40 years of loyalty programs: how effective are they? Generalizations from a meta-analysis

  • Original Empirical Research
  • Published: 08 September 2021
  • Volume 50 , pages 147–173, ( 2022 )

Cite this article

  • Alex Belli   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5425-9294 1 ,
  • Anne-Maree O’Rourke   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4628-8076 2 ,
  • François A. Carrillat   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6188-1372 3 ,
  • Ljubomir Pupovac   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4960-8917 4 ,
  • Valentyna Melnyk   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4963-4584 4 &
  • Ekaterina Napolova 5  

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Despite firms’ extensive usage of loyalty programs (LPs) and decades-long academic research on their effectiveness, LPs’ effects on customer loyalty are still heavily debated. We perform a comprehensive meta-analysis of loyalty programs across various LP designs and industries and spanning different performance metrics to identify moderators of LP effectiveness. Based on a data set with 429 effect sizes, published or available between 1990 and 2020, we find strong evidence that LPs enhance customer loyalty. However, while LPs particularly enhance behavioral loyalty, shifting consumers’ attitudinal loyalty is more challenging. Further, LP effectiveness differs systematically depending on LP design characteristics (LP structure, reward content and delivery) and industry characteristics. These effects are enabled by both cognitive and affective drivers, acting sequentially, as underlying mechanisms. Despite a wide range of methodologies investigating LPs’ effectiveness, methodological choices have little impact on the substantive results. We develop a comprehensive research agenda and managerial implications.

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Up until now, the four LP design characteristics in Bombaij and Dekimpe’s ( 2020 ) study constitute the largest number of simultaneous effects investigated.

The literature discussion covers conative loyalty, but this dimension is not part of the meta-analytical framework and is not included in empirical predictions because only 8 effect sizes were retrieved for it.

Similarly, in the few cases when the studies compare different intensity levels of the same LP design characteristics (e.g., 5 tiers vs. 3 tiers rather than tiers vs. no tiers), the higher intensity level served as the treatment condition to maintain consistency between effect sizes.

For example, we were able to retrieve LP design and rewards information about Macau’s Venetian Casino’s Sands Rewards Club included in Shi et al. ( 2014 ) from the archived corporate web site and online business news articles published then (Cision PR Newswire 2010 ).

Diagnostic tests of publication bias based on funnel plot asymmetry are inadequate if the distribution of effect sizes is likely to be heterogeneous (Ionnadis 2005 ), as in our case, because the pool of effect sizes reflects a population with different underlying “true” effects. As a solution, we account for heterogeneity with the moderators, including the precision of the effect size (Sterne and Egger 2005 ).

For the full list of articles included in the meta-analysis, see Web Appendix A .

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The authors are thankful to Marnik G. Dekimpe, Grahame R. Dowling, Conor N. Henderson, Harald van Heerde, and Jie Zhang for their comments and advice on previous versions of this article.

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Belli, A., O’Rourke, AM., Carrillat, F.A. et al. 40 years of loyalty programs: how effective are they? Generalizations from a meta-analysis. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 50 , 147–173 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-021-00804-z

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Loyalty Program: Definition, Purposes, How It Works, Example

James Chen, CMT is an expert trader, investment adviser, and global market strategist.

loyalty program essay

What Is a Loyalty Program?

Loyalty programs, sponsored by retailers and other businesses, offer rewards, discounts, and other special incentives as a way to attract and retain customers. They are designed to encourage repeat business, offering people a reward for store/ brand loyalty (hence the name). Typically, the more often a customer patronizes the merchant—and the more they spend—the greater their rewards.

Key Takeaways

  • Loyalty programs are offered by retailers and other corporations as a way to attract and retain customers.
  • Loyalty programs offer rewards, discounts, or other special incentives and are designed as a reward for a customer's repeat business.
  • Loyalty programs benefit companies not only by developing customer loyalty but by providing crucial information on how customers are spending and what products or types of offers are most appealing.
  • While companies like Starbucks make great use of loyalty programs, some retailers such as Costco and Amazon rely instead on annual memberships.

How a Loyalty Program Works

Loyalty program incentives vary. Typical incentives include:

  • advance notice of/early access to new products
  • early access to sales
  • free merchandise or enhanced services
  • special services, like free or expedited shipping
  • members-only discounts

To join a loyalty program—also known as a rewards program or points program—customers typically register their personal information with the company and are given a unique identifier, such as a numerical ID or membership card. They use that identifier when making a purchase.

Purpose of a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs provide two key functions: They reward customers for their repeated patronage, and they provide the issuing company with a wealth of consumer information and data . While companies can evaluate anonymous purchases, the use of a loyalty program offers additional details on the type of products that may be purchased together, and whether certain incentives are more effective than others.

Loyalty programs particularly apply to high-volume businesses that thrive on return customers. And since it's more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing one, the prospect of creating a loyal following is fundamental to adding value. When appropriately executed, repeat customers will help recruit new ones at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

When these programs are integrated into the customer's everyday routine, they can cultivate true brand loyalty. Often, customers get invested in the program—and they will stick to a hotel, store, restaurant, credit card , or airline because of points or rewards they've accrued in its loyalty program, more than anything else.

Retail loyalty programs can trace their roots to the stamp or boxtop collection and redemption programs that date back to the 1890s. But the modern model was born with airlines' frequent flyer programs. American Airlines' AAdvantage, launched in 1981, was the first; United Airlines' Mileage Plus debuted shortly afterward.

Loyalty Program Example

Loyalty programs, like everything else, have joined the Digital Age. Interestingly, they are incorporating tech not just as a means of purchase things to get rewards, but as a source of rewards themselves: urging patrons to text or Instagram photos for points, or offering a discount if you shop via the merchant's new app.

The Starbucks ( SBUX ) Rewards program remains the default case study of how a brand can retain customers through interactive offers. The app operates much like any other rewards program, in that customers earn points (called "stars") to use for future coffee purchases. It differentiates itself from other loyalty systems by providing customers a convenient way to order ahead, pay in-store and even access exclusive music playlists. For the most part, the app solidifies Starbucks as a basic necessity for every coffee drinker. If you add funds via the app onto your digital rewards card, you'll "earn Stars twice as fast," Starbucks says.

Loyalty Program Alternatives

Loyalty programs aren't the only way to win customers' allegiance. Retailers like Costco ( COST ) and Amazon ( AMZN ) have achieved great customer loyalty through membership programs. Even though they carry an out-of-pocket cost, many shoppers happily pay the annual fees to access the variety of products, free shipping (in Amazon's case), and other perks and privileges offered by the two retailers. And for those who take advantage of all the available services included in a membership, the benefits can often outweigh the costs.

Starbucks. " Starbucks Rewards ." Accessed April 29, 2021.

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Effectiveness of loyalty programs

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  • Loyalty Programs Business & Economics 100%
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T1 - Effectiveness of loyalty programs

AU - Bombaij, Nick

N1 - CentER Dissertation Series Volume: 646

N2 - With the steady growth of interest in loyalty programs by both retailers and consumers, creating the right program is more important than ever. However, with an increasing number of decisions and designs, adopting a loyalty program has never been more complex. This dissertation aims to provide a better understanding on loyalty programs, and consists of three essays that study the effectives of loyalty programs from three different perspectives. The first essay focuses on the effectiveness of permanent programs, and investigates whether loyalty programs with a certain design, at a certain retailer, or in a certain country perform better. The second essay looks at the effect of the increasingly popular temporary programs, in which consumers have limited time to save stamps and redeem highly discounted rewards. These programs often run alongside the retailers’ permanent loyalty programs in an attempt to increase customer engagement. The third essay studies the effect of loyalty-program promotions, where brand manufacturers try to capitalize on retailers’ temporary loyalty programs. This essay provides a contingency framework for the effects of promotion designs, brands, categories, and competitive loyaltyprogrampromotion environments.

AB - With the steady growth of interest in loyalty programs by both retailers and consumers, creating the right program is more important than ever. However, with an increasing number of decisions and designs, adopting a loyalty program has never been more complex. This dissertation aims to provide a better understanding on loyalty programs, and consists of three essays that study the effectives of loyalty programs from three different perspectives. The first essay focuses on the effectiveness of permanent programs, and investigates whether loyalty programs with a certain design, at a certain retailer, or in a certain country perform better. The second essay looks at the effect of the increasingly popular temporary programs, in which consumers have limited time to save stamps and redeem highly discounted rewards. These programs often run alongside the retailers’ permanent loyalty programs in an attempt to increase customer engagement. The third essay studies the effect of loyalty-program promotions, where brand manufacturers try to capitalize on retailers’ temporary loyalty programs. This essay provides a contingency framework for the effects of promotion designs, brands, categories, and competitive loyaltyprogrampromotion environments.

U2 - 10.26116/center-lis-2105

DO - 10.26116/center-lis-2105

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978 90 5668 647 5

T3 - CentER Dissertation Series

PB - CentER, Center for Economic Research

CY - Tilburg

The Beginner's Guide to Building a Customer Loyalty Program

Sophia Bernazzani Barron

Published: December 29, 2022


Two customers talking to an employee at a local business joining the loyalty program

It's what you hope to get from your beloved house pet and your paying customers.

