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