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Two Big Acquisitions Signal Industry Innovation, Greater Scale

The purchase of the Bridge2 Solutions loyalty redemption platform by Bakkt is part of a bold strategy to use cryptocurrency to disrupt the entire consumer loyalty and payments platform. The purchase of SVM by Blackhawk is part of a continued roll-up strategy to gain more market share in a business that requires scale.
 
Some suppliers in the traditional consumer loyalty market might have breathed a sign of relief that the Covid-19 crisis may slow down the ambitious efforts of Bakkt, a division of Intercontinental Continental Exchange (ICE). ICE is a cryptocurrency futures market that aims to disrupt the traditional loyalty and payments platform. 
 
The acquisition of Bridge2 Solutions in February is reportedly part of a two-part strategy to 1) disrupt the loyalty market by creating a universal app through which consumers can manage and redeem all their points from multiple programs via the web or at retail, and 2) even more ambitiously to enable to bypass the high costs of the current credit card processing system. This is not the first time companies have attempted to use the blockchain for loyalty applications. See RRN: News Analysis: Amex Shows How Blockchain Will Transform Loyalty Rewards.
 

A Plan to Disrupt the Credit Card Model

The ICE platform uses the cryptocurrency marketplace platform and marketplace of Bridge2 and other solutions to create a single redemption currency usable across multiple online retail options and for merchants to use the blockchain to manage payments. It also includes a way for organizations to manage, buy and sell points. While the payment platform promises significant cost savings for merchants, it requires them to change their payment systems. Anyone who has tried to sell any new system to merchants knows the challenges involved. That said, the current crisis and the need to hit the re-set button on their businesses now might make merchants more amenable to a new payment processing system. Click here for more details from Fortune.com.
 
On the other hand, the growing concept of “surprise and delight” rather than points-based loyalty programs could eventually pose a threat to the entire model of points-based platforms as surprise and delight have lower fixed costs and liabilities than points program with the potential for making a greater emotional impact. 
 

More Consolidation in Gift Cards

The Covid-19 Crisis did not stop Blackhawk Network from completing its acquisition of SVM Cards, a leading provider of physical and digital open- and closed-loop prepaid cards. Blackhawk says the purchase expands its offerings in the closed-loop space; acquires additional B2B and incentive business accounts and a new market for its own offerings. Because of the low margins in gift cards, scale is critical to growth. 
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Education, Certifications, and Information to Activate
Brand Media and Enterprise Engagement 


A complete learning, certification, and information program and a course syllabus for educators.
 
Resources: The Brand Media Coalition, the only guide to the story-telling power of brands and where to source them for business, event, promotional gifting, and rewards and recognition. Enterprise Engagement Solution Provider Directory. The only directory of engagement solution providers covering all types of agencies and tactics as well as insights on how to select them.
 
Communities: The  Enterprise Engagement Alliance and Advocate and the  Brand Media Coalition free resource centers offering access to the latest research, news, and case studies; discounts, promotions, referrals, and commissions, when appropriate to third-party solution providers from participating coalition solution provider members.
 
Training and Certification
Enterprise Engagement Alliance Education: Certified Engagement Practitioner; Advanced Engaged Practitioner, and Certified Engagement Solution Provider learning and certification programs on how to implement Stakeholder Capitalism principles at the tactical level. 
 
International Center for Enterprise Engagement: The only training and certification program for ISO 30414 human capital reporting and ISO 10018 quality people management certification. 
 
A CEO's Guide to Engagement Across the Enterprise cover
The EEA offers a complimentary course syllabus for educators.
 
In Print: 
This is the definitive implementation guide to Stakeholder Capitalism, written specifically to provide CEOs and their leadership teams a concise overview of the framework, economics, and implementation process of a CEO-led strategic and systematic approach to achieving success through people.  (123 pages, $15.99)
 
The first and most comprehensive book on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. Includes 36 chapters detailing how to better integrate and align engagement efforts across the enterprise. (312 pages, $36.) 
 
Online:  
10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards from the Coggno.com learning platform.
 
Services: 
•  The Engagement Agency at EngagementAgency.net, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
•  C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement. 
•  Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
•  Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777.
 
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
•  ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
•  EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices. 
•  Compare Your Company’s Level of Engagement. Quickly compare your organization’s level of engagement to those of others based on the same criteria as the EEA’s Engaged Company Stock Index.
•  Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
 
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.
 
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