I'm no expert when it comes to the first, but when it comes to customer loyalty, I have some insights to share that can help you create a loyalty program that grows your business.

(For more information about animal loyalty, please refer to the 1963 classic film, The Incredible Journey .)

Before we talk about loyalty programs, let's examine how your company can attract loyal customers to your business.

Need a TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) directory? Here's a table of contents.

How to Build Customer Loyalty

What is a customer loyalty program.

  • Benefits of a Customer Loyalty Program

How to Create a Customer Loyalty Program

  • Customer Loyalty Programs for Small Businesses

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  • Adopt a multi-channel customer service system.
  • Provide exceptional service.
  • Be consistent.
  • Focus on the customer, not the competition.
  • Build credibility through customer interactions.
  • Deliver added value.
  • Share positive customer experiences.
  • Reward customer loyalty.

Customers are driven by their goals, and they’ll be loyal to the company that helps them achieve them. Even if they have a positive history with your brand, a competitor with a better offer can still win them over. Because of this, customer loyalty isn’t earned easily or even guaranteed — the steps below will help you build a following of loyal customers. 

graphic displaying the 8 ways to build customer loyalty

1. Adopt a multi-channel customer service system.

Building customer loyalty begins with being in tune with your customers’ needs . A multi-channel service system is one of the best ways to connect with your customers, especially when they need help. Customers will have more access to your service team, creating more customer interactions , and the more you interact with them, the more often you can influence their experience. 

Multiple channels also allow you to offer an omnichannel experience , where customers have a consistent experience across channels, platforms, and devices. This increases customer satisfaction as your customer service is more accessible, which is exactly what you want for frustrated customers who need support.

Consider adopting help desk and live chat tools to help your customer service team cover multiple channels. For smaller teams, AI software like chatbots can relieve the workload of organizing and distributing incoming requests without having to hire more employees.

2. Provide exceptional customer service.

Going above and beyond customer expectations to provide exceptional service doesn't mean giving away free products, discounts, and perks. It's quite the opposite. Customers want solutions to their problems, not a free sample. Giveaways and discounts simply put a bandage on the problem.

Instead, challenge your team to listen to what the customer is saying and process the feedback. More often than not, your customer will be happier with the solution than they would be with a replacement or perk — although those can help sweeten the deal.

3. Focus on the customer, not the competition.

There's a time and place to scope out competitors, but it's not as beneficial as you might think, as mirroring them to win over their customers doesn’t guarantee the same results. To be the best in the eyes of your customers, you'll need to know what your competitors do, then get even more creative than they are.

Big gains in customer loyalty are the sum of several small decisions. What that means is this: Your success isn't riding on one breakthrough. Every customer interaction, product purchase, and referral by a devout customer contributes to brand loyalty every day.

So when you're tempted to see if the grass is greener on the other side, know it's probably watered with a different sprinkler.

4. Be consistent.

Franchises like McDonald's are so successful mainly because of consistency. Customers know what they can expect from these businesses when they go, no matter where they are in the world. On the surface, that doesn't seem like a contributing factor toward customer loyalty but it is — here's why.

When brands provide consistency through their products and service, their customers can easily incorporate them into their lives. For instance, imagine wanting ice cream, and all you can think about is your favorite cone from McDonald’s. You can count on them to be open and deliver exactly what you had in mind. After enough visits, you'll begin to trust it because it's proven time and time again that it can consistently deliver on its promise (and ice cream!).

5. Build credibility through meaningful customer interactions.

Nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is key to feeling loyalty toward a brand. Additionally, 76% of customers say they would stop doing business with a company after one bad experience.

Every business makes mistakes, but the key to retaining customers is acknowledging mistakes and correcting them when they happen. 

Loyal customers expect a positive experience from your brand every time they interact with it. They want to feel like you value them as much — if not more — than they value you. If they sense their business isn't appreciated, you might lose them to competitors.

A CRM can come in handy here as it records the past experiences that a customer has with your brand. It stores messages like emails and calls, as well as customized notes that relay specific information about a customer. This creates a more personalized experience as employees can leverage important historical data regarding past interactions with a customer.

6. Deliver added value.

You're not the only one vying for your customers' attention — your competitors are too. Everyone races to show their customers that they can best fulfill their needs. So, how do you edge them out? Go above and beyond their expectations.

Research shows that one in four customers is willing to pay 10% more in almost every industry if there’s a guaranteed good experience. Other than offering a loyalty program — which we'll talk about soon — you can do this by building a relationship with your customers that extends beyond the moment of purchase to demonstrate that you’re invested in their lifestyle, not just their money. 

One way that your company can add value to the customer experience is to host events or contests that your target audience would be interested in. For example, the energy drink brand, Red Bull, has built a massive customer following by sponsoring extreme sporting events and teams.

Another way to add value is to create a customer community. This could be something simple like a knowledge base or ideas forum, or it could be complex and include a devout network of loyal advocates.

Take Harley Davidson, for example. It founded a community of brand evangelists who advocate for Harley Davidson at different dealerships throughout the U.S. These communities make customers feel like they're part of an in-crowd with a social status exclusive to the group members. 

7. Share positive customer experiences.

If you're doing a good job generating positive customer experiences, why not let people know? Gather customer feedback and share reviews to inform others about the benefits your company brings and broadcast these stories across your different channels. Customers tend to trust other customers more than your advertising, so it's important to leverage positive interactions to maximize customer value .

If you’re unsure where to find feedback, third-party review sites like Yelp give you access to a lot of customer feedback in one place. You could also consider adopting NPS® and other feedback tools to gather qualitative information about your brand or encourage customers to share testimonials that you can share on your site. 

8. Reward your customers.

Customers loyal to your brand are also the most valuable to your business. In fact, customers who have an emotional connection to your brand tend to have a lifetime value higher than your average customer . These customers spend more with your business and should be rewarded for it — this is where a loyalty program becomes essential to building customer loyalty.

A customer loyalty program is a program your business offers that rewards customers for their continuous purchases from you. 

Rewards can be free products, early and exclusive access to new products or events, point systems, awards, exclusive merch — anything you want to do to share your appreciation with them for their business. 

68% of loyal customers will join a loyalty program if offered, and the rewards and unique offers are additional incentives for them to continue their purchases. Customers who join these programs tend to spend more money because they receive benefits for their business. They already enjoy buying from your company, so why not give them another reason to do so?

An easy retort to that question would be that it costs too much to offer incentives without getting anything directly in return. This does appear to be true when you look at an individual purchase. However, loyalty programs benefit your business in ways that extend beyond just one or two transactions.

If you question whether they're cost-effective, below are some key benefits that customer loyalty programs can provide to your business. But first, let’s take a moment to give examples of platforms that make rewarding your clients easy.

Xoxoday Plum


Xoxoday Plum is a powerful customer loyalty rewards platform that helps businesses engage and retain their customers through personalized reward programs. With Xoxoday Plum, businesses can easily create and manage reward campaigns that are tailored to their specific customer base, offering rewards that are both meaningful and relevant.

Yotpo customer loyalty software

Yotpo is an incentive marketing platform that helps you build a custom loyalty program, whether tier-based, a point system, or referrals, to engage your existing customers and reach new ones. 


LoyaltyLion helps you create a loyalty program to help your customers feel valued, as opposed to being another number. You can customize a program based on points, rewards, and tiers that customers can access anywhere along their journey, whether you’re re-engaging at-risk customers or saying thank you to an extremely loyal customer. 

LoyaltyLion customer loyalty software

Now we’ll discuss why customer loyalty programs are important for businesses.

What are the benefits of a customer loyalty program?

All businesses can benefit from building a customer loyalty program and rewarding customers with additional, exclusive benefits. You might already be a member of some programs, like a frequent flier miles program or a referral bonus program. 

In an increasingly competitive and crowded market, loyalty programs can differentiate you from your competitors and keep your customers around. While loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, that’s not the only reason to start a program. Below we’ll go over the benefits of a customer loyalty program for your business. 

1. Better Customer Retention

Nowadays, customers are making purchase decisions based on more than just price. They make buying decisions based on shared values, engagement, and emotional connections with a brand. Customer loyalty programs are a great way to engage customers beyond just the point of purchase, to interface on shared values, and to provide even more value to customers — making them happier and more likely to keep purchasing from you. You can also work with customers for recurring exchanges. For example, with home service companies, you could create a maintenance plan with homeowners where you come back on a weekly or monthly plan. This keeps the customer engaged and enrolled repetitively. 

And 88% of customers that feel appreciated plan to stay loyal to brands, and 83% plan to spend more . 

2. More Customer Referrals

If your customers enjoy the benefits of your customer loyalty program, they’ll tell their friends and family about it. This word-of-mouth marketing draws in new customers at no acquisition cost and can generate even more revenue for your business. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending , and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend. 

