A VIP program is an amazing way to encourage every member of your community to engage with your brand. Not only does it show your best customers some extra appreciation, but it can also motivate your regular customers to pursue that elevated status.
When it comes to actually building a VIP program, the conversation too often stops at the topic of which rewards you offer. While the perks and rewards you offer your VIPs is important, an often overlooked detail is the names you give your membership levels.
Your VIP tier names are important for motivating your customers to achieve the highest status.
An effective name not only motivates your customers to achieve it but also 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 you need to create catchy and effective tier names that reflect your own brand.
3 methods for naming your VIP membership levels
When it comes to naming your VIP tiers, you want each one to be clearly connected to your brand. Similar to naming your points currency, you want each membership level to clearly represent the value your customers are looking for as a member of your program.
Here are three things to consider when naming your VIP membership levels.
1. Reflect your customer journey
You can easily make your VIP tiers increasingly more valuable by choosing names that reflect how the perception of your brand will change as customers rise through the ranks. Naming your first level as something representative of the status-quo brand experience sets you up to name each higher level something that represents more of an enhanced brand experience.
Simons does an excellent job of this with their three-tiered The Simons Loyalty program. Customers work their way from ‘Enthusiasts’, to ‘Conoissours,’ to ‘Insiders’ through this program. Simons uses human-centered photography as well as vibrant colors to make their program fit their brand. They also leverage their products by showing an elevation in style for each VIP tier. Enthusiasts are dressed in an every-day, comfortable attire while Insiders are dressed to impress. The name Insiders indicates a more exclusive Simons experience not available to outsiders. It’s all about the status its loyalty program gives off to customers.
2. Consider your customers’ ideal self
Understanding your customer’s dreams, motivations, and desires is a powerful emotional motivator to consider when naming your membership levels. Ask yourself this: who does your customer want to be, and how can you help them get there? Progressing through your program should mirror a customer’s journey towards achieving their desired lifestyle/self.
Take Club Roolee for example, from apparel company Roolee. This brand attracts a customer base that wants to stand out from the crowd as fashion icons (literally). The program challenges every customer to achieve their own exclusive status by moving them from being an Insider to a Trend Setter, and then a Style Muse to an Icon. With these names, Club Roolee effectively drives customer loyalty by challenging their customers to get red-carpet-ready as fashion icons.
3. Level up with your product line
If you have an extensive product line, naming your membership levels after your products is the perfect way to encourage customers to experiment with your entire catalog.
The Singer Featherweight Shop does just that with their Featherweight Sewciety. As a sewing and quilt supply store, they chose tier names inspired by how skilled their customers would be at each stage in their customer journey. New, more novice customers are known as Stitchery Friends, who can then advance to becoming a Patchwork Pal and then, eventually, a Quilting Confidante.
By combining both the type of craft they’re capable of and different levels of intimacy, Singer Featherweight’s VIP tiers reflect the investment members have made in not just their products but their relationship with the brand, as well.
5 real examples of catchy names for VIP membership levels
1. Topps’ Topps Now
Topps is a beloved maker of sports cards and memorabilia, and just so happens to have one of our favorite naming schemes as well. The Now Rewards program 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. This makes it a desirable community to join, and starts building lasting emotional relationships with customers as soon as they create an account.
These tier names are only one example of how effectively Topps uses gamification throughout their program. These cleverly crafted names, alongside each of their engagement actions, turns program membership into a game with increasing recognition and honor. Even if you don’t play pro ball, you can still be a Hall of Fame’r with Topps.
2. Judith Bright’s Bright Rewards
Judith Bright’s Bright Rewards is all about delivering a shiny and sparkling customer experience. Like other jewelry rewards programs, Bright Rewards leverages social status as a way of creating additional value and motivating customers to take part in their program. Their VIP program allows customers to move from a Minirock to a Rockstar by earning more Gems as they shop more.
Judith Bright uses a clever naming technique by playing on the word “rock” as another term for diamonds and gems. Their final tier name Rockstar is great because it incorporates the term rock, but it also evokes the double meaning of being a rockstar when you reach that level. This allows Judith Bright’s best customers to feel elite and special when they reach the top. Bright Rewards is a great example of some VIP membership level names that totally rock.
3. Teddy the Dog’s Top Dogs Rewards Program
One of the first things you do when you get a new puppy is enroll it in obedience school. As your dog learns new tricks and commands, they progress through a series of levels until they can graduate, certified as a “top dog” among their furry friends.
Teddy the Dog appropriately incorporated this journey into their Top Dogs VIP program, choosing tier names that closely mirror a dog’s journey through obedience school. Starting as merely House Broken and ending as a coveted Pack Leader, customers can earn Bones for successfully completing a number of different actions at their store.
As they move up in the program, customers are able to earn Bones at an accelerated pace, earning rewards quicker than those in the lower tiers. Just like obedience school, Teddy the Dog has set up an experience that not only rewards those with good behavior but also strengthens the emotional connection between each member and their brand.
By closely connecting each member’s beloved pets to their rewards program, Teddy the Dog allows members to share their experience with their pets (who are their best customers, after all!).
4. Jimmy Joy’s Rewards
Dutch health food brand, Jimmy Joy is committed to making their customers feel their best - and their loyalty program is no different. Their social media perfectly reflects their brand and is filled with vibrant colors, quirky characters and user-generated content to make them more relatable. As with most meal replacement brands, they heavily rely on reviews, which is why Jimmy Joy has successfully leveraged a referral rewards program. But they don’t stop there.
Jimmy Joy’s VIP rewards program effectively illustrates the different phases customers go through with their brand. As a goofy, out-of-the-box brand, Jimmy Joy lets customers evolve from an Earthling to an Astronaut and then eventually to a Time Traveler by earning Time Tokens. In an industry with such high purchase frequency, Jimmy Joy motivates customers to stick with them by giving them a silly, memorable, on-brand status to achieve.
By including amusing illustrations with each tier, Jimmy Joy can help customers visualize the benefits of graduating to a higher membership level. With VIP tier names like these, they’ll have customers engaged and retained in no time.
5. The Wrap Life
The Wrap Life is a Black-owned business that celebrates Black women through the various images, videos, and illustrations on their website. This head wrap brand is inspired by West African expressions of headdresses and encourages customers of various backgrounds to shop with them to express their true selves through their products. These brand values come through immediately when customers land on their Unwrap Rewards program explainer page filled with bright, colorful illustrations.
For The Wrap Life the name of the game is winning the naming game. For starters, Unwrap Rewards is an extremely clever and effective loyalty program name that ties together their brand name and the idea of unwrapping a valuable gift. They bring it a step further with their VIP membership level names. As a brand that is all about celebrating diversity and self-expression, Maker, Trailblazer, and Visionary perfectly define who their customers aspire to be. These names align with the brand’s core values of creativity, uniqueness, and diversity.
With inspirational descriptions of each tier, The Wrap Life is the perfect example of a brand whose program tier names reflect their customer’s ideal self.
Naming your VIP membership levels
While no two brands are the same, there are a couple of naming tactics that can work for any VIP program. Whether it comes from customer nostalgia, aspirations, or our respect for others, the power of emotion is one of the best tools at your disposal when designing creative and catchy VIP membership-level names.
At the end of the day, you are the best person to create VIP tier names for your brand — no one knows your brand better than you! Use these examples and our three naming tips and you are sure to come up with some amazing names that are sure to be remembered.
Let us know if you need any help or want to brag about your awesome names!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2021 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on January 23, 2023.