How do you make a cool loyalty programme?

The loyalty industry is not known for its cool factor. Programmes are traditionally points based, biased towards older audiences and pretty transactional. They struggle to appeal to younger demographics with 72% members of the three biggest programmes in the UK (Boots Advantage Card, Tesco Clubcard and Nectar) all over 40 years old.

However, some big new global players are shaking things up, creating programmes specifically aimed for Millennials and Gen Z. Let’s see how they are approaching things differently.

Nike is without a doubt one of the coolest brands in the world. In fact, it was officially ranked as the ninth coolest brand in the world in Google’s 2017 study of Millennials and Gen Z. The Nike Plus app is a single digital experience where customers can spend, consume content and unlock members’ only gear, guidance and experience all completely tailored to their personal interests. The look is clean and contemporary. It’s already a loyalty programme with style.

Now, however, Nike are taking loyalty to the next level for Millennials and Gen Z. In 2019 they are planning to open a new New York Soho flagship store. It will have a whole floor dedicated to members only. A unique loyalty programme offer; a demonstration of a brand really understanding that this generation want real, authentic and amazing experiences in both the digital and non-digital worlds. Well done Nike!

Pepsi is another cool player; ranked highly by Millennials and Gen Z for it’s cool factor, despite the disastrous Kendall Jenner ad. The Pepsi Generations campaign was launched during this year’s Super Bowl; a key component is the relaunch of Pepsi Stuff. Pepsi understand what this generation think is cool and they are capitalising on the resurgence of 80’s & 90’s, along with other super-cool brands like Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger.

To view the full ad – click the image

By looking back, they are in fact, looking ahead and appealing to this new generation. With classic packaging and re-versioned ads to promote Pepsi and Pepsi Stuff customers are encouraged to collect Pepsi Points to get vintage T-shirts, hats, LED signs, varsity jackets, fridges etc.

Only time will tell if these programmes will be successful in the long term, but they feel like a huge step towards what cooler loyalty could look like in the future. With everyone vying for millennial spend and attention, hopefully these new types of approaches will set a new standard for every programme.


    Jo Ashdown
    Head of Partnerships