3. Cost-Efficacy

It's more cost-effective for your business to retain happy customers than acquire new ones. Acquiring a new customer is 5-25X more expensive than retaining a current one.

4. User-Generated Content and Reviews

Online customer reviews are almost as trustworthy as recommendations from friends and family. Customer loyalty programs that incentivize reviews and ratings on websites and social media will result in authentic user-generated content from customers singing your praises so you don't have to.

So, now that you're on board with the value of customer loyalty programs, how do you start one? Let’s go over how to create a loyalty program.

  • Choose a great name.
  • Create deeper meaning.
  • Reward a variety of customer actions.
  • Offer a variety of rewards.
  • Make your 'points' valuable.
  • Structure non-monetary rewards around your customers' values.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for customers to enroll.
  • Explore partnerships to provide even more compelling offers.
  • Make it a game.

1. Choose a great name.

The first step to a successful customer loyalty program is choosing a great name. It should incite curiosity and interest and urge customers to participate. Most importantly, you must distinguish it from the myriad of other loyalty programs they might already be part of. 

choosing a great name

Image Source

Some of my favorite customer loyalty program names include beauty brand Sephora's Beauty INSIDER program and vegan supplement brand Vega's Rad(ish) Rewards . These clever, unique names hint at benefits but don't give them away — making customers curious to learn more and join.

2. Create a deeper meaning.

Some customers are cynical about customer loyalty programs and think they're just a clever ploy to get them to spend more with businesses. Even if that’s one of your goals, it should be about more than just the money. 

To get customers excited, tap into the "why" behind your product or service to make your customer loyalty program as compelling as possible.

Briogeo rewards program opt in

Briogeo is a customizable hair care product line. With just a few answers to a quiz, customers will have a shampoo and conditioner crafted just for their hair on their doorstep.

Its rewards program is just as customer-centric as its product. For every $1 customers spend, they earn three points toward a savings discount on their next purchase. With no frills or distractions, customers know that this loyalty program is getting them closer to even more affordable hair care products. It's a win-win.

3. Reward a variety of customer actions.

Another way to demonstrate your commitment to customer loyalty beyond just purchases? Reward non-purchasing customer actions.

Customers watching product videos, engaging in your mobile app, sharing social media content, and subscribing to your blog are still valuable signs that a customer is engaging with your brand — so reward them for it.

4. Offer a variety of rewards.

Discounts aren't the only way to provide more value to your customers.

Those who spend at a certain threshold or earn enough loyalty points could turn them in for free tickets to events and entertainment, free subscriptions to additional products and services, or even donations in their name to the charity of their choice.

Lyft rideshare's Lyft up program for charity

Lyft does a fantastic job of this with its LyftUp program. Riders can round up the cost of their ride to the next dollar and donate the change to the charitable organization of their choice — making it easy and rewarding for them to make an impact while using the service as they normally do.

5. Make "points" valuable.

If you’re asking customers to enroll in your customer loyalty program, make it worth their while and offer something valuable in return. 

For example, if you're offering cashback rewards as part of your customer loyalty program, assign a monetary value to your points so customers can visualize what they can earn (and spend) by continuing to purchase from you.

Credit cards do an excellent job of this by illuminating dollar-for-dollar how people use points — just watch any commercial offering points in exchange for dollars, airline miles, groceries, or gas.

6. Structure non-monetary benefits around your customers' values.

Values are important to customers — in fact, two-thirds of customers are more willing to spend money with brands that take stances on social and political issues they care about.

So, make sure you tap into those values as part of your rewards program, too.

TOMS one third of profits for grassroots good program summary

TOMS Shoes donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every purchase its customers make. Knowing that providing resources to the developing world is important to its customers, TOMS takes it a step further by launching new products that help other important causes — like animal welfare, maternal health, clean water access, and eye care — to get customers excited about helping in other ways.

7. Provide multiple opportunities for customers to enroll.

Once you've launched your customer loyalty program, make sure you're promoting the benefits of joining.

If customers get rewards from purchasing from your online store, next to the price, share the points they could earn from spending that much.

You might have experienced this when flying on an airline that offers a loyalty rewards credit card. The flight attendants might announce that you could earn 30,000 miles toward your next flight — if you apply for the airline's credit card.

Other ways to do this include promoting the program on social media channels and adding on-site push notifications when customers complete an activity that earns them points.

8. Explore partnerships to provide even more compelling offers.

What's better than one reward? Two rewards, of course.

Co-branding rewards programs are a great way to expose your brand to new potential customers and to provide even more value to your existing, loyal ones.

Brands might offer loyal customers free access to co-branded partnerships — like T-Mobile's offer of a Netflix subscription with the purchase of two or more phone lines.

9. Make it a game.

Everyone loves games and competition — so use that winning spirit to get your customers interacting with your brand more frequently.

Lots of brands gamify their customer loyalty programs to earn valuable engagements within an app, website, or at point-of-purchase.

Treehouse customer loyalty program website

Points are easily translatable for gamification. Take Treehouse , which teaches coding and app development, and rewards engaged users with more and more points leading up to a badge — which users can then display on their websites and social profiles to impress colleagues and potential employers with their skills.

If you're operating with a growing business, you may not have much flexibility when it comes to your budget. However, you can still offer an attractive rewards program that fosters customer loyalty.

Customer Loyalty Programs for Small Business

While growing businesses don't have the same financial influence as bigger companies, these organizations can still create incentives that motivate customers to return to their stores. When developing their rewards program, small businesses need to be creative and develop a unique system that mutually benefits both the company and the customer.

Take a look at a few common ways that growing companies leverage rewards programs to build customer loyalty.

1. Punch Cards

Nothing Bundt Cakes buy 12 get one free punch card example for customer loyalty program

Punch cards are a common reward program for B2C companies. With it, customers get a business card that gets a hole punched after every purchase. Once customers fill up the card with punches, they receive perks and rewards. The benefit of this system is that customers are guaranteed to return a certain amount of time to receive the reward, making repeat purchases and driving revenue. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes has a popular punch card loyalty program that offers customers a free personal cake when they buy 12 of them.

2. Opt-in Email

Opt-in email solicits the customer's email address for communication with your brand. Once the customer opts in, your company can email them offers or promotions.

Emails are cheap to compose and distribute and can be sent at almost any frequency. You can also use email automation tools to deliver emails efficiently.

3. Free Trials

Spotify premium three month free trial example

Free trials are typically thought of as incentives used to convert potential leads, but you can also utilize them in rewards programs too. For example, say you have a new product or service that's about to launch. You can release a free trial to members of your loyalty program. This not only acts as a reward for customer loyalty but also works as a marketing tactic that primes your customers for a future sales call.

4. Partner Programs

One way to add value is to look externally at businesses to partner with. By combining your resources, you can create an offer that benefits both you, your partner, and your shared customers.

Credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard do this all the time by offering cards sponsored by a specific brand. While having a credit giant on your side is nice, start by looking for local, non-competitive businesses you can partner with to add more to your offer.

5. Referral Programs

Why track down new leads all by yourself when your customers can help do that for you?

You can incentivize loyal customers to become advocates by offering them an attractive reward for customer referrals. If your offer is good enough, customers will be happy to take the time to network your business with other potential leads.

6. Points Systems

Starbucks rewards point system loyalty program

Tracking points is a tried and true method of tracking customer loyalty. The two keys to making these programs successful are a worthwhile incentive and a reasonable timeline to earn the incentive.

Point-based loyalty programs find the sweet spot between the two so customers don’t get frustrated. For example, if you sell workout gear, people might make purchases fairly often, and there are many different businesses to choose from. 

Your incentive would need to be valuable — like a free t-shirt — and the buyer would need to be able to earn it quickly enough to keep them striving toward it, but not so quickly that the reward loses value.

Assigning a point value per dollar is a smart way to find this balance, but you’ll need to make sure it's fair. If it takes 100 points to earn a free t-shirt that usually costs $20, a $10:100 point ratio may not be feasible for your profit margin, while a $1:1 point ratio might discourage customers before they even sign up.

7. Loyalty Discounts

Kroger community rewards loyalty discount

Loyalty discounts come with a bonus to the traditional customer loyalty programs we've covered so far. These types of programs allow you to give back to the customer while also collecting data that can help you personalize their buying experience . Kroger's Community Rewards program is a great example of loyalty discounts in action.

To employ this type of program, you'd offer consistent, predictable discounts to customers every time they display an identification marker that associates them with the program. This might be a QR code, a card, or a phone number.

Kroger price discount example with a price reduction from 11.99 to 9.99 when you buy three

On the back end, your business captures data about what the customer purchased. Over time, you'll understand your customers' trends, patterns, and habits so you can improve their experience, making them even more brand loyal.

These types of programs are so strong because the incentive is consistent and predictable, which gives the customer a reason to come back again and again.

8. VIP Memberships

Similar to the idea of a loyalty program, there’s an added sense of luxury or exclusivity when a business introduces VIP perks.

