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Interview with Todd Gulbransen SVP of Client Services and Strategic Partnerships at AIR MILES

Today we feature Todd Gulbransen, newly appointed Air Miles SVP of Client Services and Strategic Partnerships. He is is sharing with us his personal story, reason for joining Air Miles and what to look forward to! Thank you for taking the time to spend!

Please tell us about yourself and your role at AIR MILES?

I am married and have four wonderful children. Originally from Vancouver, BC, my career spans almost 30 years in retail, payment and loyalty. Having worked in Calgary, London and Houston, my family and I will be based out of Toronto going forward.  In terms of my role, my team and I are responsible for our current Partners as well as bringing new Partners into the Program.  We are extremely proud of the Partners we have within AIR MILES as we look to have best in class brands at the centre of the AIR MILES coalition. My team’s role is to help these Partners achieve their business objectives using data, analytics and the AIR MILES loyalty platform to create a differentiated offer and experience for AIR MILES Collectors, who shop with these brands.

Why did you choose to work with AIR MILES?

I chose to work with AIR MILES for three reasons: because of the positive Canadian brand reputation; the exciting brands we partner with; and the great people.  AIR MILES has been a market leader in the Loyalty space for almost 30 years, partnering with other leading brands like Sobeys, Metro, BMO, AMEX, Shell and hundreds more, to reward and recognize Canadians through value and experiences. The opportunity to work with national and global brands to positively impact the lives of so many, every day was something I wanted to be part of.

In addition to the brand, I was also attracted to AIR MILES because of the people.  The leadership at AIR MILES has created a culture of inclusiveness, respect and cooperation that empowers employees in the work they do.  People are encouraged to speak their minds and bring their ideas to the table, and this kind of culture drives the right kinds of behaviours you want to see in an organization – so I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great brand and team.

What are some near-term initiatives you would like to see implemented/work on with AIR MILES?

We are in the midst of a digital transformation and at AIR MILES, we want to lead with our Partners in this space.  We need to continue to develop and deploy platforms that allow AIR MILES Collectors to receive the right offers at the right time through the right channels while creating the best possible customer experience.  At the end of the day, consumers volunteer to be part of a loyalty program like AIR MILES to be recognized and rewarded through a customer experience that makes their lives easier, and it is our responsibility to delivery upon this.

What can we look forward to with AIR MILES in 2021?

Obviously in an environment like Covid-19, we have to recognize that people have changed their behaviours and it may take time for things to return to a more normal state.  This means we must use data and insight to recognize these changes and proactively pivot to what is most important to AIR MILES Collectors and our Partners.  Things like AIR MILES redemptions for products and merchandise have increased, so how do we create the best experience and the most value in those categories for Collectors?  How people choose to travel has changed, maybe they’re not taking as many flights as in pre-Covid times, but they still may travel by car, so how do we help make these journeys better through our fuel, grocer and financial partners? Ultimately, it’s about being relevant for our AIR MILES Collectors every day.

In times like these (i.e. Covid-19 pandemic), what advice would like you to give to Collectors?

Please look after yourselves, family and friends.  The safety and well being of people and how we support one another as a community has to be the priority and brands like AIR MILES are there to help people during these difficult times.

Any closing thoughts

I would just like to thank all AIR MILES Collectors and our Partners for being part of the AIR MILES family.  I feel very fortunate to have a job that is about helping people lead a more rewarding and valued life, full of great experiences.  I know 2020 has been a very challenging year for individuals and businesses but I am optimistic about what the future holds and how we move forward together.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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