Flourish Conference to Focus on Customer Experience With Branded Currency

Third annual event brings together experts in gift cards and beyond.

Flourish logo year 2

For its third year, Flourish: The Growth of Branded Currency Conference will spotlight how gift cards and other forms of branded currency drive the recipient's experience. The event takes place April 1-3 at the Gwen Hotel in Chicago. To learn about the show's newest offerings as well as what will be consistent with years past, Incentive recently spoke with the co-founders of the event, Holly Glowaty and Kristen Thiry both of whom also co-founded the financial-tech consultancy K+H Connection

"We hear a lot about driving foot traffic into stores of brick-and-mortar locations, so we'll be talking about how gift cards and promotions can play a critical role in that," said Glowaty. "We want to talk about how these branded-currency tools can engage your customer in 360 degrees -- on your website, in-store and more. Gift cards can play a really interesting role there, and we're going to dive into that."

"We want people to walk away with something tangible that they can take to their desks," noted Thiry. To that end, a keynote on "experience design" will be given by Russ Klein, CEO of the American Marketing Association, former chief marketing officer at Burger King and the recipient of AdWeek's Advertiser of the Decade honors. About a dozen other speakers covering specific content related to branded currency also have been lined.

Glowaty and Thiry have partnered with the AMA and the Incentive Gift Card Council to develop a case study of a collegiate conference held last May that examined the use of gift cards by Generation Z. At Flourish, they will lead a focus group of such generation members and then present the findings at the IMA Summit in July. Flourish will also explore the use of branded currency in the U.K. Another theme will be technology and innovation, with sessions covering blockchain technology and ways to leverage e-commerce tools and digital gift cards.

"We have at least two speakers talking about incrementality, and how to prove that your gift card is worth it, even based on your location and market," said Thiry. "We're making sure to talk about what's on the horizon, but also how to innovate within existing day-to-day programs, making sure you bring these ideas back to your office and put them into action."

Ahead of the show itself, the Flourish team also has launched a monthly podcast on topics such as "Capturing the Power of Prepaid for 2019," "Making a GiftCard More Than a Gift Card" and more. These sessions will be recorded and made available post-show.