By introducing a VIP membership program, customers can subscribe to your company’s email or SMS in exchange for better product selection or ease of use. Not only will they be more interested in your new offerings, but they’ll get notifications each time they check their email or phone messages.

Savage x Fenty VIP Membership for customer loyalty program

9. Mission-Driven Programs

Giving back to the community is good for the world and business. A great way to foster customer loyalty is to offer added benefits for shopping with your company — like doing something for the greater good.

Baron Fig Mission-Driven Program to plant trees for every purchase

Baron Fig makes office materials, a broad market to sell in, but has a program dedicated to planting trees for every item sold. Conscious consumers will think highly of your small business and spread the word about these programs because of their selfless nature.

10. Community Programs

Community programs are highly effective for small businesses as they can attract customers in your area or from computer screens.

In the last year, it’s plain to see how a business can impact its audience when it positions itself as a way to connect with others. Some examples are family-owned gyms offering Zoom classes to make customers feel more included, or having bakeries pop up in local flea markets. These are all steps small businesses can take to build customer loyalty and social bonding as well.

Start Your Customer Loyalty Program Today

To get started with building your customer loyalty program, you have to prioritize the customer experience.

A loyalty program won’t magically solve all your customer's issues — it's simply a more interactive way to say, "thank you, come again." Once your customers trust you, they'll be vying for the chance to earn rewards for doing business with your brand. After all, don’t they deserve the royal treatment for being loyal customers?

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Best Business Essay Examples

Customer loyalty programs.

632 words | 3 page(s)

Nowadays, it seems that nearly every organization offers a type of loyalty program. While these programs are typically used to measure customer activity and purchase behavior, they also have a significant amount of potential for customer retention as well as developing closer loyalty bonds and the reduction of churn drivers. A comparison of several well-known loyalty programs can provide additional evidence as to the use and benefits of such programs for a variety of service providers.

One example of a well-known loyalty program is frequent flier miles that are offered by nearly all of the major airlines. One example of such a loyalty program is Delta Airline’s program, SkyMiles program which is offered in conjunction with the credit card company, American Express. This program allows member to earn “miles” to be used toward the purchase of future airplane tickets for Delta flights. Miles are earned one of two ways. The first way that miles can be earned is through using the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and for every dollar spent, miles are earned depending on the tier at which the member is associated (“SkyMiles” n.d.). The other way that members are able to earn miles, is through the number of miles they actually fly. The program offers several perks beyond the opportunity to earn miles. For one, the program boasts that the miles earned by the customer never expire. Additionally, the customer is able to use their miles towards future flights, in place of or in addition to cash.

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The Delta Airline’s SkyMiles program illustrates just one example of loyalty programs that drive customer loyalty, satisfaction, repeat business, and a reduction of churn drivers. For one, miles can only be earned when flying with Delta. As such, customers enrolled in the program may feel more compelled to fly with Delta versus other airlines in order to add to their miles. Also, as part of the SkyMiles program, customers may feel that they belong to an elite group of fliers, developing a closer bond with the Delta brand and will be less likely to move on to other brands.

Another example of loyalty programs commonly used, are those within grocery stores such as Kroger. Grocery store loyalty programs may not be as effective in reducing churn as frequent flier miles due to the frequency of which customers visit the grocery store. These programs, however, do offer an added benefit to corporations in that these loyalty programs assist in tracking customer purchases and provide insight into the consumptions habits of a particular customer. They also allow for customized advertising and discounts tailored to the purchasing habits and desired products of a particular consumer (Choi 2013). This targeted advertising is seen as beneficial both from the consumer standpoint as well as the store’s standpoint. The consumer gets discounts and deals relevant to the actual products they regularly purchase while the store is able to target their campaigns to be more successful for that particular consumer. This sort of individualized marketing program is nearly impossible with other forms of advertising, and often very costly. Loyalty card programs within grocery stores, however, are a more cost-efficient alternative to other forms of individualized advertising.

Overall, loyalty programs, such as Delta Airline’s SkyMiles program and grocery store loyalty card programs, such as Kroger, are an effective marketing tool to help develop closer brand-customer bonds, reduce churn, and provide additional value to the brand in the eyes of the consumer. By offering discounts and deals to loyal customers, customers are more likely to continue their relationship with a particular brand and consider that brand their first choice within the market they serve. While many industries are adopting loyalty programs, there are still many that have yet to take advantage of the many benefits such programs offer.

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113 Loyalty Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best loyalty topic ideas & essay examples, 📌 simple & easy loyalty essay titles, 💡 most interesting loyalty topics to write about, ❓ questions about loyalty.

