The North Face
Defining a unique proposition for the iconic brand’s loyalty program in Greater China
Since its inception in 1968, The North Face has become an iconic global outdoor sports and lifestyle brand. For years, the brand successfully operated a loyalty program called XPLR Pass, but the team determined that the program needed to be revamped in the Greater China market to create deeper engagement with its broad Chinese consumer base. The North Face hoped to expand on the types of benefits provided by XPLR Pass beyond monetary rewards, ensuring representation of the organization’s brand DNA while elevating consumer perceptions, building greater engagement and further differentiating itself from competitors.
The North Face partnered with Prophet to craft a unique positioning for its loyalty program while ideating new benefits to bring it to life.
We started by immersing ourselves in the current state of the brand, conducting stakeholder interviews and reviewing past strategy efforts. In addition, we ran an immersive competitor audit to understand best practices around loyalty programs and interviewed industry experts to identify opportunities for differentiation.
Through our research, our team identified key insights that allowed us to develop a unique positioning for XPLR Pass. We anchored the program on The North Face’s authentic history, providing trusted guidance to fuel exploration, which helped to reinforce the brand’s DNA while clearly articulating its distinctive values in Greater China. We then facilitated discussions and co-creative workshops across The North Face’s teams to clearly define XPLR Pass’s strategic objectives, design targets and customer journey roadmap. This helped us align on the key priorities of the revamped program, which was brought to life through four strategic pillars: outdoor empowerment, expert guidance, community and exclusivity. These pillars were then used to guide the ideation of the benefits provided by the program.
A key ethos of our approach was to work collaboratively to ensure cross-functional buy-in of the new strategy. Our team leveraged innovative digital tools to facilitate interactive virtual sessions to drive alignment on the refreshed positioning. Once the strategy was set, we helped codify all elements of the updated program into a playbook, that could be used to inform all stakeholders about the program’s strategic components.
Next, we developed an engagement strategy for next-gen high-potential brand lovers, to cultivate future growth potential. We defined identifying metrics, preference metrics and engagement tactics for the next-gen consumers. Also, we examined the existing engagement strategy of the brand and provided recommendations on how to build solid customer profiles that combine membership and transactional data with broader engagement data. Lastly, with our digital experience expertise, we recommended best practices for consumer tagging through advanced social media tactics, such as WeChat CRM, to help The North Face team drive ongoing engagement.
Our strategic work with The North Face set the foundations for the success of the revamped XPLR Pass program, serving as a key pillar of future growth for the brand in the Greater China market. The North Face team used the playbook to drive socialization across business functions and begin implementation of the new strategy.
The strategy was then translated by the North Face team into customer-facing messaging. The revamped loyalty program was announced to Greater China consumers on WeChat in August 2022. The WeChat mini program was also designed to capture customer engagement data to help set the foundations for rich, actionable customer profiles to drive future personalization.