Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on November 15, 2018.
When you decide to start a loyalty program, you want to get everything right. From the types of rewards you offer to when you actually launch, you take the time to research everything you can, and why shouldn’t you? You want to get it right the first time, and looking at what others are doing will help you do that.
However, over the years I’ve noticed an interesting trend in how most brands do research. No matter how prepared they try to be, many of them seem to ignore one of the most important rewards experience elements: their program’s name.
Ultimately, your program’s name is responsible for setting the tone for your shoppers and members. It can be the difference between a customer choosing to join your brand community or shop somewhere else. That means 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.
So how do you do that? To help get your creative juices flowing, I’m going to start with a few quick tips on naming your loyalty program and then tell you about 5 of my all-time favorite program names.
Let’s take your naming game to the next level!
How to properly name a loyalty program
When it comes to naming your rewards program, there are 2 big ideas you need to keep in mind.
1. Establish an emotion
Above everything else, you want your program’s name to evoke an emotion in your shoppers. There are two reasons for that. For starters, 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.
Secondly, emotions are one of the best ways to encourage customers to join your brand community. In a world where customers are looking to connect with brands on a deeper level, what you name your program can go a long way to making them feel like your community is exactly where they want to be.
The trick is to inspire an emotion that aligns with your brand and the products you sell. If your brand targets male shoppers, 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.
2. Incorporate your loyalty program currency
Customers will only want to join your rewards program if they believe it can deliver value. This is why an amazing rewards currency can be instrumental in delivering on that promise.
For example, a cosmetics company who offers customers “Beauty Bucks” as part of their “Beauty Bucks Boutique” program sounds a lot more appealing than a competitor that rewards shoppers with “Beauty Points” for joining their “Rewards Program”. 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.
When you incorporate your currency into your program name, you build a clear connection between the value you’re promising and the value you’re going to deliver. This correlation will strengthen your program as a whole and help emphasize the value customers can expect to receive after joining your brand community.
The best loyalty program names
Now that you know how to effectively name your loyalty program, it’s time to show you what that looks like out in the wild. Every great rewards program is able to create the desire to join, engage, and share, and the following 5 examples do a great job of not only creating community 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.
Workout Empire's Sassy Army
From the moment you land on Workout Empire’s explainer page, you can immediately tell that their brand community is made up of bold, sassy women who want to look good and work hard. This is echoed in their program name. With the word “army,” the athletic wear brand prompts visions of powerful women banding together as one strong, close-knit group that can tackle anything together. This is extremely appealing for their target customer and immediately motivates women everywhere to want to be a part of it.
They’ve also done a phenomenal job of incorporating their brand currency into their program name. As you can see in that screenshot, theirs is a “loyalty program that runs on Sass Cash.” Not only is that a clever currency name, but it also perfectly ties the two elements together and creates a cohesive, branded rewards experience.
With value and a strong sense of community at the forefront of their program, Workout Empire’s loyalty program is one that every fitness enthusiast will want to be a part of.
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 is Shultz you would be called Shultzy, and if your last name is Daum you would be Daumer.
As a brand that targets hockey players, this loyalty program’s name is 100% tailored to the type of person they want in their brand community. With their own hockey stories and experiences to share, GONGSHOW’s customers can’t wait to join a loyalty program that reflects their own interests and understands them on a more personal level. As an extension of the brand’s culture, the Gonger Nation Rewards Club is a great example of how to name a loyalty program for a specific, passionate audience.
Sephora's VIB Rouge
Whether you’re a makeup artist or not, you’ve probably heard about Sephora’s loyalty program. That’s because their VIB Rouge program is arguably the best loyalty program in the world, making it the perfect example to learn from.
The acronym VIB is what makes this name so outstanding. VIB stands for “Very Important Beauty,” playing on the concept of VIPs. This fits perfectly with Sephora’s three-tiered program structure which requires customers to spend over $1,000 per year to unlock the coveted VIB title. While this might seem like a steep “membership fee,” it also makes the program feel extremely elite which is hugely motivating for their target customer.
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.
Teddy the Dog's Top Dog Rewards
There are few things I love as much as a good pun, which is why Teddy the Dog’s fun and furry rewards program makes it onto the list of best program names. With three prestigious VIP tiers (appropriately named House Broken, Divine Canine, and Pack Leader), Teddy the Dog’s program name lets customers know that by joining their community, they’ll be counted among the best of the best pet owners. In other words, they’ll be one of the top dogs!
By making their program name clever and fun, Teddy the Dog has made their program easy to remember and even easier to recognize. With adorable pups and the opportunity to “earn bones, get treats” on their explainer page, customers can easily see the value of joining their community and appreciate the close connection between what they sell and how they’ve branded their program.
The key to 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 community you are trying to build. When you establish the right emotion and relate your program to your brand, the rest will follow (specifically more loyal, engaged customers).