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Many brands continue to ask themselves what customers want from them, especially in the current state of the economy and business in general. The pandemic accelerated these long-term changes in consumer habits and preferences even further, especially in retail.

In our recent research, we asked 600+ US adults who are members of 2 or more loyalty programs to answer the question, “What do consumers want from brands?” According to their responses, customers want 3 key things:

  1. Compensation
  2. Connection
  3. Control

The research shows that customers desire to be loyal, yet they are also open to trying new brands. Moreover, they have the desire to be properly compensated and recognized for sharing their data and personal information. Finally, they want a great level of control over which data they share and which brands they’re sharing it with.

This signals that there is a broad desire on the part of consumers to alter the balance of power between them and brands. This also means that what consumers want is to get more meaningful benefits (not just discounts, rewards points, and the like) from the relationship they establish with brands.

Here’s a rundown of our research results on what consumers want from brands:


As consumer satisfaction with conventional loyalty programs has waned, and regulations impose restrictions on the collection and use of customer data, brands and consumers are both seeking new kinds of relationships. These include elements of providing actionable, compliant data for brands while incorporating control, compensation, and community elements for the customer.

We asked our research panel what they considered the most important attributes of such a program or relationship. Here are some of their insights:

What are the most important attributes of a customer-brand relationship?

  • Compensation (allowing customers to earn currency effortlessly) – 54%
  • Familiarity (engaging with approved, familiar brands) – 26%
  • Control (having authority over data they share) – 14%
  • VIP Treatment – 6%

What influences their acceptance of a program?

  • Monthly earning amount – 36%
  • Annual bonus earning type/amount – 26%
  • What/how info is shared – 23%
  • Familiarity with brands – 15%

How many are loyal to certain brands?

  • Brand loyalists – 44%
  • Open to other known brands – 43%
  • Open to unfamiliar brands – 13%

Acceptance by Shopping Profile (Who is more likely to engage in a brand relationship?)

  • Deal hunters – 39%

Love to shop
Lowest price seekers
Brand loyalists – 27%
Highly brand-loyal regardless of products

  • Quality product hunters – 23%

Also love to shop
More picky about quality
Believers of “you get what you pay for” mindset

  • Pragmatic brand hunters – 11%

Dislikes shopping
Determines the “best” brand and sticks to it

More Insights to What Customers Want

We also discovered the following:

  • Millennials (ages 30-39) were more receptive to earning through loyalty programs.
  • The higher the household income, the stronger the interest in joining.
  • Consumers also want to earn an annual bonus from the program.
  • Preferred features combined with preferred brands add value beyond compensation alone.

(To learn more about these research results, check out the full report here.)

These results confirm that consumers want to be properly compensated for their interactions with brands, not just through purchases but also by sharing their data and feedback. And they seek engagement with brands that provide intangible benefits as well as compensation.

Brands in turn need to show respect to their customers by giving them what consumers want so they receive the customer data they need to improve their products and grow their business, while respecting customers and complying with increasing privacy regulations.

To find out more how brands can achieve this new kind of relationship with their customers, read our Manifesto here.

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