Stanislas Cavalie[Posted by Stanislas Cavalie, Product Marketing Intern, Neolane]

It’s already accepted that gamification represents a real hook to gain the loyalty of Generation Y. As a follow up to my previous post, here are 3 main steps to building effective gamified relationships with customers.

1. Attract With Value

The appeal of a loyalty program is largely based on added value (whether actual or perceived) for customers.  It’s the difference between them enrolling in your program or a competitor’s. Nowadays brands have the possibility, with data mining tools or customer surveys, to better know loyalty members and their needs.  They can, in turn, more easily define what will be of value to them. A good example is that promising 5% off on a purchase is sometimes less attractive than great services, depending on the business. You have to choose your incentives wisely, and adapt it to your targeted audiences.

Patagonia, an eco-friendly outdoor apparel company, realized that their customers needed more than just points and discounts from a loyalty program. The brand has developed, in partnership with eBay, an event to help them to resell their highly durable clothes. It was a great success because it matches perfectly with their brand values.

2. Make Customers CompeteCustomer Loyalty

When companies succeed in enrolling customers into the loyalty program, they then have to maintain in them the feeling that they are part of the brand life. It’s why those programs have to be graduated. Customers have to be challenged to obtain a better status and unlock even more valuable rewards. That puts them in competition with other members, and so engages them in a recurring relationship with the brand. This strategy is based on frequent flyer programs, but has to be adapted to each particular audience. The game has to be developed digitally, be personalized and go beyond the simple purchase recognition; this is what drives Generation Y.

For example, GoPro, the versatile camera producer, is currently inviting their social media followers to subscribe to a daily lottery.  The goal is to collect data about its fans and also to acquire new ones, further building its community.

3. Social Media Strategy

Social media presents a great opportunity for brands to build a community and to make loyalty programs enter the customer’s daily life. Facebook is recognized as the most powerful because of the number of registered users. But depending of the business, the social media strategy has to be adapted, and can’t rely solely on daily Facebook updates via the fan page.

Warner Bros has developed, with its My Warner apps, a good example of this three-step strategy. Based on social media, fans are rewarded for every interaction they have with the brand that builds community.  For instance, liking or sharing content earns them points that can be redeemed for DVDs, goodies, or preview event invitations. Rewards are valuable and attainable for customers, the gamified experience makes them compete to be invited to the best event, and it builds community. But even if at the moment they’re focusing on Facebook, they may think that in the near future about putting more effort into YouTube and Twitter.

Adapted to Generation Y, these three steps will help brands build a successful gamified loyalty program.

Forrester Social Loyalty FERP