A VIP program is an amazing way to both show your best customers some extra appreciation, and to get your regular customers to pursue that status. The rewards you offer to these VIPs is important, but an often overlooked detail is the names you give your membership levels.
An effective name motivates your customers to achieve it and creates a sense of prestige when someone achieves it. This post will give you some real examples to draw inspiration from, and give you the steps to creating a catchy and effective tier name of your own.
3 Methods for Naming Your VIP Membership Levels
When building your VIP program, leave the name for last. Similar to naming your points currency, VIP membership levels should be aligned with your brand and should represent the value sought by your customers. Here are three things to consider when naming your VIP membership levels.
1. Reflect the Customer Journey
When developing the name of your levels, consider how the perception of your brand will change as customers rise through the ranks. With this strategy, name your first level something representative of the status-quo brand experience, and use higher level names to represent an exclusive and enhanced brand experience.
Starbucks does an excellent job doing this with their two-tiered rewards program. Customers start at the Green level, which represents Starbucks’ core brand color, and then progress to the Gold level, which represents a secret and exclusive Starbucks experience invisible to outsiders.
2. Consider Your Customers’ Ideal Self
Ask yourself this: who does your customer want to be, and how can you help them get there?
Understanding your customer’s dreams and desires is a powerful emotional element to consider when naming your membership levels. Progressing through your program should mirror a customer’s journey towards achieving their desired lifestyle/self.
Take the Elf Beauty Squad for example. This beauty brand attracts a customer base that tends to be interested in pop culture and celebrities. The program challenges every customer to achieve their own celebrity status by offering a 3-tiered program starting at Glow Getter, then to Rising Star, and finally to A-Lister. Elf effectively drives customer loyalty by challenging their customers to be their own celebrity.
3. Level Up With Your Product Line
If you have an extensive product line, naming your membership levels after your products could be the perfect way to encourage customers to experiment with your entire catalog.
Overtone, an innovative hair coloring solution, does just that with The Color Club. Their hair colors are available in Pastel, Vibrant, and Extreme, which just so happens to be the three levels of their program. As customers progress through the program, so will their comfort level in using bolder colors in their hair.
5 Real Examples of Catchy Names for VIP Membership Levels
1. Topps Now
Topps, a beloved maker of sports cards and memorabilia, has one of my favorite naming schemes. The Now Rewards program from Topps takes customers from Rookie, to All Star, to Hall of Fame, just like their favorite athletes. In addition to being well aligned with their brand, Topps’ membership levels strike an emotional chord with fans by reminding them of their favorite moments in sports.
Gamification is a huge element of a successful VIP program, and this program becomes a game with tiers that represent increasing recognition and honor. Even if you don’t play pro ball, you can still be a Hall of Fame’r with Topps.
2. e.l.f. Cosmetics: Beauty Squad
The Elf Beauty Squad is all about delivering the red carpet experience. Like other cosmetic and beauty rewards programs, the membership levels for the Beauty Squad represent increasing exclusivity, luxury, and respect. The VIP program is named in a way to tell the story of someone’s ascent to celebrity: starting at Glow Getter, then to Rising Star, and finally to A-Lister.
Glow Getter is a great first level because it’s a play on the term go-getter—someone who seeks out success with a positive attitude and strong willpower. The highest tier, A-Lister, completes that person seeking fame and success to their final destination as a recognized celebrity.
3. Starbucks Rewards
As a former Barista myself, I’ve seen countless customers journey down the caffeinated rabbit hole. It starts out casual with a latte here and there, but quickly becomes a daily ritual once they learn about the great perks of Starbucks Rewards.
The VIP experience at Starbucks closely mirrors the customer journey: from casual to fanatical. New members start out at the Green level, which represents the status-quo Starbucks experience: the green menu, the green apron, and the green logo.
On the other hand, the Gold status is a representation of the hidden treasure at Starbucks: free drinks, bonus point events, and other exclusive membership perks. Starbucks doubles down on the journey from Green to Gold by rewarding new Gold members with a personalized gold card. “Gold” is already a strong symbol of value and luxury, which is only amplified when contrasted with basic colors, such as green.
4. Overtone: The Color Club
Overtone sells color-depositing conditioners that deliver eye-popping hair color without the damaging effects of traditional dyes. Just like their rewards program, The Color Club, each color in Overtone’s product line is available in three incremental intensities: Pastel, Vibrant, and Extreme.
Overtone breaks away from the crowd by naming membership levels after their product line. Overtone’s pastel colors are more reserved, making Pastel a great first level name as it represents someone who is just getting into coloring their hair. Both Vibrant and Extreme are bolder and more saturated, making these an excellent level name for seasoned users of the product.
Naming membership levels after a product line can be a great way to cross-promote products and to encourage members to experiment with your catalogue. In Overtone’s case, it’s the perfect match for their tiered approach hair coloring products.
5. Inkbox: The Tribe
The ink found in Inkbox’s 2-week tattoos originates from the jungles of Panama where it has been used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes. Inkbox preserves this legacy by telling the story of its product’s origin with their rewards program The Tribe.
Inkbox’s rewards tiers are structured as a simple story: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3. As the story unfolds for members, they are introduced to more elements of Panamian tribal culture. Starting in Chapter 2, customers are given free authentic artwork from Panama with every order. Once they reach Chapter 3, customers will gain access to the Inkbox merch store, where they can take their pick of their favorite Panamanian designs.
This naming schemes works on many levels. For starters, it is dead easy for new members to understand since they are numbered. Most importantly, the program shows respect and appreciation for those who inspired their venture. In addition to educating their members about Panamanian culture, Inkbox has also set up the Darién Initiative in order to give back to the community.
Naming Your VIP Membership Levels?
There’s no one size fits all method for naming your VIP membership levels. Nonetheless, playing on brand and customer emotion remains an effective tactic. Whether it comes from customer nostalgia, aspirations, or our respect for others, the power of emotion remains important to a creative and catchy name.
You are the best person to create a name for your brand. Use these examples and our three naming tips and you will come up with some amazing names. Let us know if you need any help or want to brag about your awesome names!