  • Zara Fashion Retailer: Brand Awareness and Loyalty Discussion: This chapter of this study will organise considering the research question, such as it will describe Zara’s marketing strategies to develop brand awareness and customer loyalty; Conclusions: Finally, the chapter six will scrutinise all […]
  • Ancient Civilizations: Odysseus’ Loyalty to Penelope Homer, in his epic The Odyssey tells the story of the heroes of Trojan wars and the most enchanting of all the themes of the classic work is the loyalty of Odysseus to his wife […] We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • McDonald’s Brand and Customer Loyalty The structure of the organization is quite large which spreads over a network of branches and that is the reason why the organization focuses a lot on marketing and promotional activities.
  • Examples of Loyalty in Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” After all it is after having proven his loyalty to Hassan by the means of bringing his son Sohrab to the U.S.that the novel’s protagonist Amir was able to attain inner peace hence, providing a […]
  • Customer Loyalty Contingent on the type of business the organization conducts, the company is likely to sell more products to a loyal customer than to ten first-time customers.
  • How Does Internal Public Relations Impact the Employee Productivity and Loyalty in Saudi Arabia? This study therefore intends to synthesize the issue of internal public relations and how it impacts the productivity and loyalty of employees in Saudi Arabia.
  • Heineken Marketing Mix: Achieving High Sales and Brand Loyalty The pricing of the product is a key component of the marketing mix because the price affects the perceived value that the consumers have on the product.
  • Marketing Research: Customer Loyalty at Al-Marai Company This is given the fact that customer loyalty is one of the features that defines this company in the market. The following are some of the assumptions made in the study together with the scope […]
  • UK Beauty Industry’s Quality and Customer Loyalty According to Reason, irrespective of the market segment that a firm serves in the beauty industry, service quality is increasingly becoming an important factor that these firms must consider when delivering their products to the […]
  • The Effect of Retail Service Quality and Product Quality on Customer Loyalty The link between product quality and customer loyalty is evident: when a product satisfies customer’s needs, and thereafter, a customers communicates the positive aspect of that products to others, thus showing a high degree of […]
  • Public Relations and Customer Loyalty When a firm has a strong brand image in the market, the perception of the public would always be influenced positively towards the firm, and this will increase loyalty of the customers towards the firm.
  • Japanese Americans: Loyalty and Betrayal Following this attack, the United States of America in retaliation, placed all Japanese Americans in internment camps popularly known as ‘War Relocation Camps.’ Nevertheless, the aftermath of this exercise presented one big irony of all […]
  • Loyalty Ladder: Online Brand Analysis The loyalty ladder is the structural model that implies the different levels of customer engagement in the selling process of a company’s products.
  • Brand Loyalty as the Ultimate Marketing Goal Brand Loyalty is not a very difficult concept to understand, a person becomes loyal to a brand when he/she is completely satisfied with the performance of the brand. The factor which matters the most is […]
  • Earning Loyalty and Trust Leadership should also ensure that what it expects the employees to accomplish is made clear to the employees and that they are empowered to do that.
  • Purchasing Intentions and Customers Loyalty Towards Michelin in China The latter was found to be necessary in the new market in order to boost the performance of employees and overall brand image of the company in the new competitive and dynamic market.
  • The Analysis of Tesla’s Brand Loyalty The sophisticated customer personalization levels that Tesla provides result in the highest customer satisfaction. Apart from that, Tesla leads the industry in terms of integrated data.
  • Unlocking Growth and Loyalty: Analyzing the Strategic Roles of Uber’s Paid Ads Thus, the analysis of Uber brand’s paid ads defines that the main strategic role of ads for the company is to expand the company by attracting new drivers.
  • Truth vs. Loyalty: Tinkov’s Ethical Dilemma Moreover, his pacifist text and critique of the Russian aggression and dictatorship made Tinkov’s life unsafe. He chose truthfulness and freedom from greed over political loyalty and the well-being of his business.
  • Customer Loyalty in the Gas Manufacturing Industry Players in the oil and gas industry, thus, face the threat of losing customers to organizations involved in the production of clean energy.
  • Toyota: Improving Customer Loyalty In the present competitive environment especially affected by the pandemic, the majority of automobile brands undertake all efforts to attract new clients and improve customer loyalty. The company offers an immediate and free examination of […]
  • Loyalty Cards and Privacy Relations According to them, it is virtually impossible to guarantee that the data in question will not be stolen, and the only way to mitigate the risks is through digital privacy education.
  • Is Having a Store Loyalty Card a Good Choice? The utilization of the correct business model leads to the creation of value for the customers. Finally, the use of the correct business model can lead to the creation of the appropriate financial components that […]
  • Customer Loyalty in Fast Food Industry Under Current Economic Crisis The objective of this research is to evaluate different customer loyalty programs offered by companies operating in the UK Fast Food Industry to induce more sales and assess their effectiveness amid of the current economic […]
  • Careem’s Differentiation: Customer Loyalty In this way, the central recommendation for Careem is to build a company that would become a brand associated with services of exceptional quality one of a kind.
  • Airline Revenue Management and Customer Loyalty The issue of extra earnings has led to the generation of excess airline miles that exceed demand. Airline revenue management’s aim is to discourage sales of vacant seats or redemption of miles strategies; in return, […]
  • Brand Loyalty Through the Internet Another important aspect of the proposed solution is that ABN AMRO can be able to enhance the relationship with clients and thus increase its popularity.
  • Marketing: Customer Loyalty One of the most discussed issues in the financial services sector around the world is the improvement of the services that are given to customers.
  • Factors That Influence Fan Loyalty in Sports The author explained in detail the choice of the research strategy, the research methods, the research approach, the methods and instruments of data collection.
  • Employee Loyalty and Engagement in the UAE Public Sector The background elucidates the need to improve performance in the public sector due to the high rate of development in the United Arab Emirates, which is relevant to the research study.
  • Potential Loyalty: The Most Valuable Employee Criteria This means that, in this jet age of ours where most people are chasing bigger salaries, bigger perks, and a lot more, employees jumping ships to new jobs or companies seems to be the order […]
  • The Kudler: A Growth Strategy, Customer Numbers and Loyalty The Kudler is a company that operates three food stores in California; the La jolla, Del Mar and Encinitas. The products will then be transported to the outlets by road.
  • Retailing Lessons From Loyalty Programs Around the Globe This is because the different teams identify the different groups of customers in the same way, that is, according to their needs.
  • Loyalty Programs Encouraging Buying Behaviors Grab and go shoppers can be shown by the time spent in the stores by a customer. In the other countries it should be such that one point is collected for an amount equivalent to […]
  • Brand Loyalty Is a Myth: Factors and Examples In the marketing world, the term brand loyalty can be defined as the commitment of customers to continue using or repurchase a particular brand and this is normally portrayed by repeated buying of a good […]
  • Customer Loyalty in Prepaid Cell Phone Industry The main business focus should be on customer retention and continuous buying by customers, hence in the end organizations will ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Fundamentals of Marketing. Brand Names & Loyalty Marketing research consists of a plan that charts how pertinent data is to be collected and analyzed so that the outcomes are useful and appropriate for making marketing decisions.
  • IFRIC 13 Customer Loyalty Programmes The recognition of the revenue is to take place at the time when the redemption of the award credit takes place which marks the fulfilment of the obligation by the entity awarding the credits.
  • Relationship Marketing: Does Trust Always Lead to Loyalty? It is simply the reality that the Internet and highly sophisticated transport systems allowed men and women all over the world to communicate and do business in a scale never before seen or heard in […]
  • Customer Loyalty and How Marketers Can Use It It is necessary to understand, that the retail seller cannot affect the degree of loyalty of the consumer to the trademark of the goods.
  • The Role of Social Media of Consumers on Cars Brand Loyalty The purpose of this study is to assess the role of the social media of consumers on the brand loyalty of cars.
  • The Effects of Online Shopping on Customer Loyalty For example, the study by Afrashteh, Azad, and Tabatabaei Hanzayy is dedicated to the concept of online shopping and the use of this electronic marketing technique to influence customer loyalty in conditions of the state […]
  • Airline Companies’ Loyalty Programmes and Market Share Dreze and Nunes pay attention to the method of differentiating travellers by status and argue that “the influence of tier size” can have a positive effect on interest in a certain company.
  • Business and Professional Ethics: Customer Loyalty The opposite way out that Peter might choose is to obey his boss’s order despite the personal vision of the situation.
  • Subaru Analyzes Customers’ Loyalty and Devotion The present case study pursues two goals: to define the role that the marketing research plays in Subaru’s operation and to identify the management-decision problem the corporation faces when assessing the consumers’ needs.
  • Plan Care Company’s Management and Employee Loyalty The main emphasis of this paper is to understand the extent that managerial behaviors affect employee loyalty and commitment. Through this imbalanced nature of human relationships in the workplace, employees have always expressed their loyalty […]
  • Customer Loyalty and Premature Marketing Some of the key issues addressed in this chapter include the expectation of customers in regards to services being offered and the perception of customers.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs for Business Benefits I agree with Jacqueline that a successful loyalty program always adds value to the primary business of the company and is consistent with its brand and vision.
  • Violation of Teacher Loyalty Rules and Regulations According to the New York education laws and regulations, teachers were required to sign a certificate to confirm that they were not participants of “subversive” organizations, one of which was the Communist party.
  • Loyalty or Reward Program and Its Aspects It is critical to inform the customers about the upsides of becoming a loyal client and expose them to the real value of being a part of the rewards program.
  • Store Loyalty Cards and Their Effects on Retailers The second last section of the report focused on the shortcomings of loyalty cards to consumers and they included gradual price increases, a phenomenon of exclusivity, and disincentives for consumers.
  • Loyalty Programs in the Airline Industry After 2008 As such, this paper will attempt to answer the question: are loyalty programs still an effective method of maintaining consumer patronage in the current airline industry?
  • Service Quality and Customer Loyalty in China’s Hotels The primary aim of the proposed study is to critically analyze how service quality affects customer loyalty and customer repeat intentions in hotel settings in China.
  • Tourism Satisfaction and Loyalty: From UK to Shanghai One of the theories applied in the study is the theory of reasoned action, which focuses on the prediction of behavioral intentions, which result from the attitude one develops towards a destination and the intention […]
  • Price Management for Customer Loyalty In the MSNBC interview with Bob Prosen, the concept of the methodological price increase was discussed. The given example illustrates the importance of open communication and trust in the workplace.
  • Loyalty Cards’ Effectiveness in Supermarkets Due to the recurring recession and the poor economic conditions all over the world, it has become pertinent for all the supermarkets and hypermarkets to be competitive. The loyalty cards present a platform for the […]
  • Workplace Loyalty Improvements The usual assumption by the management is that if the company is successful enough, the employees are happy to be a part of it.
  • Loyalty in “The Gift” by Rosario Ferre In general, loyalty is considered to be a state or a feeling of devotion and faithfulness that is oriented to a particular person, a group of people, cause, or country, etc. Exclusionary one presupposes that […]
  • Loyalty in “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens For instance, the author ridicules this blind loyalty to Gradgrind’s philosophy and outlines various ways it has affected the lives of his children and people that surround him.
  • Emirates Group App’s Influence on Clients’ Loyalty Therefore, the primary target of this research is to assess the extent of the impact the introduction of progressive mobile apps has on the clients’ loyalty.
  • Shoppers’ Satisfaction Levels and Store Loyalty The objectives of the research included: Defining the correlation between the store attributes and shopping behavior and customer satisfaction. Finding out if the satisfaction factors contribute to the loyalty ones.
  • Airline Loyalty Programmes in Customer Patronage The first is the benefits that can be obtained through the frequent flyer loyalty program of airlines while the second is the affordability that low-cost carriers offer.
  • Whistle-blowing and Employee Loyalty The supervisors at the company ‘forced the employees to keep quiet about the problem’. The whistle blowers also ‘sacrificed their careers in order to achieve justice’.
  • The Concept of Loyalty The aim of the paper is to understand the effect of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty specifically in case of Starbucks.
  • The Effectiveness of Loyalty Programs The accents on the advantages in the form of rewards and discounts for customers are the direct way to contribute to the customer loyalty in relation to the definite hotel and increase the company’s profits […]
  • Behavioral Patterns, Trust and Loyalty-Building In China Among the issues appearing to cause variations in the purchase of clothing and apparel by online platforms included the price, discount, sales volume, size, styles and designs, user recommendations, product authenticity, changes on the actual […]
  • “Value, Satisfaction, Loyalty and Retention in Professional Services” by Trasorras, Weinstein, and Abratt Thus, the purpose of the research is to state the absence or presence of the relationship between the value and customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction in the context of professional services.
  • Internet-Based Loyalty Programs The purpose of this paper is to discuss the application of internet-based loyalty programs in the context of the hospitality industry.
  • WeChat Users’ Motivation, Satisfaction and Loyalty H3: Satisfaction has a positive impact on WeChat users’ loyalty Motivation Just like in the case of any other media platforms, users of WeChat ought to have a positive attitude and the desired motivation for […]
  • How Can Brand Awareness & Customer Loyalty Stimulate Customer Involvement: Zara One of the fundamental priority areas that have been targeted by companies in the fashion industry as a matter of urgency is the creation of brand awareness among customers and the reinforcement of customer loyalty […]
  • ‘The Effect of Brand Image on the Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction in the Context of a Telecommunication Company’ Thus, the researcher will be in a position of criticising the academic literature on brand image, with a focus on the role of customer satisfaction and loyalty in the in the industry.
  • A Research on Store Loyalty Card In order to do so, the nature of the research to be conducted will seek to answer the following questions; 1.
  • The Importance of the Customer Loyalty and the Ways to Increase E-loyalty The rapid development of the principles of retailing and the active usage of the innovative technologies and the Internet resulted in the fact that today it is possible to use the notion of the customer […]
  • Various Internal and External Stakeholders and the Duty of Loyalty to Them, on the Example of the Hospital As the president of the facility, the doctor has important obligations to all the stakeholders. The president has the responsibility to present progress reports and attend to the demands of the board of trustees.
  • Behavioural Brand Loyalty Requires Deep Attitudinal Attachment to the Brand To attain brand loyalty, a company must ensure its products are differentiable in the market; this call for high quality good and making brand salience, the brand should be on top of a consumers mind […]
  • Implications of Loyalty Program Membership and Service Experiences for Customer Retention and Value Another excellent example of the application of loyalty programs in the service industry includes the co-branded credit card program that has been launched by General Motors, a program that seeks to allocate 5 percent of […]
  • Consumer Behavior Group Project (Loyalty Program) Apple Company is one of the leading organizations in terms of profitability. In 2012, for the third time, Apple was awarded as the most innovative company in the world.
  • The Impact of Brand Loyalty on New Product Launches The marketing team will have to devise a problem statement that defines the unmet needs of the market in the given product category and the advantages that will accrue to consumers, emotionally and physically, by […]
  • Ways of Screening Employees for Security and Loyalty The loyalty and security checks instill a lack of trust in the employees and this is likely to affect the performance of the employees.
  • Customer Loyalty and Relationship Management The goal of the report is to present the research findings on the issues surrounding loyalty programs and an analysis of the Southwest Airline rewards program.
  • “The Mismanagement of Customer Loyalty” by Reinartz & Kumar The researchers point out that it is believed that loyal customers tend to pay more, to require less attention and to be word-of-mouth marketers.
  • The Challenges Facing Marketing Managers Who Have the Strategic Intent to Increase Customer Satisfaction, Trust, and Loyalty That is because of the stiff competition in the world of business, in the world of selling whatever there is to sell.
  • Loyalty Schemes Effect: Information, Finance, and HR Management The main function of the customer information management is to facilitate the operation of customer segmentation strategies by figuring out the values and preferences of customers via customer loyalty schemes.
  • Recommendations to Enhance Coffee Bean’s Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Given that majority of the consumers are young, hence own computers that they use to study and work while in the cafes, the customer relationship department has to move swiftly and employ a fulltime specialist […]
  • The Question of Loyalty and Patriotism Considering the fact that the alien country, is where one lives and has accumulated most of her/his wealth, it becomes reasonable to show loyalty to the country though this action can also result into negatives […]
  • The Effect of Customer Value, Customer Satisfaction and Switching Costs On Customer Loyalty: An Empirical Study Of Hypermarkets In Taiwan This is a summary of the article “The Effect of Customer Value, Customer Satisfaction, and Switching Costs on Customer Loyalty: An Empirical Study of Hypermarkets in Taiwan, by the authors Tsai, Ming-Tien; Tsai, Chung-Lin; Chang, […]
  • Loyalty Motivation in “Best Places to Launch a Career” by Tanaka It is based on such factors that a company needs to take into consideration the changing face of workplace loyalty in order to make the appropriate type of hiring decisions and to understand the necessity […]
  • Loyalty Imagery in “Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima This highlights the theme of loyalty, as the soldiers are ready to obey orders well aware of the dangers involved. The author continues to explore the symbol of compliance and selflessness by explicating how soldiers […]
  • Are Customer Loyalty and Online Grocery Shopping Linked in Anyway?
  • What Drives Consumer Participation in Loyalty Programs?
  • Can Customer Loyalty Programs Really Build Loyalty?
  • Does Advertising Overcome Brand Loyalty?
  • What Kind of Loyalty Is Most Important?
  • Can Ethical Business Strategy Influence Consumers Buying Behavior and Loyalty?
  • Does Blowing the Whistle Violate Company Loyalty?
  • What Influences Satisfaction and Loyalty in Public Transport?
  • How Can Organizations Build Employee Commitment and Loyalty?
  • Does Brand Loyalty Segmentation Work All the Time?
  • Is Loyalty Important for Success?
  • How Do Corporate Reputation, Quality, and Value Influence Online Loyalty?
  • What Is a False Sense of Loyalty?
  • Does the Institutional Loyalty Hypothesis Really Work?
  • Whether Service Quality Determinants and Customer Satisfaction Influence Loyalty?
  • How Can Customer Loyalty Be Increased?
  • Does Technology Acceptance Change the Way From CRM to Customer Loyalty?
  • Why Should Customer Loyalty Influence Marketing Strategy?
  • How Does Brand Loyalty Affect the Performance of a Company?
  • Does True Loyalty Really Exist in Relationship Marketing of the Airline Industry?
  • Why Don’t Male and Female Shoppers See Mall Loyalty Through the Same Lens?
  • How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Create Customer Loyalty?
  • Why Is Loyalty the Most Important Virtue?
  • How Does IKEA Generate Customer Loyalty?
  • What Are the Factors Influencing Customer Loyalty Towards Online Shopping?
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The evolution of loyalty programs

