Why are so many loyalty and reward programs just plain dull?

I suspect it‘s because those brands have focussed so hard on what they want to get out of the program that they have forgotten about customers!

I once received an offer from a credit card company that required me to undertake the equivalent of a double pike with a twist. “Use your card this month, spend more than $500 and then you’ll receive double points when you use the card next month”. Confused – why would you even bother?

And it’s worse when you visit some stores. Being incessantly badgered for your FlyBuys or Everyday Rewards card can be a real turn off. Sales staff are clearly being incentivised to ask for the card. How about incentivising them to provide exceptional service? Now that would increase my loyalty.

Humans are social beings, most of us like to interact with others, tell a joke and generally enjoy life. So why do marketers ignore this in their marketing in general and with loyalty efforts in particular?

Personality is a big part of what makes brands live. ANZ ‘s recent ‘Falcon’ anti-fraud campaign managed to cut-through in a sea of boring bank ads. Why won’t they try and inject some personality into their reward programs too?

Social media provides an exciting way to interact and put some fun back into communication. Using Facebook, for instance, can enable your members to share information and generally be social with your brand as the backdrop. And that doesn’t take into account the listening post that such an approach provides your business – real time unfiltered customer feedback.

So how can you reignite that loyalty spark?

  • Show your personality: Does it resonate with your customers? Does it have a fun side? Not sure what it is? If not, uncover it, and make sure you relax a little with your customers. A unique personality and point of view can be a real differentiator – Virgin is an exemplar in that regard.
  • Treat it like a game: Collecting points, earning credits and climbing tiers is just a big game of snakes and ladders. A well-structured program should be rewarding your best customers and incentivising others to spend more. So why not treat it like a game? What do you like most when playing games? Laughter, unexpected twists and, of course, winning! Four Square, is a great example of a loyalty as a game, as, amongst other things, you can be crowned mayor of your favourite venue.
  • Keep it fresh: Loyalty cards long ago crowded out people’s wallets. Most brands, from the biggest department store to the smallest coffee shop, have some form of program. What are you doing to get front of mind and therefore front of wallet? Are your offers relevant and fresh – or is it just another ‘50% off VIP event’?

So basically, what are you doing to have more fun?