Innovating In Consumer Loyalty

Smart brand owners have recognised that the key to building consumer loyalty isn’t through a straightforward functional exchange. I.e. you buy more of our X and we will give you some points for free stuff. AKA bribery. Instead customers are driven by feelings of loyalty – to engender those feelings things need to get a lot more personal between brand and consumer.

This thinking has led to more true innovations in customer loyalty, and the great news is that all brand innovators can learn a thing or two from the principles that apply.

Hilton Hotels* – The gift of time

Hilton now allows loyal customers to check in via mobile apps and has even piloted a scheme allowing the use of smart phones as room keys to avoid waiting in line and experiencing a long boring check-in process. Plus we are seeing more and more fast lanes for loyal customers across travel, hospitality and retail.

Mobile Check-in for a hotel

At The Strategy Distillery we are beginning to observe a shift in the mind-set of consumers we spend time with from ‘money-saved’ being their highest priority to ‘time-gained’ being key. Whether you’re innovating in product, service or marketing – make your customers feel special, and truly understood by saving them their valuable time.

Mobile phone room access in a hotel

Lloyds Bank ‘It’s on us’ – The element of surprise

Lloyds Bank pick customers at random each month and pay for something they bought on their credit or debit card (effectively randomised cash back). Lloyds Bank are smart in attaching the reward to a specific purchase made by the customer – creating a truly personal experience.

lloyds Bank - it's on us, poster with a pair of green velvet shoes

The feel good factor is multiplied when acts of kindness are unexpected – think of how good you feel when you are given a gift for no reason by a loved one or friend? You feel truly thought about and special. But also its more memorable when it’s not lost in the conventional expectation of an occasion like Christmas/Birthday/Wedding. Thus ‘random acts of kindness’ are a clever way to disrupt the marketplace and get people really talking about your brand (be it to reward customer loyalty or otherwise).

Vodafone birthday gift – Free stuff feels good

Vodafone gives loyal customers a free gift on their birthday** The example below is from Vodafone India, part of their Vodafone Delights campaign. But there was also a UK loyalty promotion this summer where they offered customers a choice of gifts like Bluetooth speakers and cinema tickets on their birthday.

We often hear consumers in our one-on-one sessions tell us something free is better than money off’ – it creates stronger feel good factor in consumers. Bravo to Vodafone for picking up on this. And doubling the feel good factor by pinning the free stuff to something personal like a birthday.

Vodafone birthdays - get a surprise on your birthday with vodaphone delights

Boots My Offers – Simple personalisation

Boots gives you personalised special offers using its really simple app (I know because I’ve tried it).

Boots My offers App


It’s a simple concept, clearly communicated and executed that allows the consumer to feel value that’s relevant to them. The idea of offering customers’ personalisation or customisation without adding complexity is something your brand innovation might benefit from.

In a nutshell

Surely, whether it’s a product or experience that has been simply personalised; feel good free stuff; the element of surprise or the gift of time – there’s something you can take inspiration from in the now innovative world of customer loyalty?

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