Charting the future of customer engagement and retention through the travel, leisure, and hospitality industry

loyalty program essay

Brand loyalty is being tested. Customers are less satisfied with their brand experiences than they were just one year ago. 1 Expectations are not being met in great part, they say, because technology, if not implemented correctly, can be an unwelcome intermediary to reduce expenses instead of to improve service. Customers complain about being funneled into low-cost channels stripped of human interaction and personal touch. And inflation still weighs on the customer mindset.

Loyalty programs can offer the personalized experience and savings customers want, as well as a high rate of return for companies that invest in these programs in the travel, leisure, and hospitality industry. However, the same strategies used in the past are not as enticing for customers who want and expect more.

Companies must evolve their strategies to meet changing consumer demands and business conditions.

A recent survey of loyalty members in the hotel and lodging space demonstrates the potential for companies in the travel, leisure, and hospitality sector to impact customer engagement. 2

88%  of satisfied premium loyalty program members prefer that business over a competitor offering a lower price

83% say joining a loyalty program will lead them to continue purchasing from that business

70% recommend brands to others if they believe the brands’ loyalty programs add value

66% modify spending to maximize loyalty benefits

Companies can build better loyalty programs by reviewing their existing offerings through the lenses of customer perception, providing a compelling offer, consistent delivery, and financial impact.

As GenAI capabilities mature, it will be easier for hotels, casinos, cruise lines, and others in the sector to collect and use real-time information about their customers’ behavior. One of the most significant challenges organizations face is figuring out how to fully maximize all of this data.

Review The evolution of loyalty programs to learn about transformational strategies that can drive value for both the customer and the organization.

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Essays on Loyalty Program

10 samples on this topic

The range of written assignments you might receive while studying Loyalty Program is stunning. If some are too difficult, an expertly crafted sample Loyalty Program piece on a related topic might lead you out of a deadlock. This is when you will definitely praise WowEssays.com ever-expanding directory of Loyalty Program essay samples meant to spark your writing enthusiasm.

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Performance measurement is an essential aspect that defines whether an enterprise is successful or no. Through an analysis of the Kohl’s Corporation 10-K, various performance measurement approaches are used. Like in conventional business practice, the performance measures are used to inform the direction that a firm should take (Kellen & Wolf, 2003). As pointed out in the text, there are many perspectives in approaching performance measures. The measures used by Kohl’s Corporation can be categorized into four groups.

Financial measures

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Proper essay example about target corporation: external and internal environments.

Target Corporation: Internal and External Environments

Example Of Essay On The Hilton Hhonors Worlwide: Loyalty Wars


The Hilton Hotel HHonors program is a service that is ran in both Hilton Hotels Corporation and Hilton International. Hilton views this program as a highly effective marketing tool set to serve the frequent business traveler. This is at an aim to create and retain loyal customers given the severe competition in the hotel industry. This loyalty program works by allowing regular guests to acquire and accumulate points as well as airline miles every time they use any of the Hilton services offered. This program is among the largest of its kind with over 30 million registered users.

Q1 (A) Strengths and Weaknesses of the Hilton HHonors Program from the Standpoints of Hilton Hotels Corp and Hilton International

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Loyalty program services

Loyalty is no longer just about transactions, it’s about forging deep emotional connections with customers, building enduring relationships and fueling sustainable growth. The EY approach goes beyond traditional points and rewards and focuses on transforming connections and driving meaningful engagement.

