Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on July 19, 2017.
When a merchant decides to start a loyalty program, they want to get everything right. From the types of rewards to offer to the perfect time to launch, they take the time to research everything they can about launching a loyalty program - as they should! This drive to succeed is what inspires us at Smile.io to maintain our blog and put put together an amazing resource center.
However, over the years I’ve noticed an interesting trend in merchants’ research. No matter how prepared they try to be, I find it amazing how many of them ignore one of the most important loyalty elements: their program’s name.
Ultimately, your program’s name is responsible for setting the tone for your shoppers and members. That means that you need to make it appealing so that shoppers actually want to join! A generic name like “My Points Program” just won’t cut it if you want your program to perform its best. Instead, you want to make it sound exclusive and exciting so that your customers actually want to take part in it.
To help get your creative juices flowing, I’m going to start with a few quick tips on naming your loyalty program. From there, we’ll look at a couple examples of program names I love.
Ready to take your naming game to the next level? Let’s get started!
Tips to Name a Loyalty Program
Before you put pen to paper, you should keep the following ideas in mind:
1. Loyalty Program Names Should Establish Emotion
Above everything else, you want your program’s name to create an emotion in your shoppers. After all, loyalty is an emotion your customers feel for your brand. The emotion your program’s name creates will influence your members’ perception of your program and help establish that long-lasting commitment to your store.
The trick is to inspire an emotion that aligns with your brand and the products you sell. If you have a “manly” brand, perhaps you want to inspire confidence with your program’s name. On the other hand, if you are a cosmetics company you might want your customers to think of elegance and beauty. No matter what type of products you sell, emotion is key to building a relationship with your shoppers.
3. Loyalty Program Names Should Incorporate the Currency
Customers will only want to join your rewards program if they believe it can deliver value. A strong currency can be instrumental in delivering on that promise. For example, a cosmetics company whose program offers “Beauty Bucks” sounds a lot more appealing than a competitor that rewards shoppers with “Beauty Points”. By putting value at the forefront of their program, the first brand is guaranteeing its members an exceptional experience that is satisfying and on-brand.
With this in mind, it’s clear that having a branded name for the points you issue is equally as important as the name you give your program. Both of these names work better when they are thought up together. A clear correlation will strengthen your program as a whole and help emphasize the value customers can expect to receive after joining.
Great Loyalty Program Names
In my opinion, a great loyalty program creates a desire to want to join. The best way to do that is with a program name that makes you feel like you are a part of something. These types of names create strong emotions within customers that keep them engaged and happy throughout every interaction.
With that in mind, I scoured the internet to find some of the best examples of our naming tips and tricks at play. So without further ado, here are 5 examples of loyalty program names that I think do a great job of not only creating community and interest but maintaining it, too.
D’Addario’s Players Circle
For those of you who aren’t familiar with D’Addario, they’re a world-renowned instrument and music accessories brand. Most popular for their guitar strings, D’Addario chose to name their loyalty program after their ideal customer: players.
This name works on two levels. For one, it explains the type of people that will benefit the most from participating in the program (players of instruments). It then pushes this categorization even further by adding an element of exclusivity with the word “Circle”. By using a circle, D’Addario is implying that the rewards program is only open to like-minded instrumentalists who take their craft and the instruments they use seriously. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that exclusive group of people?
As a name, Players Circle does an amazing job of both explaining who benefits from the loyalty program and creating the desire to join.
Gilt’s Gilt Insider
I actually love this loyalty program so much that I’ve written an entire article on it, and I think you will quickly figure out what I love about this program name.
The word Insider is extremely powerful. Like D’Addario’s Circle, it promises customers that if you join the program you will be ahead of the curve, better than the rest, and in the know. For these reasons, it does an outstanding job of creating exclusivity and a desire to join the program.
It also does an extremely good job of alluding to what you will get when you join. As a member, you’re guaranteed insider access to new products and promotions - something others won’t have access to. With this simple turn of phrase, Gilt has created a loyalty program that is both intriguing and gratifying, guaranteeing a high engagement rate and even higher rate of satisfaction.
GONGSHOW’s Gonger Nation Rewards Club
As a Canadian who loves hockey (I know, stereotypical) this is one of my all-time favorite loyalty program examples - and not just because of what they sell! From a loyalty strategy perspective, this program is extremely well set up, and a lot of it has to do with the name.
In hockey culture it is customary to take someone’s last name and add an “er” or a “y” to the end. For example, if your last name was Shultz, you would be called Shultzy. If your last name was Daum, you would be called Daumer.
As a brand that targets hockey players, this loyalty program’s name definitely helps with the appeal! Using the same naming convention, GONGSHOW’s “Gonger Nation Rewards Club” connects the target audience’s team experiences directly to the brand culture, making it an amazing loyalty program name example.
Sephora’s VIB ROUGE
You don’t need to be a makeup artist to have heard of this loyalty program. Sephora’s VIB Rouge is arguably the best loyalty program in the world, making it a fascinating retention marketing case study.
VIB stands for “Very Important Beauty”, playing on the concept of VIPs. In order to become a VIB, customers need to spend over $1,000 there in one calendar year. While this might seem like a steep “membership fee”, it also makes the program feel extremely elite.
This, combined with the VIB pun, is why so many people brag about becoming members. If you don’t believe me, just do a quick search on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for #VIBRouge and you’ll see what I mean. Who’d have thought people would brag so much about buying makeup?
Obviously the success of this program isn’t based purely only on its name, but I definitely think it’s a significant factor. For more information on its phenomenal success, check out our loyalty case study.
Vega’s Rad(ish) Rewards
There’s nothing better than a clever play on words! Vega is a Canadian-based health supplement company that focuses on plant-based supplements. That’s what makes their name so clever: rad is both a vegetable and another term for “good” or “cool”. With multiple levels, I think it is a brilliant name for the program!
While the Rad(ish) program does not focus on creating exclusivity, I think the name serves another purpose. Rad(ish) is amusing and unique enough to stir up interest and is extremely easy to remember. In addition, it plays to their target audience by referring to the products they sell and how they can make you feel. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s to the point which is pretty rad, if I do say so myself.
What Makes a Great Loyalty Program Name?
All in all, I think it’s clear that an amazing loyalty program name is one that’s related to both what you do and the brand you are trying to create. There is no one size fits all naming method because no one knows your store and brand like you do!
So just remember: be creative and establish the right emotion. Once you’ve achieved that, the rest will follow.