How to Create a Loyalty Brand for Your Rewards Program

July 14, 2016
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Any marketing initiative that your store engages in is an extension of your brand. You want the communication and offers to be consistent with what your brand ultimately stands for. This can be the language, colors, and even fonts that are used. A loyalty program should be treated the same way – it should be on brand!

Your loyalty program should not be a stand alone entity on your site or an afterthought, if you will. It should be integrated into the look of your store and become an extension of your brand. In this post we will go over how to make sure you create a loyalty program that is not only on brand, but becomes a recognizable component of it.

 

Integrating Your Loyalty Program Into Your Store’s Brand

Creating a loyalty program that fits into an existing brand is easy, if you have the right tools at your disposal. Apps like Smile.io allow you to easily add elements to your program that make it seem like it is part of your store’s brand, not a stand alone marketing initiative.

Here are a few tips to make your loyalty program match your store:

1. Choose Your Brand Color

The easiest way to make something recognizably yours, is to make it your brand color. Not only does this make something “yours”, it also makes it fit into the look of your store much better.

loyalty brand maca homepage

When choosing a color, you also want that color to pop. This way, your rewards program stands out. In the example above, The Maca Team has selected a brand color that also stands out on the page. The rewards tab looks as though it was built into the design of the site even though it was added in after.

2. Show Off What Makes You…You

Every brand/store has something that makes them unique. Maybe you are the only store that offers free samples with every purchase, or maybe you have the largest selection of any store that sells in your industry. Regardless of what makes your brand unique, you should be trying to showcase that in your loyalty program’s branding.

loyalty brand bottlekeeper

Above is an example from BottleKeeper. They have a unique product that allows you to keep a bottle of beer ice cold. This product is not easy to visualize since it is so unique. That is why BottleKeeper posts a bunch of photos of the product in action, as well as diagrams to show you how you can fit a bottle inside a cooler.

Innovative beer technology is at the heart of who they are as a brand. That is why they have included a visual explanation of how the product works in their loyalty program as well. All around, BottleKeeper is a great ecommerce success story. You can read about how they use Smile.io in their founder’s piece on Entrepreneur.

3. Reward Actions That Are On Brand

When you first start your loyalty program, there is an urge to just reward points for everything possible. I urge you to fight this for a couple of reasons. The first is that launching in stages gives you more opportunities to market your program. The second is that what you reward for should be determined by your store’s brand.

If you are a very transactional business (think wholesaler) you may not want to be rewarding points for sharing on Twitter or following on Instagram. Not only will your customers likely not engage in it, but it could also damage your brand. However, if you are a very social and community-focused brand, you can benefit from these types of rewards.

loyalty brand funny fur

In the example above, Funny Fur is rewarding points for a host of actions like referrals, social shares, and customer birthdays. This makes sense for them. They are a brand that is focused around creating a community of pet lovers. Rewarding for these actions is on brand for them and encourages customers to share and engage with the brand on a social level, not just a transactional one.

These three tips are great for integrating your loyalty program into your existing brand. But what if you want to create a brand around your loyalty program? Keep reading for three tips to make a program a brand of its own.

 

Creating a Brand For Your Loyalty Program

If you look at some of the best examples of loyalty in existence, they seem to have a brand built around their loyalty program as opposed to simply integrating it into an existing one. This is a great way to make your loyalty program stand out. The best example of this is Sephora’s VIB program.

loyalty brand sephora example

They have created a sub-brand around the loyalty program and more specifically the highest tier, VIB Rouge. They have crazed fans bragging about spending $1,000 every year. We can learn a lot from Sephora’s program and building a loyalty brand. Here are 3 easy tips to develop a brand for your loyalty program.

1. Give Your Program a Unique Name

“Your Store’s Loyalty Program”… that does not have a good ring to it. If you want to create a loyalty brand, you need to give your program a unique name. This will make your program stand out against your competitors and against other loyalty programs your customers are a part of.

loyalty brand evys tree example

Above is the name of Evy’s Tree’s loyalty program, Who’s Hoo Rewards. This a great name for their loyalty program for two reasons. The first is that it establishes an emotion. Who’s Hoo makes the program sound prestigious. If you want to be important, you better join this loyalty program! The second is that it’s related to the brand of the company. The Evy’s Tree mascot is an owl. The program name is also a clever play on words.

Naming a program is not easy, so I recommend taking some time to think about it! If you would like some help, take a look at our video on how to come up with a name. You can also look at my favorite loyalty program names.

2. Create a Loyalty Currency

Your loyalty currency is what people will earn when they engage with your loyalty program. Many older programs just call this currency “points”, however this is very old-school and does not excite your customers.

Instead of calling your points just “points”, give them a name that establishes value and relates back to your store’s brand. One of my favorite examples of this is JerkyXP.

loyalty brand jerkyxp

JerkyXP creates jerky snacks that are targeted towards gamers. That is why they call their currency “XP.” Not only does it relate back to the store, but also has meaning to their target audience. Most online games require you to collect XP (experience) to level up, and so does their loyalty program!

If you need some help naming your currency, you can check out 5 examples of loyalty currencies done right.

3. Develop a Loyalty Logo

At the center of every great brand is a great logo! If you want your loyalty program to truly stand out, you should create a logo for it. This logo should be similar to your brand/store logo, but recognizably different. Let me illustrate with an example.

loyalty brand spearhead examples

This is the loyalty pop up on Spearhead’s site. Notice the logo at the top. The program is called “On Point Rewards” and has its own logo. The logo is different from the store logo, but is similar enough to know they are related. The spearhead icon is the secondary logo element for the company and makes a great addition to the loyalty program logo.

If you create these three elements for your loyalty program, you will have created a loyalty program brand that your customers will recognize and tell their friends about.

 

Bringing It All Together

If you follow all 6 steps above you will create an amazing looking loyalty program. Not only will it look good, it will also be recognizable. Customers will remember your program, and since it is so unique will be more willing to share and tell their friends.

Here is an example of the complete package:

loyalty brand trumatcha

This example from Trumatcha illustrates all the points we have covered (except for one). They have selected color for both the pop up and loyalty tab that match the brand of the site and also stand out. The program also reflects what they stand for… pure and simple! The program is streamlined and elegant, just like their product offerings.

Trumatcha is also rewarding for actions that are on brand, without being overwhelming. They have created an awesome rewards program name (“trurewards”) and created a sweet custom logo for the program.

The only suggestion I have to make this program perfect would be to change the name of the currency from points. But other than that, there you have it! Follow these steps and examples to create an on brand loyalty experience, or even create a separate brand for your loyalty program.