Duncan Avis

Duncan Avis

EY Americas Customer & Growth Leader

Patricia Camden

Patricia Camden

Managing Director, EY Americas Loyalty Leader

Michael Anders

Michael Anders

Principal, Strategy and Transactions, EY-Parthenon, Ernst & Young LLP

Your business challenge | Solution benefits |  Solution features & functionality |  Why EY |  Alliance relationships |  The team |  How EY can help |  Our Latest thinking  | Contact us

Your business challenge

In today’s competitive business landscape, loyalty is no longer just about transactions. It's about forging deep emotional connections with customers, building enduring relationships and fueling sustainable growth.

Across industries, loyalty programs are essential for fostering lasting customer relationships. A well-executed program can contribute significantly to your brand’s growth and profitability, with loyal customers spending more, making more frequent purchases and elevating customer lifetime value. However, meeting customer expectations is a challenge. Today’s consumers value experiences, convenience, personalization and social responsibility. To succeed, loyalty programs must strike a balance of experiences and rewards that resonates deeply with the target audience.

In addition, technological advancements have introduced opportunities and challenges in the design and implementation of customer loyalty programs. The speed at which technology evolves can make it difficult to keep pace so that your program remains relevant and effective. Add to this the seemingly overwhelming number of options and possibilities. Yet, selecting the right technologies that align with your business goals and meet the evolving expectations of your customers requires careful consideration and strategic decision-making.

As today’s organizations face these challenges, they are asking themselves the following questions:

  • How can we optimize and drive more growth from our existing customer base?
  • What strategies can keep our loyalty program relevant and effective amid changing customer expectations and technological advancements?
  • How can we move beyond transactional relationships and focus on winning the hearts and minds of our customers?
  • How can we leverage data and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, and tailor our loyalty program accordingly?
  • How can we leverage data to deliver personalized loyalty programs at scale?
  • How can we achieve seamless integration of technology platforms within our loyalty program to deliver a frictionless customer experience?
  • How can we ensure proper accounting and tax treatments of our loyalty program to comply with regulations and maximize financial benefits?
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) should we track to measure the success and effectiveness of our customer loyalty program in terms of financial performance, customer engagement and overall business impact?

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Solution benefits

EY loyalty programs help organizations strengthen brand perception, escalate growth, and disrupt the competition. Key elements include:

  • Enhanced customer retention
  • Elevated customer engagement
  • Accelerated sales and repeat business
  • Heightened customer advocacy and referrals
  • Increased data insight throughout the customer journey

Solution features and functionality

Loyalty program strategy and design.

We create customized frameworks for loyalty programs that align with a company’s objectives and target audience. We analyze business goals, customer behavior, market trends and the competitive landscape to define program goals, structure and mechanics. This encompasses elements such as program tiers, rewards, communication channels and customer engagement tactics. The goal is to create a loyalty program that fosters strong emotional connections with customers, drives growth and enhances overall customer satisfaction.

Program implementation and technology integration

Leveraging strategic vision and design, we create a fully operational and effective system. This involves the practical implementation of the loyalty program structure, mechanics and features defined during the strategy and design phase. Actions include setting up the necessary technological infrastructure, selecting and integrating loyalty platforms, and configuring the program’s operational processes.

Program optimization and performance management

By optimizing and effectively managing the loyalty program’s performance, organizations can drive customer satisfaction, increase customer retention and achieve higher levels of customer advocacy, ultimately leading to business growth and increased profitability. This includes setting clear and achievable goals and objectives for the loyalty program and aligning them with the organization’s broader business objectives. Organizations that establish benchmarks and performance targets, track progress and implement performance measurement frameworks can identify potential bottlenecks, address customer pain points and refine program mechanics and rewards to better anticipate and meet customer expectations.

At EY, we have proven experience creating and implementing modern loyalty programs that redefine the concept of loyalty. Our approach goes beyond traditional points and rewards. We focus on transforming connections and driving meaningful engagement.

EY loyalty programs leverage human-centered design to build offerings that are customer-centric and that fit your organization’s needs. With a deep understanding of evolving customer expectations, we design programs that go beyond transactional relationships and help you to foster meaningful emotional connections with your customers. Our comprehensive suite of services spans loyalty strategy and design, technology integration and even accounting and tax considerations. We believe that your loyalty program should not only drive customer engagement but also deliver financial value, with optimized performance and revenue streams — and minimized risk.

Collaborating with EY gives you the advantage of working with a global organization that can handle every aspect of your loyalty program, from conceptualization to implementation and financial management. We are committed to providing end-to-end solutions that drive customer loyalty, transform connections and ultimately fuel your organization’s growth.

Alliance relationships

Our alliances and ecosystem relationships with the following companies help us provide high-impact loyalty programs:

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Essay Xperts

Essay: Customer Loyalty Programs

Business / Samples May 10, 2011

Sample Essay

Recently many companies are using customer-loyalty programs to keep their customers loyal to them. This approach is even more popular in hospitality business, but researchers point that using such programs, sellers should pay attention to attitudinal loyalty and frequency of actions (Baloglu 2002).  Frequent-user program allows customers to have various benefits when they return (Victorino, Verma, Plaschka and Dev 2005). Here we can talk about guest cards, with saving bonuses, cutting cost and sales for the guest and his family, special occasions and actions. In a coffee bar these can be stamp-cards with free drink and tasting days, with new coffee arrivals and recipes. In addition, some innovations can take place, for example, cash-cards, that allow experiencing coffee break without cash.

Another action that can take place – gifts for returning customers and after guest registration, birthday presents. However, these tactics are believed by various researchers can be ineffective as they can be used by other service providers and competitors.    The solution that is found in this scenario is actually building the trust and commitment between consumer and service provider (Bowen and Shoemaker 1998). Commitment is the fundamental part of relationship and it is defined as “commitment as the belief that an ongoing relationship is so important that the partners are willing to work at maintaining the relationship and are willing to make short-term sacrifices to realize long-term benefits” (Bowen and Shoemaker 1998 p. 22). Trust on the other hand is readiness to depend and rely on associate with faith and respect.

Voluntary partnership is an approach that can lead to loyalty as well. Here we are talking about customer voluntary activities that can take place in order to increase future satisfaction. For instance, questionnaires and filling forms can be designed to find out customers’ opinion and preferences as well as customer references. Very important loyalty creating factor is positive word-of-mouth, which can be even more effective than other marketing tools.

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Loyalty Program at the Body Shop

Executive summary.

The background research undertaken provides that loyalty card schemes are amongst the most popular loyalty schemes with the customers where the customers are provided discounts and rewards for their repeat purchases with the company. Stores like HMV, Marks & Spencer and even Body Shop have variations of loyalty card-based programs for their customers. Based on the background research the problem that was identified was whether the people are aware of The Body Shop’s loyalty card and whether they find it worth buying it. Primary research was conducted through questionnaire-based surveys and in-depth interviews that highlighted that the respondents of the primary research were mostly customers of the body shop and had used its loyalty card. The research also provided that the loyalty card was one of the main factors for them making purchases at the Body Shop. They especially looked forward to the GBP 10 worth of birthday gifts and the 10% discount on their purchases at Body Shop. The research also provides recommendations that highlight how the Body Shop can increase customer loyalty by enhancing the rewards and privileges provided by its loyalty card.

Research Background Section

Loyalty-based marketing is aimed at targeting the current as well as new customers of the brand to extend their lifetime with the company and induce repeat purchase behavior. Companies strive to attain customers that are loyal to their brand as they are easier to cater to again while being less costly and are willing to pay higher premium-based prices for the products and services bought.

Retailers often provide their customers with a card-based loyalty scheme where the increased purchase of the cardholder results in increased discounts and rewards being earned by them. The Body Shop has also launched a loyalty-based card scheme that rewards its customers who make repeat purchases from the company for its various products. “The Love your body card scheme, based on an initiative run by the company in the U.S., replaces its current Earn and redeem the card. Rather than saving points on the card to be redeemed against later purchases, customers who pay £ 5 to join will receive an immediate 10% discount on all products, as well as free gifts, depending on the value of their purchases. The Body Shop claims the card has been a success in the U.S., where retail sales grew by 5% to £ 164.4m in the past year, compared with Great Britain’s 10% decline to £ 161.5m.” (‘The Body Shop in loyalty overhaul’, 2004).

Other retailers and brands that have launched similar reward card-based loyalty schemes include HMV music and stores. “HMV aims to urge customer loyalty with the launch of a pure HMV reward card. It offers consumers’ money-can’t- buy products and experiences. With this, customers will be able to redeem points, accrued on the card through purchases, for items such assigned products, back-stage passes and invitations to special events” (Fitzgerald, 2008). Pathmark Stores have the Pathmark Advantage Payment Card that enhances the “Pathmark Advantage Club loyalty card program in the U.S. Through the new card system, customers can easily do the one-swipe payment process that generates loyalty rewards. In addition, the company used its in-store television network as a primary marketing communication vehicle” (Duff, 2007). Marks & Spencers, House of Fraser as well as other luxury brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret all have their own versions of loyalty card schemes that they have launched to increase awareness of their brands as well as use discounts and rewards to induce repeat purchase amongst their customers.

