Customer Engagement – Cryptocurrency Fascinates Brands

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Customer engagement is a mantra that every marketer breathes and anything that enhances customer engagement is revered. In recent times, cryptocurrencies have created a storm of sorts around the globe, and more so with the millennials. Brands and companies are therefore beginning to appreciate the value of crypto currencies, or virtual currencies, in promoting their brands and products

Some 3 decades ago, smart marketers invented the frequent flyer incentives. But, today, cryptocurrency is seen as a huge game- changer in the customer engagement space.  Companies are exploring several ways to board the crypto wagon to help their respective businesses to gain better traction and thereby shore up their bottom line.  Some of these efforts also educate people on how cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology can impact real world experiences.  While some businesses are adopting virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies into their business models itself, some others are offering payment options using the altcoins/crypotcurrencies.  Undoubtedly, the cumulative focus of all the efforts remains on enhanced customer engagement.  But, interestingly, some businesses are taking to the cryptoworld as a last mile effort to save their ship from sinking.

Exploring companies adopting cryptocurrencies for customer engagement

Boost juice Australia

Boost juice claims to be the first ever retailer giving away bitcoin to local customers. The move is a part of a new campaign across Australia for 4 weeks. The promotion involves customers guessing Bitcoin price 12 noon every Monday using a new-look mobile app that Boost has provided. One bitcoin is awarded to the person who gets the closest guess every week. The current value of one bitcoin is hovering around the $12,000 mark. Christian McGilloway, technology innovation officer at Boost opines that tapping into the cryptocurrency keeps the brand on trend with the thinking and talking point of customers. He adds that it is pretty high profile and exciting across the media and with mass hype peaking around the end of 2017, more and more people were talking about bitcoin.

Brisbane airport

Brisbane airport has announced its plans to be the first airport in the world to be cryptocurrency friendly.  The airport has partnered with terminal premises and store owners to accept cryptocurrencies towards payments. At the various kiosks, coffee shops, and stores, customers can now tender Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Steem, Litecoin and possibly more cryptocurrencies getting added as the initiative picks up steam. The airport is also teaming up with TravelByBit which allows travelers to make digital payments with the help of a mobile payment platform provided by the company. Through these initiatives, Brisbane Airport is reinforcing its aim of supporting local businesses and thereby march to a leadership position in digital innovations in airports.

KFC Canada

KFC Canada is now offering one bucket of chicken priced at $20 that customers can buy online using only bitcoin. The offering itself is described as ‘The Bitcoin Bucket’ containing 10 pieces of original tenders, a medium side, waffle fries, two dips and gravy. Payments are routed through Bitpay and a shipping fee of $5 is added to the cost. While launching the offer, the company tweeted that it is not aware of how bitcoin works or what it exactly represents but that should not deprive customers of some good chicken. Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC has also announced its plans to stream Bitcoin’s ‘Ups and downs’ via Facebook Live and the related video featured a bucket with the Bitcoin label. This offering helps consumers in keeping track of the best time to trade. While some franchise locations of restaurant chains other than KFC do accept bitcoin as a payment option, this is by far the first time that a parent company is embracing digital currency.

Kodak enters the cryptoworld –but plans delayed

Before the advent of digital photography, Kodak was nearly a household name and the brand enjoyed iconic status. Going by the lean information available on the company’s website, the plan is to build a digital platform to manage the rights of photographers. KodakOne is the proposed platform the biggest benefit expected is that photographers can upload their photo assets and have them watermarked securely through a crypto hash. Once this is achieved, the photo assets can be immortalized with the help of blockchain.  The photographers will thus enjoy completely control over their photo assets including unauthorized use and possibly even sell them. Shutterstock, for instance, has a market cap of $1.5 billion and its revenue for 2016 was a tad below $500 million.  Thus, the Kodak idea appears promising though we may need to wait for the company to launch its proposed offerings.

Burger King garnishes with ‘whoppercoin’

Whoppercoin is the digital currency launched by Burger King in Russia. It allows users to trade and swap digital currency, and according to industry commentators, the move is a new standard in customer engagement/loyalty programs. Whoppercoin will also be used for rewarding customers while making purchases, and the accumulated rewards can be converted to burgers on reaching adequate points. For every rouble spent by customers at Burger King, they will receive one Whoppercoin and 1,700 such coins can buy a whopper burger. Whoppercoins can also be traded, exchanged, saved or sold.

Though the efforts from these brands in enhancing their customer engagement are in its nascent stages, their success would be keenly watched by other businesses. Meantime, we can assume that businesses would be exploring areas other than customer engagement where blockchain could play a stellar role in shoring up the bottom line.

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