Corporate Eye

Brand Loyalty Programs Are a Big Hit for U.K. Brands

Brand loyalty programs are traditional marketing tactics that never go out of style. Consumers always love to feel like they’re getting something in return for brand purchases that they’d probably make even without receiving rewards.

Of course, the goal for the brand is to use the loyalty program as leverage to ensure those consumers make those brand purchases again and again.

A study by Promise and Lightspeed Research conducted in late 2011 shows that every U.K. internet survey respondent in the survey belonged to at least one brand loyalty program, and 50% of respondents belonged to three or more brand loyalty programs.

Promise and Lightspeed Research found that brand loyalty programs that offer frequent and tangible rewards are the most attractive to consumers. For example, programs that reward points that members can convert into cash are extremely popular.

Following is the breakdown of brand loyalty program membership among U.K. internet users by type as found in the study:

  1. Points-based loyalty program = 92%
  2. Credit card-based loyalty program = 28%
  3. Mobile phone-based loyalty program = 27%
  4. Coffee shop loyalty program = 26%
  5. Air miles, frequent flyer, and other airline loyalty program = 19%
  6. Hotel loyalty program = 12%
  7. Independent, local business or organization loyalty program = 6%
  8. Other loyalty program = 3%
  9. Car hire loyalty program = 2%

Based on these study results, it’s incredibly obvious that point-based programs that translate to cash are the most popular by a landslide with U.K. internet users. They are more than three times more likely to be a member of a points-based brand loyalty program than the next most popular option — credit card-based programs.

Interestingly, some brand loyalty programs are more likely to be favored by specific demographic audiences. For example, 27% of the entire survey respondent population belonged to mobile phone-based loyalty programs, but 43% of the 18-34 year-old demographic group belong to mobile phone-based loyalty programs.

One of the main complaints U.K. consumers have about brand loyalty programs is the need to carry around so many membership cards in order to gain and use accrued points and rewards. Mobile phone-based loyalty programs remove that problem and make program participation much easier. It’s safe to assume that the biggest loyalty program growth rates in the coming years will come from mobile phone-based schemes.

Are you ready to create a points-based loyalty program that operates on the mobile phone-based loyalty scheme? There are clearly some opportunities and synergies to be leveraged!

Image: Marcelo Moura

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I’m being a bit cheeky and looking for some help!
Read your article in association with a piece of research I am putting together for a client wanting to hire in the loyalty space. I’m trying to find out if there are any websites / resources that give an overview of who the main providers and players are in the loyalty market – not just the programmes but also the companies that manage the programmes. Would you be able to point me in the right direction?
Many thanks Justin Mills 07768 480 203

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