5 things you need to know this week

From M&S launching a plastic-only loyalty scheme to HSBC announcing plans to exit the high street, Marketing Week rounds up the top stories of the week.

1. M&S readying ‘plastic-only’ loyalty scheme

M&S is understood to be readying its first card-based loyalty programme for an Autumn launch after filing two trademarks for ‘Sparks’ and ‘Sparks: More For You’ with the Intellectual Property Office under the loyalty card category.

It will initially involve a traditional plastic loyalty card rather than a digital scheme, according to a senior industry source, despite a host of retailers, including Harvey Nicols, recently moving to digitalise their offerings.

Earlier this week, an M&S spokesman said: “At our recent Prelims presentation we said that being more in-touch with our customers was one of our priorities for the year ahead but we would not comment on rumour and speculation about future activity.”

However, speaking to Marketing Week today (12 June), one senior source within the technology space with knowledge of the plans said: “After the high profile failures of the costly website relaunch, M&S is too scared to take a risk with a digital loyalty scheme.”

2. ‘Charities must empower donors or risk alienating them with aggressive fundraising tactics’


Charities must give donors more rights or risk alienating them with aggressive and intrusive fundraising tactics, according to industry experts following an investigation into charity fundraising prompted by the death earlier this year of Olive Cooke.

The charity fundraising regulator, the Fundraising Standards Board, looked into fundraising practices after allegations that Cooke was overwhelmed by fundraising requests.

Her case led to 384 complaints to the board, with 42% addressing the frequency of charity communications and over a third (35%) specific to approaches made to the elderly or vulnerable people. One in six complaints were about how consent is give for charities’ use of contact data.

The FRSB is now calling for the Code of Fundraising Practice, which is run by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), to be updated to provide greater clarity about the rules for donor consent, limit the frequency of charity approaches and improve guidance on communicating with older supporters. The IoF is working on the recommendations.

3. The Women’s World Cup shows how marketers are undervaluing women’s sport


The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada will reach 30 million female football players and 336 million fans worldwide, according to FIFA, while the BBC is broadcasting every game for the first time.

However, many brands, including FIFA sponsors, have been slow to tap into the rising opportunity.

Despite stating that it wants to be “the most visible and talked about brand at the tournament” by pushing its #BeTheDifference campaign, FIFA sponsor adidas does not appear to have spread the campaigns across all its platforms.

Meanwhile, FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola travelled to 12 Canadian cities in the two months leading up to the tournament with its FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour and has also released limited edition packaging for the event.

However, its only commercial and OOH advertising were local to Canada, while a look at its website today (11 June) showed no sign of its sponsorship.

4. McDonald’s global CMO hire shows the importance of marketing in its brand turnaround

McDonald's to launch global mobile app

When McDonald’s laid out plans in May to “reset and turn around the business” following poor global sales performance in recent years, it highlighted the importance of “returning excitement to its proposition and brand”.

The appointment this week of Bacardi’s Silvia Lagnado to oversee global brand management including marketing, menu and consumer insights is the company’s latest effort to carry out this strategy, which CEO Steve Easterbook suggested would involve actions that “disrupt and delight and show a brand on the move”.

McDonald’s sales have struggled in recent months as it is forced to react to a change in consumer behaviour as people look for healthier meal options.

While turning around the brand will be no easy task, Lagnado appears to be coming from a good place to take on the challenge.

Most recently she was responsible for Bacardi’s brand marketing as the company’s CMO. But perhaps more importantly during her time at Unilever she was one of the team behind Dove’s viral “Campaign for Real Beauty”.

5. HSBC is set for exit from the High Street as consumer perceptions slump


The battered HSBC brand will soon disappear from the high street, a move that could prove a good idea according to the latest brand tracking data.

HSBC unveiled plans this week to “reshape its business”, including the loss of 8,000 jobs, plans to close 12% of branches and the move of its London HQ to Birmingham.

HSBC’s CEO Stuart Gulliver also said the bank would changed the name of its branch network once it has been separated from its global operations. Rumours suggest that it could revive the Midland Bank brand or take its online bank First Direct onto the high street.

The bank has come under attack in recent months over allegations that its Swiss arm helped wealthy clients evade tax. It has also been hit by multimillion pound fines for mis-selling retail products and for Libor rate-fixing.

According to YouGov’s Brand Index, HSBC sits at or near the bottom of a list of 28 high street banking brands across a range of metrics. Over the past year its overall index score, a measure of a range of consumer perception factors including quality, value and impression, has fallen by a statistically significant 6.4 points to -5.4.