Some of the best loyalty platforms in the world don’t even resemble a loyalty scheme. They provide an experience, allow users to have fun and give the brand a personality. The fact that users are providing value to the brand is only a side effect, not the main activity. The rewards given to users of a loyalty platform can be a huge hit on a company’s bottom line, and as many behavioral economists such as Dan Ariely have seen, financial rewards such as $5 coupon or gift card are not as motivating as actual gifts or even an experience. From Uber to Starbucks, Heineken, Chipotle and more here are four ways the best loyalty programs motivate users and provide value beyond rewards.

Boosting Relationships

Relationships are hard to build but very easy to break. Many loyalty programs don’t realize that one of the things that motivate people more than winning rewards for themselves is winning rewards for other people. The sense that you are doing something bigger than yourself is extremely effective when trying to drive human behavior.

An example of this is from Uber, they have a win-win referral program that gives users a code for them to share that provides their referral with a free ride while providing the user with a free ride too! This concept seems quite common but still isn’t implemented in the vast majority of companies. This doesn’t have to be an actual financial value either, you can offer a win-win referral program that provides points to both of the users, which they can redeem for various types of rewards that you define.


Enjoyable Experience

Consumers are tired of companies marketing tactics to force loyalty upon them. Buy 10 get 1 free strategies force consumers to work for a discount, they feel trapped and have to buy from you just to get the discount. Feeling trapped creates a negative experience that they won’t want to repeat or share with their friends and family. Instead, focus on the experience first and foremost to create a truly enjoyable brand experience. With your loyalty platform you can do this buy giving them rewards just for signing up, surprise them with points on holidays or birthdays and provide engaging games they can play to earn more rewards.

This experience is exactly what Heineken has been known to focus on in a big way. Not only have they been extremely innovative with using beacons and games to engage consumers but they have provided rewards that are actual experiences. Users in their loyalty platform in New Zealand were provided the opportunity to win experiences such as a helicopter transport to go to a special event, VIP tickets to various events, food and beverage vouchers for branded locations and more. These experiences proved to be very motivating for users and although not everyone won something, everyone wanted the chance to be a winner. Focus on the user experience, not the reward.


Social Influence

The power of social influence is evident from the 2 billion people on Facebook and the ability to go viral, everyone wants to use social to grow their brand, improve customer experience and acquisition. One of the best ways to use social influence is to create competition through a loyalty platform. One of our favorite features of the Social&Loyal platform is the Facebook Photo Contest, which allows users to upload their own images from Facebook or their computer to compete for a reward. To win, they need to obtain the highest amount of votes by sharing the vote link through social media networks, email and other messaging apps. When someone votes for an image they must sign up to the platform, increasing your brand exposure and lead generation. We have had clients almost double the amount of users with just one Facebook Photo Contest.

Other important elements to a loyalty program is to show a club ranking, include levels with exclusivity and perks, show a news feed of actions done and more! Include these social influence elements to motive your users to take action!

Brand Personality

Part of the brand experience is how you make consumers feel, and to make people feel something you need to give your brand a personality. Loyalty platform’s provide a way to communicate with users and show them who you really are. Show them your sensitive side with cute family or pet rewards, show them your values with videos or donations to support causes you care about, show them your sense of humor with gifs, memes or even office prank actions! Use the loyalty platform along with email, Facebook notifications and social media to communicate your brand’s personality and help build a strong relationship with consumers.

Some examples of brands that show their personality loud and clear are:

             1. Whataburger

Whataburger Brand Personality

             2. Charmin

Charmin Brand Personality

             3. Chipotle

Chipotle Brand Personality

             4. Jimmy Johns  

Jimmy Johns Brand Personality

             5. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A Brand Personality


Here you have the top four ways to take your loyalty program beyond simple rewards to create true brand loyalty. From boosting relationships to creating an experience, tapping into social influence and showing your brand’s personality, you can bring immense value for consumers without have to provide discounts or free products. 


If you want more, check out how loyalty program software actually adds value!

Do you want to speak with a loyalty expert about your brand’s needs? Set up a free consultation today!

Johnny Reyes
PM & UX/UI Specialist
Product management

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