Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 14, 2016 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on June 26, 2019.
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 an afterthought on your site. 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 standalone 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 it make it recognizable, but it also fits into your overall store image better.
When choosing a color, you also want that color to pop. This way, your rewards program stands out. In the example above, Noughty Haircare has chosen a brand color that pops on the page. As a result, their program launcher looks as though it was built into the design of the site instead of looking like an add-on. They’ve also chosen an eye-catching photo for their banner image, making their program stand out even more on every page of their website.
2. Show off what makes you unique
Every brand/store has something that makes them unique. Maybe you’re the only store that offers free samples with every purchase, or maybe you have the largest product selection of any store in your industry. Regardless of what makes your brand unique, you should be trying to showcase that in your loyalty program’s branding.
Spectrum’s explainer page is a great example of this idea at work. Their makeup brushes are known for coming in a wild array of colors, and this comes through in the design of their program page. By including pictures of their products, they’re able to showcase the appeal of their unique brushes. This also allows them to tie their rewards program into the rest of their site, treating customers to a seamless rewards experience that perfectly complements the rest of their time onsite.
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 (like a 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.
In the example above, Diesel Power Gear is rewarding points for a host of actions like referrals, social shares, and customer birthdays. Since they are a brand that is focused on creating a community of truck lovers, these earning actions make sense for them. Rewarding for these actions encourages customers to share and engage with the brand on a social level as opposed to just a transactional one, strengthening their brand appeal and the community associated with it.
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
While you can always integrate your rewards program into your existing brand strategy, the best loyalty programs have built an independent brand around their program. This is a great way to make your loyalty program stand out. The best example of this is Sephora’s VIB program.
They have created a sub-brand around the loyalty program and more specifically the highest tier, VIB Rouge. As a result, they have crazed fans bragging about spending $1,000 every year and looking forward to doing it again in the future!
With this type of excitement as proof, it's obvious that we can learn a lot from Sephora’s program and building a loyalty brand. Here are 3 easy tips to help you develop a brand for your own loyalty program.
1. Give your program a unique name
“Your Store’s Loyalty Program” 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.
Cuvee Beauty has done an incredible job of this with their Champagne Lounge loyalty program. This a great name for their loyalty program for two reasons. For starters, it establishes an emotion. "Champagne lounge" evokes ideas of a VIP experience, making the program sound prestigious. If you want to be important, you better join this loyalty program!
Secondly, their program's name is clearly related to the products they sell. As a beauty brand that sells champagne-infused hair products, "Champagne Lounge" is also a clever play on words that connects their entire brand experience together.
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 incredibly old-school and doesn’t 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 Bulk Nutrients.
Bulk Nutrients is a brand that sells health and workout supplements. As a result, they’ve cleverly branded their rewards currency as “Whey Cool Points”. Since whey protein is their best selling product, it’s both a clever play on words and directly relevant to their brand experience. This attention to detail makes the experience of earning rewards points even more fun and engaging for workout enthusiasts!
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.
Bliss has added a personal touch to their loyalty experience by creating a rewards logo specifically for their program launcher. This ribbon symbol is different from their store logo but minimal enough to know they are related. This small detail is a great addition and makes a huge difference to their loyalty program’s overall look and feel.
Bringing it all together
We’ve covered a lot of things in a short period of time, so in order to help you visualize what a strong loyalty brand looks like, here is an example of the complete package:
Glow Recipe’s Glow Miles program illustrates all the points we previously covered. They’ve selected colors for their program launcher and customer panel that matches the rest of their site, as well as giving rewards for actions that are on-brand and valuable.
They’ve even gone above and beyond by customizing all their VIP tier icons. These elements, combined with their unique, brand-inspired “Glow Miles” currency ensures that the program is memorable and creative in the eyes of their customers.
If you follow these 6 steps, you will build an amazing looking loyalty program. Not only that, it will also be recognizable enough that customers will remember your program be more willing to share with their friends.