If you’re at all familiar with The Hunger Games, you probably know that Haymitch Abernathy doesn’t always give great advice. However, he does say one thing that has stuck with me since I first read the books as a teenager: while Katniss Everdeen is preparing to go and show the judges what she’s capable of, Haymitch stops her and reminds her to “make sure they remember you”.
While ecommerce might not be quite the bloodbath that the Hunger Games was for the residents of Panem, the increasing competition does require merchants in every industry to stay on their toes. Finding a new balance between acquisition and retention marketing is crucial to staying afloat, and rewards programs are a hugely beneficial tool for maintaining that balance.
But simply having a rewards program isn’t enough. Chances are, your competitors have considered starting a loyalty program as well, making your program another in a long line of available options. So how do you combat this volatile climate? By remembering Haymitch’s advice: you need to make sure customers remember you.
What’s In a (Reward Currency) Name?
One of the best ways to make your rewards program memorable is through effective branding. Incorporating your brand’s colours, logos, and product images is a great place to start, but you can go even further by considering how you’ve named your program’s currency. Calling your loyalty points “points” puts your program in danger of becoming generic, leaving your brand at risk of flying under your customers’ radar.
We’ve talked about how to name your points in the past, outlining how to make your program stand out in a sea of cookie-cutter loyalty schemes. While these recommendations still apply, I really want to hammer home how impactful your currency name can be, and the best way to do that is with a couple of examples.
Throughout my time as a loyalty marketing specialist, I’ve come across a number of creative reward points names. From puns to brand-specific references, there are many merchants out there who have truly embraced and exemplified what it means to take your rewards currency to the next level. I’ve gathered up 8 of my favorites to share with you here, and hope you’ll be inspired to apply some of these concepts to your own program.
Without further ado, let’s see who made the cut.
1. Glow Recipe’s Glow Miles
Currency Name: Glow Miles
Glow Recipe is one of my all-time favourite rewards programs (and I’m not just saying that because they work with Smile.io). From the second you land on their website, you’re treated to a branded experience from top-to-bottom, with their program leading the charge.
As a beauty brand, Glow Recipe is looking to evoke ideas of beauty, radiance, and health. Keeping the word “glow” in their reward points name is a great way for these ideas to transfer to their program, while also keeping a strong tie to the other elements of their brand.
The use of the word “Miles” is also entirely appropriate, as their customers are shopping from all over the world. This travel theme is also evident in the way they’ve structured their customer tiers. As customers move through the Glow-Getter, Glow-Jetter, and Glow First levels of the program, they’re treated to a first-class branded rewards experience that feels luxurious, special, and elite. This 360 degree rewards experience demonstrates the strength of their currency’s name as well as their prowess at designing an outstanding customer experience.
2. Seed to Serum’s Seeds
Currency Name: Seeds
When I discovered Seed to Serum’s Loyalty Garden, I was utterly enchanted by the simple yet impactful name for their loyalty points: Seeds. As a plants-based apothecary, the word “Seeds” reflects the values of their brand, tying it into the customer experience seamlessly. With these ideas at the forefront of their program, they know that they’re rewarding like-minded customers and breeding a strong sense of community.
I also love the way it fits into the overarching “garden” theme of the program. Planting seeds is a perfect metaphor for the development of customer loyalty, as it’s not an overnight process. This strong visual demonstrates how willing they are to invest in their relationships with customers, creating a sense of trust and security that wouldn’t exist if they were simply awarding “points”.
3. Retro Active’s Tokins
Currency Name: Tokins
I’ve always loved a good pun. Maybe it’s because my dad’s the type to laugh uproariously at the lamest play-on-words, but regardless Retro Active’s currency is an extremely clever nod to their brand’s culture. It’s also hilarious – when I first read it I actually laughed out loud, and couldn’t wait to find out more about their program. That initial hook is extremely important and can have a profoundly positive impact on your customers’ engagement.
Tokins is more than just a funny currency name, though. The fact that it’s short and sweet also makes it very easy to remember, guaranteeing that customers will think of Retro Active first when considering all of their past vape shop experiences. Combining this memorability with the relaxed, stress-free vibe of their products makes their program so much more appealing and a lot less daunting, increasing the likelihood of customers signing up before completing their first purchase.
