Almost every brand seeking to build a unique relationship with its customers has a loyalty program. Available market data suggests that customers are signing up to access loyalty incentives, and then getting lost in a sea of rewards cards, punch cards and mobile apps. Below are four best practices that you can use to create a truly unique and appealing loyalty program:

1. Link your rewards to your branding

Reward your customers with activities that connect them with your brand. For example, offer loyalty members additional points for choices that you as a brand really want to see in your customers. A great example is Walgreens in USA who have aligned "wellness and health" with their loyalty program and are offering additional points to their members for healthy choices. 

2. Think beyond deals and discounts

Try and offer your customers incentives that make their brand experience simple and happy. For example, a surprise complimentary subscription to your "concierge services"  upon reaching a certain reward status. Be creative in building loyalty offerings that make your customers a true stakeholder in your brand, and encourage them to become your brand champions.

3. Build on-going customer benefits through your data 

The great advantage of having a loyalty program is the access that it gives you to your customer data. The data presents a great opportunity to learn more about your customers, and then use the understanding to optimize and enhance your customer's experience. For example, you can optimize your offers based on customer behaviours so that your conversations with them are in line with their preferences. 

4. Make loyalty a core part of your business modelling

Your loyalty program should never sit on the side of your core business processes,  but it should be a core part of how you structure your business model. You should constantly strive to fuse your loyalty program with your customers experience at your location. Making loyalty a core part of your business also empowers employees to actively and enthusiastically on-board customers on to your loyalty platform. 

True loyalty, at the end day, is not about rewards and dollars as it is about your customers relationship with your brand. Your loyalty program is your effort to recognize your best customers and to show them your gratitude for their commitment to their relationship with your brand.