Creating Customer Loyalty Programs that Build Brand Preference: Nichole Gunn Featured in “Today’s Grocer”

by: Luke Kreitner October 20, 2020

In the world of marketing, securing brand preference is the ultimate goal.

With the Grocery Store and Supermarket industry accounting for the largest food retail channel in the United States, competition is fierce, to say the least. For both independent and chain grocers, finding ways to be chosen by customers in a sea of options is essential to keeping doors open. 

With over twelve years of marketing experience in the incentive industry alone, Nichole Gunn is no stranger to the importance of building brand preference. As Incentive Solutions’ Vice President of Marketing and Communications, she has witnessed first-hand the success of customer loyalty programs in both retaining and engaging customers.

Not all customer loyalty programs are created equal, however, and the ability to secure brand preference lies in a program’s effectiveness. In her latest article, “How to Build Engaging Loyalty Programs That Secure Brand Preference,” appearing in the October edition of Today’s Grocer Food Magazine, Nichole provides the foundational steps for all groceries looking to build brand loyalty from the ground up.

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5 Steps to Building Brand Preference with a Customer Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty programs are by no means a new concept in the world of grocery. From “green stamps and key-ring loyalty cards to digital coupons and virtually tracked point systems,” grocery stores are constantly trying to find ways to offer customer discounts and reward repeat business.

But as more and more grocery stores catch on to the benefits of reward programs, grocers are challenged to “keep up with the Jones,” if you will. In this day in age, it’s not enough to simply offer a loyalty program. Chain and independent grocers need to highlight their brand in a unique way, offering services and rewards that make them stand out, and using their loyalty program to reinforce this message.

Nichole breaks down the process of building a customer loyalty program into five main steps:

1. Define your value proposition.

What does your brand offer that no other brand can provide? How can you make it memorable so that your store comes to mind when customers are deciding to buy?

 

2. Leave a lasting emotional impact.

As Nichole states: “Marketing your loyalty program’s value in a way that assigns personality and storytelling toy our brand will make it that much more memorable.”

 

3. Engage in consistent communication with customers.

The best way to reach customers outside of the store walls? Why online of course! A digital customer loyalty platform lets customers engage with your brand on their schedule, and can be easily integrated into existing websites or eCommerce platforms.

 

4. Offer personalized rewards.

Thanks to technology, today’s reward options are truly endless: “With today’s loyalty program software capabilities, customers can access millions of reward options- from gift cards to incentive travel- by logging into a reward account, creating a personalized, memorable experience.”

 

5. Create a connected, user-friendly customer experience.

Once the program is launched, the real work begins. Keep customers motivated to participate in your program by making it easy to connect via email reminders or access rewards through a customized mobile app. Creating a single sign-on experience for all virtual platforms will make it easy for participants to engage as well. Even better? Incorporate elements of gamification, such as scratch-off or spin-to-win rewards to keep the positive reinforcement flowing and securing brand preference.

With the help of incentive technology and an experienced program provider, a loyalty program built on these steps will place any grocer ahead of the game, encouraging sales while simultaneously securing positive messaging for their brand.

Looking for more information on Building a Customer Loyalty Program?

We have a guide for that! Check out our BthruB Incentive Program Playbook. This interactive, step-by-step guide gives all the necessary structural elements to help your brand stand out and secure brand preference.


About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.