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Having been handed my 3rd ‘10th coffee for free’ card of the week this morning, whilst sipping my skinny-flat-white, I wondered how brands can be remarkable and really stand out in the vast sea of loyalty schemes.

Everyone loves the feeling of receiving added value, but we all know that loyalty schemes are not just for the consumer, done effectively they can be very rewarding for businesses too. I’m forever hearing people mention that to gain a new customer costs about 10 times more than it does to sell to an existing one.

So I examined how businesses seem to best attract their existing customers to keep them coming back? And from my research I’ve identified 5 golden rules to consider when starting up a loyalty scheme.

Rule 1 – Keep true to your brand. If you’re a food and drink company give more of what your customers love you for: food and drink.

Nandos – Each time you tuck into a PERi-PERi chicken you earn a Chilli to go on your Chilli Wheel which earns you free food.


Rule 2 – Know what your customers value most. This could be environmental, other than being pulled by money.

Velvet – 3 Trees Promise: they replace 3 trees for each softwood or hardwood used.


Rule 3 – Understand the troubles of your audience. Think of what could block future buying and try to relieve it.

Amazon Prime – gives their loyal customers, for an upfront fee, speedy unlimited delivery with no minimum purchase.


Rule 4 – Make it an enjoyable experience. The value offered can be the fun of taking part, which is often more attractive than the reward.

GrubHub’s-  Yummy Rummy Sweepstakes: place 3 unique orders of any value and get to play a game where you can win prizes.


Rule 5 – Know your remarkable value and worth from your very first communication. The only option in your customers mind will be you. You will not need a loyalty scheme.

Apple definitely implements this tactic.


While trying to scoop out the very last bit of foam at the bottom of my cup, I have come to the conclusion that to earn remarkable loyalty you need to really get under the skin of your customers.  You need to understand what they love and what they value, as well as what irritates them. Oh, and be sure to make it a fun experience! If you were to consider rules 1 – 4 across all communications you will achieve rule 5, your customers will be very happy and remarkably loyal without needing a scheme.