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Heineken uncaps experience-driven rewards for app users via beacons

Heineken is adding fizz to mobile loyalty with the Heineken Live application, which offers users a chance to receive different rewards experiences, such as VIP event tickets, each time they visit one of the brand?s beacon-equipped venues.

According to reports, the beer marketer has installed Bluetooth beacons in 120 of its locations across New Zealand, giving locals the opportunity to win big-ticket items such as helicopter transport to a special event and food and beverage vouchers each time they stop by a branded outlet. Individuals who have downloaded the Heineken Live app for their iPhones will be able to receive two types of rewards points ? Venue Status Points and Heineken Status Points ? that could lead to memorable experiences, showcasing mystery prizes? ability to fuel additional app engagement.

?The experiences Heineken is offering are certainly intriguing, and an excellent incentive to download the application,? said Mary Beth Keelty, chief marketing officer of PMX Agency. ?What?s even more valuable is that Heineken isn?t necessarily promoting the product itself; rather, it?s encouraging exploration and new cultural experiences.

?It?s a smart move ? they are interesting potential customers and brand followers with these incredible experiences, while taking a more subtle approach to building brand awareness and loyalty.?

Betting on beacons
According to a report on NFC World, Heineken joined forces with Rush Digital and Saatchi & Saatchi to roll out the new Heineken Live app and introduce the beacon-enabled rewards to New Zealanders. The beverage marketer reportedly plans to give away $500,000 worth of prizes in the next six months.

Heineken Live will leverage beacons and GPS technology to recognize rewards members and send them Venue or Status Points in exchange for visiting one of the brand?s outlets, with points allocated based on the number of times a user visits a Heineken location and walks within range of an iBeacon.

The more an individual interacts with the app and stops by Heineken venues, the more points he or she will earn.

This on-the-spot recognition allows Heineken to then reward users with a slew of big-ticket experiences, reportedly including helicopter rides to events and VIP tickets to concerts.

Heineken is shining a spotlight on more experience-driven rewards rather than material goods, suggesting the brand is keeping in mind millennials? tendencies to favor the former over the latter.

An example given in the NFC World report suggests that Heineken Live users may find themselves enjoying a night out with friends, only to receive a push notification informing them that a helicopter is waiting to transport them to another party across town.

The brand hopes to offer its fans unforgettable experiences that depict the highest tier of city adventures.

Heineken is no stranger to leveraging beacon technology in conjunction with its audience outreach strategies and marketing campaigns.

A Heineken executive at the Mobile Marketing Association?s Mobile Location Leadership Forum discussed a recent mobile-first campaign centering on the latest James Bond film that resulted in more than 14 million ad impressions gained from an Ibotta partnership and nearly one million beacon-enabled impressions (see story).

?If used appropriately, beacons have the potential to become a critical component of relevant, experience-driven marketing,? Ms. Keelty said. ?Brands are continuing to evolve their strategies based on this idea of ?moment marketing,? where the offer is relevant not only to the individual customer themselves, but relevant to the exact moment where they find themselves on their journey.

?It?s a unique opportunity to capture a moment of high intent, particularly because smartphones have really become an extension of the shopping experience,? she said. ?Personalization and relevance are key foundational elements for driving loyalty.

?And with the addition of special customer rewards, beacons can certainly help to drive stronger brand affinity and loyalty.?

An outpouring of brand affinity
Heineken has been upping its millennial-friendly marketing efforts ? as well as its corporate social responsibility initiatives ? with increased fervor lately, particularly when it comes to mobile activations.

The beer marketer recently expanded its outreach to millennials by teaming up with fundraising site Indiegogo for a contest encouraging participants to suggest city improvement projects via a 30-second pitch video submitted to the beverage brand's Facebook page (see story).

Combined with its beacon technology innovations, Heineken is well-poised to retain its status as a mobile leader in the food and beverage industry ? something its competitors will undoubtedly try to emulate with their own rewards programs.

?I think beacon strategies are key for the future, both as in-store and near-location tactics,? Ms. Keelty said. ?Because of the natural connection to mobile, in addition to how the shopping experience has changed so dramatically, beacon technologies give marketers the opportunity to bridge broader brand awareness to actual conversion.

?As in any form of advertising, relevance and timeliness is critical ? there is always a risk of consumers feeling bombarded, but when balanced, there?s also real opportunity to add value to the customer experience with a well-thought out approach.?