More than a loyalty program, or gamification for special assignments

E-mails, notifications, reminders, news. Coming at you from all sides. Everywhere you are. Not so long ago, information was worth one’s weight in gold. Today, we are trying to cut ourselves off from it. The human brain is not capable of processing all the information that reaches our senses. Instead, people have developed an ability to filter out advertising messages and the communication noise. What does it all mean for brands? Engagement crisis. Loyalty programs have become very popular these days — to such an extent that we get loyalty cards and points everywhere. The result? People don’t care anymore. Check out the reason why below.

Not the way to go

Let’s start with the basics. How does a loyalty program work in simple terms? In our wallets we often carry a deck of cards received upon past purchases. Sometimes, when asked at the cash register, we take one of them out and give it the cashier to award us points — the points we don’t even perceive as an actual benefit. Which means engagement crisis is alive and kicking.

One of the elementary mistakes made when planning a customer program is replicating established patterns. By doing so, we will surely not be able to break through the torrent of information. The way to the attention of a modern consumer is off the beaten track.

Secondly, it is necessary to verify the target of our marketing strategy. We want to gain loyal customers — meaning who exactly? Is a loyal customer the one who regularly spends money on our products? Not really. Today, a client worth fighting for is the one who appreciates your brand, has positive associations with it and will be ready to recommend it to their family and friends. Such a consumer will raise the profits of your business without even opening their wallet.

Finally, the traditional model of rewarding customers — not much successful in the face of the pervasive information overload — is about giving points in return for money spent. And what if we rewarded them for various activities related to keeping in touch with our brand instead? Gamification comes with a solution for that.

You can do better

Why is gamification bound to be more successful than all cards put together? One of the reasons is that it creates an area where your brand can build valuable relationships with its consumers. It is much more than just a standard exchange in a loyalty program: money spent = points on the card. The key here is fun — the pleasure the consumer takes from interacting with the brand. It is worthwhile to reward various activities customers undertake. The relationship can be built successfully on the basis of social media. Tag our brand on Facebook. Invite your friends to the game. Add a hashtag to your photo on Instagram. Download the mobile application and collect points for kilometers traveled. Such activities have much viral potential.

Another attractive form of customer engagement is inviting them to co-create the brand. How? With challenges! Allow your customers to create their own extraordinary ice cream flavor in your café or design an original print for T-shirts available in your store. Consumers need clear rules, creative challenges and unusual rewards. A well-designed gamification project, founded on absorbing storytelling, allows room for keeping a truly engaging communication with your clients.

It’s worth fighting for

Competitive offers, promotions, dedicated solutions, and the overabundance of advertising content — all of this makes finding your way to the customer with your brand message a truly onerous task. It sounds like a special assignment, and such require special methods. Thanks to gamification, passive owners of loyalty cards and points of questionable value become active participants of the dialog with your brand. As its offer gains in significance in their eyes, it breaks through the barrage of information that surrounds us. Consequently, the customers are willing to make some effort when faced with a buying decision. Instead of choosing a random solution, they will try to stay in touch with the brand that builds a relationship with them.

How else do we profit from engagement? The consumers will become conscious recipients of the most important messages from your brand, as your offers, promotions and novelties will stand out from the information noise. Thus the benefits coming from their purchase decisions will gain real meaning.

Do you want to see how you can take full advantage of gamification in loyalty programs? See how JetBlue does it.