Reach Logo

The concept of simplicity is gaining more traction as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates cognitive overload. A study reveals that people prefer brands that provide simple experiences. This manifests as various features of brand-consumer interactions, most notably with simple loyalty programs.

But how “simple” should simple loyalty programs be? How can one achieve true simplicity in loyalty programs?

Brand Simplicity and How it Drives Loyalty

According to the Global Brand Simplicity Index, 64% of consumers are more likely to recommend brands because of simplicity. In other words, the more “simple” a brand’s mechanics are, the better the customers receive it.

Take Netflix for example. Currently, Netflix is hailed as the World’s Simplest Brand (from being in the fourth place in 2017). With this on-demand, video streaming platform, watching films and serials is as easy as picking up a mobile device, tapping on the app, and pressing play. Its payment plans are also easy to understand; Netflix has “a few simple plans for every kind of user, with more content every year.”

Margaret Molloy, CMO of Seigel+Gale (who delivers the annual Simplicity Study) explains in a podcast interview how simplicity drives customer loyalty, especially in the COVID era:

“Simplicity has always been important, but now in the context of COVID, the pandemic has lifted the veil on the importance of simplicity,” says Margaret. “COVID-19 is a cognitive tax, and brands now try to reduce that by giving simpler experiences.” These can manifest in various touchpoints, where the consumers or the community interacts with the brand. This means simplicity in loyalty programs, communications, marketing campaigns, and the like.

But How Simple is “Simple”?

Simplicity in a program’s construction can become easily misunderstood. People don’t automatically appreciate simplicity because they often interpret it in a reductive fashion.

“[People think] it’s about removing things or dumbing things down,” says Margaret. But the truth is contrary. “The genius of great simplifiers is they know what to strip away and what to leave behind,” she adds.

Consider, again, the example of Netflix. Those recommendations you get after watching and liking a film or series? They came from complex algorithms within the platform that tracks your viewing patterns and compares similarities between shows and movies. These algorithms are highly sophisticated and complex; there’s nothing simple about them.

In the context of customer loyalty, another good example would be points-based, simple loyalty programs, where 1 point = $1. That mechanic sounds simple enough, but it becomes complicated and restrictive very easily.

Say, a brand wants to reward customers for non-purchase interactions (e.g., refer-a-friend or post a review). It’s not economical to award a point worth $1, so the best simple loyalty programs build leverage: if I give you 5 points per $1, I can afford to give you one or two points for a behavior that is valuable, but not worth a dollar.

What Real Simple Loyalty Programs Should Be

Loyalty programs should always seem simple to the customer. However, achieving this level of simplicity in loyalty programs while meeting financial goals often requires a construct that is quite complex in the back room. It’s the process and interaction at the customer’s end that should stay easy and simple.

This is what the Reach Loyalty Marketplace is all about. For brands with existing programs, it allows them to complement their programs with a simple and unique value proposition: rewarding customers for sharing their data. Reach transforms the brand-customer relationship into a mutually beneficial partnership.

For consumers, the platform allows them to earn Reach Dollars in simple, easy, and fun ways. These Reach Dollars are valued one-to-one with the dollar and can be spent just like cash with brands in the Marketplace. This solves the problem of limited currency utilization in loyalty programs and provides a simple way for customers to earn and redeem rewards.

Simple loyalty programs are not actually simple to design and manage. But what matters is that they deliver a brand’s promise to its consumers through simple, easy, and straightforward experiences. With that in mind, your brand can deliver simplicity, utility and relevance to your customers, too. Find out more by requesting a demo here.

Request a Demo

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.