5 Steps to Branding Your Loyalty Program

Nov 16, 2017

Your loyalty program should be a seamless extension of your brand. Seems simple, almost logical, right? You’d be surprised how many companies get it wrong and, by default, their entire customer experience suffers. There are a few reasons this may happen: siloing of internal departments and their goals/vision; multiple agencies handling a variety of campaigns without alignment; junior teams with little experience; tech-only loyalty platform providers taking on creative execution; you name it, we’ve seen it all.

That’s why we have our own internal team of loyalty and branding experts, who specialize in the entire customer experience for our Fortune 500 clients. Sure, Kobie is also a technology company with our own proprietary platform – Alchemy®, but we’re also one of the only players in the industry that have a full suite of strategists, creative directors, project managers, writers, designers and front end developers. Laser-focused on bringing the customer-facing components of our clients’ programs to life – in their brand voice, per their brand guidelines – these assets (websites, mobile apps, email, direct mail, digital ads, and more) are expertly crafted by a team that works, lives and breathes loyalty day in and day out.

So, whether we’re developing a new program or revitalizing a preexisting one, here are the top five things we keep in mind, and you should too:

  1. Naming Your Program – Be sure it’s easy to understand what it is and why your customers would want to join it. Clever names are great, if they work for your brand and aren’t so “creative” that they lose the message they’re trying to convey: rewards, status, benefits, exclusivity, personalization, and/or appreciation. Hilton Honors lets members know it’s about status and appreciation. Sephora Beauty Insider represents exclusivity and content. My Best Buy® is personalized, and the brand’s program predecessor, Best Buy Reward Zone™, was all about rewards.
  2. Talking About Your Program – Unless you have an umbrella program (one that covers multiple brands/retailers) which requires its own distinct look, feel and personality – your loyalty program should be an extension of your brand. It should sound like you do, look like you do, and do the things your fans expect. Your customers are loyal to you for a reason, they love your brand and what it stands for. Continue that message while reemphasizing how much you thank and appreciate them.
  3. Designing Your Program – Don’t make your program cumbersome or overcomplicated to join or engage with. If you sell a service, your program should be service-oriented, making it even easier to do business with you. If your product is sporty, your imagery, offerings, awards currency and redemption options should be sport-oriented, too. Make sure everything feels cohesive, on brand and like it’s living in one universe – yours.
  4. Beware of Overkill – A lot of loyalty newbies make one singular cardinal sin, they over communicate their program to the point of brand fatigue. We’re not saying not to create a launch campaign but instead to do a full audit of your current communications channels and vehicles – there’s a lot of current space you can use to get people to join your program. For instance: don’t inundate your list with email after email about the launch of your program. Instead have one or two dedicated emails announcing it and how to join, and then pepper your other email campaigns and triggers with program banners where it makes sense. Don’t forget to segment with different, dynamic versions for non-members and current members so you’re not repeating the same message to the wrong audience. For more related to this topic, visit our article on contact frequency.
  5. Aim to Engage – All of your loyalty program initiatives should emotionally connect with your audience. Don’t rely on behavioral discounting – everyone does that, it cheapens your brand and its perceived value, and it really doesn’t represent your personality. Create experiences to remember that will keep them coming back even when they’re not shopping with you. Make it fun, but applicable to your brand. If your industry isn’t “fun” you can still create elements of entertainment relevant to your business – engaging experiences; exciting, exclusive content; interactive two-way conversations and community forums; and so forth.

Our Customer Experience (CX) team is here to help you, whether you’re using Kobie Alchemy® as your platform solution, or not. We can offer consulting services, including: auditing your entire loyalty program and UX; providing competitive analysis and whitespace suggestions; customer journey mapping; and/or reviewing and making recommendations on your loyalty communications calendar and creative assets.

Our team has worked for some of the biggest brands in the nation across all industries, both through our roles at Kobie and from our combined years of experience leading up to joining the family. Let our large scale branding and loyalty-specific knowledge become an asset for you, too. We can work with your in-house creative teams, with your agencies of record, or handle your loyalty marketing in its entirety. Contact us today to see what Kobie CX can do for you.