IAG Cargo FWD.Rewards: Building strength in numbers

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2018

IAG Cargo was dangerously reliant on a few big global air cargo accounts. It needed to grow business from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Using audience insight into how small businesses make decisions, it developed an SME loyalty programme and a more human approach to customer relationship management. This case demonstrates that the company’s loyalty scheme members spent 11% more than non-scheme customers. It estimates €14m incremental revenue was generated in 12 months on operating costs of €272,000. As a result of these changes, the gap between revenue from global accounts and SMEs was projected to halve in three years.

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Before we started this project we were a sales focused organisation with shoe leather delivering most of our growth by signing major global accounts (called freight forwarders). But in order to remain a market leader and defend our share, we needed to grow our customer base. We approached BBH to assist with this. Having undertaken a detailed analysis of our customer base, we came to the conclusion that we were too focused - and dependant - on our largest customers, and we were neglecting a lucrative tier of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) customers. Our challenge was clear: get SME accounts to send more cargo with us, and more frequently. The solution was clear: a loyalty programme. In order to ensure that our work would be as effective as possible, we commissioned BBH to engage in a global primary research project, talking to over 25 SME accounts around the world. This qualitative research gave us invaluable insights that the business had never seen before - for the first time we were able to get a true feel for our customers beyond their spend and name. Informed by the research, the resulting work of Forward.Rewards was able to refocus IAG Cargo towards customer centricity - becoming a key proof point or our new CEO’s vision of customer focus. Aside from the financial rewards our SME Focus and new rewards tool has had some unexpected benefits. Our industry-leading reputation has strengthened in the minds of customers and trade press. Our sales force has been energised and invigorated, aided not only with a new service proposition to retain customers but to also better serve them thanks to the insight and data it produces. Because of the proven effectiveness and tangible benefits of Forward.Rewards, we have commissioned BBH to produce a new loyalty programme targeting our Regional Key Account customers.

Adam Chaudhri, Marketing Director
International Airlines Group

Winners 2018

Bronze Winner


IAG Cargo FWD.Rewards: Building strength in numbers


IAG Cargo


International Airlines Group



Principal Authors

  • Adam Blaynee - BBH
  • Jacob Lovewell - BBH

Contributing Authors

  • Richard Madden - BBH
  • Matthew Shepherd - BBH

Credited Companies

  • -

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