4. Starbucks’ Stars
Currency Name: Stars
Who’d have thought something as simple as Gold Stars would have such an impact on the customer experience? Since the debut of Starbucks Rewards, customers have been driven to collect the coffee mogul’s shiny, five-pointed symbol of customer loyalty and they show no signs of stopping.
So what makes it so successful? Ultimately I think it’s impacted by two things. Firstly, it looks and feels valuable. Gold is often associated with wealth, luxury, and money, making it a strong visual reminder of the value customers are gaining by participating in the program. Secondly, Stars are a universally understood way of recognizing success. Small children are often rewarded with stars for good behavior or learning their lessons at a very early age, reinforcing the concept of stars as a symbol for excellence.
These two factors combine to create a one-two punch rewards currency that makes customers feel special and creates the desire to earn more. Whether you’re a Starbucks fan or not, you can’t deny that they’re the one of the original masterminds behind effective reward points names.
5. Pixi Beauty’s Pixi Dust
Currency Name: Pixi Dust
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Peter Pan, so it should come as no surprise that Pixi Beauty’s Pixi Dust made it onto this list. Bias aside, this is still an excellent example of how to keep your reward points engaging. Even though Pixi Beauty has nothing to do with the popular culture concept of pixie dust, they were able to draw on the whimsical nature of these associations to create a loyalty currency that feels fun and spirited.
With Pixi Dust, Pixi Beauty connects their rewards program to ideas of fantasy and beauty that adds a little bit of magic to the earning and redemption process. This small differentiator – and their beautiful explainer page – is enough to make them stand out from the crowd.
6. Frostbeard Studio’s Pages
Currency Name: Pages
As soon as you land on Frostbeard Studio’s homepage, you know who their target customers are. References to books and the joy of reading are everywhere, including their rewards program.
Aptly named the BIBLIOPHILE Rewards Program, Frostbeard Studios rewards their customers with Pages for completing a variety of actions. This is a very clever way of connecting the satisfaction of earning a reward to reading an amazing book. Being a booklover myself, I can tell you how good it feels to read a couple of chapters and see how much closer you are to finishing another good (or bad) book. This strong correlation between the customer’s and brand’s values creates a rewards experience that’s enjoyable and truly feels rewarding.
7. Caribou Coffee’s Perks
Currency Name: Perks
When you hear the word “perks”, you probably think of “benefits” or “extras”. This is typically how perks are understood in a customer-brand relationship. With Caribou Coffee, however, it takes on an additional meaning. As a coffee company, their products also give customers a boost, adding another dimension to their seemingly simple reward points.
This clever connection is what makes this punny currency so strong. With Perks, Caribou Coffee is clearly communicating the benefits of their products and being a member all at once, placing emphasis on value that’s easy to understand. In addition, it also took a page from Retro Active Smoke Shop’s book and designed a currency that’s easy to remember. By using a pun that’s so directly related to their brand, Caribou Coffee has ensured their customers will never forget where to go when they need a little pick-me-up.
8. Rad Soap Co.’s SUD Money
Currency Name: SUD Money
There are few words that hold as much power as “money”. Whether they’re saving it or spending it, customers are very preoccupied with how much money they have and are always looking for opportunities to make more of it.
The Rad Soap Co. clearly understood this motivation when naming their reward points. Once again puns are reigning supreme, but this time the biggest draw is their attention to what motivates their customers. Including the word “money” in their currency name put an additional value on their loyalty points that would not exist otherwise. Now, when customers are rewarded for making a purchase or completing another profitable action, they’re given “money” that can be used to get them more in the future. This clearly communicates the benefit of signing up for their program and creates a greater desire to do so.
This currency is also very clever because it’s not limited to any area of the world. While a word like “bucks” or “dollars” would only be relevant to certain areas of commerce, the concept of “money” is universally understood, giving it the same weight for any customer regardless of where they live. This international appeal is something money can’t buy (pun fully intended).
The Power of Naming Your Reward Points
Whether it’s through puns, clarity of vision, or brand culture, each of these brands have developed a name for their reward points that speaks to who they are as a business. From food and beverage brands to beauty retailers, these currencies have helped shape each of these rewards programs into switching costs that are very hard for customers to ignore.
So whether you’re just getting started with rewards or giving an existing program a facelift, make sure you take the time necessary to develop a strong name that appropriately represents your brand. After all, your currency name could be your first (and last) impression – make it count!