Running an exclusive loyalty programme

A private community or loyalty programme is an excellent way to attract an audience who prefer a more exclusive experience.

One piece of a larger puzzle

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Throughout this series we've discussed big-and-bold publicly facing activations for live events and online digital campaigns. While these are great for reaching larger audiences, many brands and companies will have particular groups that are attracted to a more exclusive experience. For example:

  • Repeat customers
  • Reps and brand ambassadors
  • Influencers and brand champions
  • Employees and contractors

A private community or loyalty programme is an excellent way to engage these different people. These are online-only, web-based & private portals that allow brands and companies to engage regularly with participants over a longer time period.

First we'll look at a few examples, then we'll outline a few crucial features for getting them right regardless of the approach you choose.

Idea #1 - Top the leaderboard

For this activation, a new challenge is released regularly (every week or month). Users receive a notification telling them to login and take the challenge. Once completed, they receive a score that gets added to their personal “total”. A shared leaderboard is displayed where people can see who is winning. The top users are rewarded with monthly prizes.

Challenges in this case might be:

  • A short trivia quiz
  • A questionnaire
  • An upload, (“share your best selfie”, “take a picture with our product”, ...)

Idea #2 - Track your progress

In this twist, instead of directly competing with each other, users compete with themselves. Weekly checklists are released that require participants to do something (”run 5km”, “attend 5 stand-up meetings”, “meditate 10 times”).

This works well in a professional or education setting, where students/employees might be asked to take part in regular events or tasks. Instead of a global leaderboard, users see their own progress over time and are awarded for particular performance or keystones.

Idea #3 - Work together to win

Turn the competitive element on its head and have participants work together instead of against each other. Like before, users are tasked with completing periodic challenges or task, but instead of individual scores and rewards, its collective - the community needs to work together to get across the line. If they get a certain number of points they win a reward, if not, better luck next month!

Key Features

Regardless of the mechanic behind the community, there are a few tricks that all of these approaches should employ:

  • Web-based. Developing stand-alone apps is incredible expensive and requires huge resources over time. Stick to optimised websites.
  • Mobile-first. Don't bother with emails. Have participants sign up with their phone numbers and interact with either SMS or WhatsApp. This lowers the barriers to signing up and makes it easier to reach people.
  • Password-less. Use “magic links” to allow login. Here, users receive an SMS message with a unique one-time link that they can click to open and login. No remembering passwords, no annoying “forgot your password” flows.
  • Periodic. Regularly engage the community with periodic competitions, tasks or promotions. That means weekly or monthly.
  • Competitive. Include some sort of “all time” leaderboard or friendly competition to keep participants engaged.

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This post is part of our exclusive brand activation ideas email series where we share dozens of ready-to-go home-run ideas for experiential marketers like yourself.

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