What are examples of successful brand loyalty programs that are engagement-based, not purchase?
Hello! Thanks for your question about examples of successful brand loyalty programs that are engagement-based. The short version is that trends in the development of engagement-based loyalty programs come in all shapes and sizes. From Starbucks to an internet shoe retailer, the methods and tactics used to engage consumers in branding in non-traditional methods work to change the brand relationship. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.
To understand how we arrived with the following companies to fill out this list, first we addressed the concept of engagement based loyalty programs seen with our initial research, here, with obvious exception to those which are exclusively transaction-based. From there, we were able to discover a series of trends on the basis of loyalty programs, where we were able to find engagement-based practices justifying the companies' presence on our list. The following companies are cited with the information about each of the programs, along with an overview as to the specifics of how each loyalty program works.
This customer loyalty program works by an unconventional method that works alongside transaction based reward systems. Here, not only are points given for buying merchandise, they're also given rewards points for reviewing products, referring friends, and signing up for an account in the first place. This marks a growing trend in the flexibility of companies in their loyalty point process threshold, and is indicative of a series of non-transaction based behaviors that enable consumers to engage with the loyalty program quickly.
As seen at first glance on the loyalty program page, Gongshow Gear has made a huge impact out of having a massive social media following. Understanding the power of non-transaction based lines of loyalty has allowed them to offer gift cards exclusively on the basis of shares through Instagram. As stated in the article here, this mentality allows this apparel company to "leverage their best customers as brand advocates". A fantastic and successful use of engagement based loyalty program construction that enabled an entire apparel company to use the marketing sphere of a much larger platform than itself and its own economic threshold.
Starbucks utilizes a series of actions related to the transaction of buying coffee to elevate the brand in the consumers mind past just the point of the transaction. Utilizing the Starbucks Rewards app, special offers and alerts based on dates and participating mapped stores along with free in store refills brings extra attention to the brand. Here, with what is called a "lifestyle app", pay-by-phone functionality and free birthday rewards are all triggered to engage the customer past the point of the initial transaction and bridge the gap between the consumer and consistent loyalty to the brand.
An online news service responsible for filtering and disseminating information to its customer base is responsible for one of the most efficient engagement based loyalty programs so far: a share prize for most amount of social media traffic for an article. Basic engagement with the brand and its affiliates through social media traffic of any kind contributes to a raffle that gives a prize away every day. This type of effectiveness is crucial to a loyalty program with a relatively small direct consumer base.
Amazon Prime is featured on this list as an example similar to Starbucks, except to an even larger degree. With Amazon prime, the brand achieves a level of engagement that is effectively unsurpassed. Simple membership for any portion gives a series of other resources including free streaming video and music as well as a variety of others. With that type of exposure into a person's overall behaviors throughout the day, a consumer may interact with the brand more and more, possibly throughout the entire day.
While yes, American Express' small business Saturday promotion does act as a way to generate revenue for participating merchants through the American Express platform, the other element of small business Saturday is far more important. The volunteering element completely changes the level of engagement for the average brand aware consumer. During the event and throughout the year, people are mobilized around grassroots community actions from drumming up support on social media to handing out tote bags and other prizes in person during the event. All of these details make the small business Saturday promotion a great engagement-based loyalty event for users and non-users of the brand.
Sephora uses a traditional rewards program featuring points for purchases, but a series of other interactions with this tiered-rewards program can give the user access to free samples and beauty classes. Just by signing up, or doing a series of other digitally-based actions, the consumer can engage with the retailer before ever spending a dollar. Fostering a positive image of the store by bringing consumers in for in-store samples and tutorials give the actual location a form of social-currency and customer engagement.
To wrap it up, the examples of successful engagement-based loyalty programs work in a variety of forms and scopes of size and industry. Companies as large as American Express and as small as Gongshow apparel have used the presence of engagement, often over social media to utilize success. Truly, all of these companies prove that there is demonstrative evidence that simply just using transaction based actions to gain traction in a loyalty program is not enough to the modern consumer. Thanks for using Wonder! Please let us know if we can help with anything else!