raditional loyalty programs are typically very transactional—you do this, we’ll give you that. There was a time when rewards, perks, and coupons were not only widely accepted as the go-to trick of the restaurant marketing trade...but darn near required.
As restaurants continue to evaluate the future of traditional loyalty programs, leading brands are pioneering new ways to build a relationship with guests—debunking myths along the way.
Myth: Brand Love = Loyalty
Nicole Bushnell, CMO Punch Bowl Social says "You can love a brand, in fact there’s so many that I follow their instagram, I get their emails, I admire what they’re doing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m loyal." She added, "To me loyalty is a deeper connection that we create with our guests, and loving a brand is just one part of that puzzle in building that connection."
Building on that idea, Gretchen Thomas, VP of Creative for Barcelona Restaurants shared, "It’s been a crazy year of pivoting in many, many ways for us [...] We took a hard look at what do our guests LOVE us for. They love us for our vibe, they love us for our beverage program, they really love the experience of being there, and that’s hard to replicate in to-go boxes [...] We had to really reimagine how we stay engaged and relevant to our guests."
Myth: Loyalty is One Size Fits All
"Loyalty programs shouldn’t be designed to be a cookie-cutter experience," Bushnell said. "Loyalty programs should spark that emotional connection with a brand, and they should be personalized. That’s where you really win in true loyalty. You need to reward your most loyal guests with your most special treatment. And each company or concept is going to look different," she noted.
Click play below to watch the full conversation.
Image provided by Barcelona Wine Bar