your in-box.