In order to successfully build a card-based loyalty program and reap benefits from it, the companies should market the card along with the loyalty-based scheme to the customers through advertisements while building PR for the brand and the company. Additionally, they should strive for merchandising the card inside the stores as well as providing it through the associated business partners and brands that complement the product offering for the company. Distributing the loyalty card as a gift card is also useful as the current customers of the brand can increase the customer base of the company by word of mouth marketing and giving the gift loyalty cards to their families and peers. Aside from this loyalty cards and “stored-value cards provide speedy transaction time at the counter” (Fleenor, 2006). They “can enhance customer loyalty and endorse store merchandises and product offerings.” (Fleenor, 2006)

In recent years the concept of loyalty card-based schemes has somewhat come under threat as Barclays, HSBC and Egg have closed their loyalty card schemes. The main reason is customer dissatisfaction and the lack of performance of the schemes where they have become a gimmick instead of a loyalty marketing strategy. “Unless an organization can prove a program is delivering more than it’s costing, they should not be doing it” (Rubach, 2002). Taking this into perspective The Body Shop loyalty program is assessed by this research to determine how effective it is, whether it increases the loyalty of the customers to the brand while increasing the brand awareness in the market as well.

Research Objectives & Questions

The objective of the research is to determine how loyalty card-based marketing and customer loyalty programs affect the business. The proposed research undertaken aims to highlight the usage of the loyalty card by The Body Shop and whether it is well received in the market. The problem that is identified is whether the people are aware of The Body Shop’s loyalty card and whether they find it worth buying.

The research questions that have been formulated for this research pertaining to the following:

  • Is the preferred loyalty card being used by the cardholders?
  • How do loyalty cardholders evaluate the privileges associated with the card? Is it worth the discount or not?
  • What are the perceived benefits and weaknesses of the loyalty card, and why?
  • Is the loyalty card an important factor in coming to The Body Shop?
  • How often and when do cardholders use their loyalty cards?
  • What improvements should be made regarding the card or the extended privileges?
  • What is the demographic profile of the people who have The Body shop loyalty card?

Research Components and Outcome

The research that is undertaken takes an explorative format where qualitative data is collected through primary as well as secondary sources to determine whether the card-based loyalty scheme is well received by the target market and what are their perceptions of the scheme. The research includes a background research-based literature review, market research that is undertaken using a questionnaire as well as in-depth interviews with correspondents with the target market for The Body Shop that reveal opinions and perceptions about the loyalty card scheme launched by The Body Shop. The main purpose of the research on The Body Shop is to collect information about the loyalty card, whether it is well known about and it is not being used as expected and why customers are not interested.

Research Design

The research undertaken comprises primary as well as secondary research. The secondary research makes use of peer-reviewed scholarly journal-based articles retrieved from journal databases as well as consumer magazines and marketing trade periodicals. The website of the Body Shop Company has also been reviewed for details on the loyalty card scheme provided by them to their customers.

For the primary research specific to their research we have targeted a segment of The Body Shop customers pertaining to female university students. The primary research is conducted through the use of a questionnaire-based survey as well as in-depth interviews conducted on respondents from the target market. The sample size that was taken from the population was that of 30 respondents; however, a sample of 250 respondents could have been taken to support full-scale research. The sampling methodology was used as a non-probability-based convenience sampling methodology for both the questionnaire-based survey as well as the in-depth interviews. The research administration was conducted through sell filling questionnaires that were distributed amongst the respondents while a researcher was available for any inquiries on part of the respondents. The interviews conducted were face-to-face interviews. The reason why the researcher was interactively involved with the respondents for the data collection was because of the easy availability of the respondents and the close proximity of the researcher to the respondents who were female university students themselves.


The questionnaires that were used for the survey were made up of 12 close-ended questions that provided information pertaining to the demographics of the respondent, sample of their past purchases with Body Shop, the frequency of their purchases with, their perception of Body Shop and the loyalty card scheme at the company. The reason for the usage of the loyalty cards by the respondents as well as the frequency of the usage was tracked in the questionnaire. The previous questionnaire that was developed had all questions in the open-ended format. However as it was discovered that such a questionnaire would be difficult to analyze and determine trends form, the questions were changed into the closed question format with Likert and differential scales being used for the multiple choices provided. The pre and post-test questionnaires are provided in the appendix.

Exploratory Research Questions

The questions that were incorporated in the exploratory research technique of in-depth interviews were more open as compared to the questionnaire-based survey. These questions targeted the opinions of the respondents pertaining to the brand and image of the Body Shop and the associations that they link with the brand. The reason for the customer’s purchases from the shop was also queried along with the value that is perceived by the customers of the privileges and the discount opportunities that are provided to the holders of the loyalty program. Aside from this, the respondent was also queried on what changes could be made to the loyalty card programs to make them more worthy for the customers.

Data Analysis

The following depicts the analysis of the questionnaire-based survey for the research undertaken.

The majority of the respondents were aged between 18-25 years of age.


The ethnicity of the respondents was mainly British and African with a third majority of South Asian.


The skin type of the respondents was mainly oily with a second majority of normal

Skin Type.

The fashion orientation of the respondents was mainly smart and casual.

Fashion orientation.

Ninety percent of the respondents were pro-animal rights.

Pro-animal rights.

Sixty three percent of the respondents were pro-community based development

Pro-community based development.

All of the respondents had made purchases from the Body Shop

Make purchases from the Body Shop.

All of the respondents were aware of the Body Shop Loyalty card

Aware of the Body Shop Loyalty card.

Ninety three percent of the respondents had used the Body Shop loyalty card.

Use the Body Shop loyalty card.

The following depicts the reasons for the respondents making purchases with the Body Shop loyalty card.

Reasons for the respondents making purchases with the Body Shop loyalty card.

The following depicts the frequency of purchases made by the respondents with the Body Shop loyalty card.

Frequency of loyalty card usage.

Majority of the respondents agreed with the loyalty card being a main factor in making purchases from the Body Shop.

Loyalty Card Important Factor in Purchasing from the shop.

The following depicts the improvements that could be made to the Body Shop loyalty card scheme.

Improvements that can be made.

Findings and Recommendations

The research revealed that the demographic profile of the Body Shop customers was such that they are aged between 18 to 30 years with few being above 30 as well. Their ethnic orientation is mainly British and African with a third majority of South Asians and Indians. The majority of the respondents had either a normal or an oily skin type and were oriented towards smart casual and fusionist types of fashion. The research also revealed that the majority of the customers for the Body Shop were pro-animal rights and community-based development. All of the respondents had made purchases from the Body Shop and were aware of the Body Shop loyalty card. A great majority of the respondents at 93% had used the loyalty card. The research also depicted that the respondents tend to use the Body Shop loyalty card from 0-3 times a month. The reason that was highlighted by the respondents for making purchases at Body Shop using the loyalty card pertained to availing discounts, saving money on the card and receiving the GBP 10 birthday gift. 74 percent of the respondents surveyed provided that they agreed to the loyalty card being the main reason for them making purchases from the body shop.

Through the research, it was also highlighted that in order to make the loyalty card scheme work for the Body Shop in the long term, the company would have to invest in customer relations and loyalty schemes that highlight increased discounting on the card and applicability of the discount on more products provided by the company. Moreover the prospect of a free makeover by the Body Shop on a purchase of GBP 25 or above was also well received by the customers of the brand.


The limitation of the study and the undertaken research mainly pertained to the target market selection and the use of the sampling technique. A convince-based sampling methodology was employed in a small niche market segment for the Body Shop specific to female university students. This small niche-based sample selection could lead to limited recognition of the trends and popularity of the Body Shop loyalty card and scheme. Additionally the research undertaken was specifically for Body Shop loyalty card schemes and cannot be generalized to other loyalty card schemes for other brands.

Bibliography and Referencing

  • 2004, The Body Shop in loyalty overhaul, Marketing , p4-4, 1/9p, 1 color.
  • Day, J., 1999, Body Shop rolls out loyalty card, Marketing Week , Vol. 22 Issue 33, p9, 1/3p, 1 color.
  • Fitzgerald, M., 2008, HMV to roll out reward card, Marketing , p2-2, 1/4p.
  • Duff, M., 2007,Loyalty debit card to star on Pathmark network, Retailing Today , Vol. 46 Issue 17, p15-19, 2p.
  • Curtis, J., 1999, Cards versus cuts in the loyalty war, Marketing , p37, 2p, 1 chart, 11 color.
  • Fleenor, D. G., 2006, Tips for a successful card program, National Petroleum News , Vol. 98 Issue 5, p42-42, 1/2p.
  • Rubach, E., 2002, Loyalty cards vs. price cuts: which is more persuasive, Precision Marketing ; 2/15/2002, Vol. 14 Issue 20, p2, 1/2p, 2 color.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Loyalty — Why is Loyalty Important


Importance of Loyalty in Relationships: Business, Love and Friendship

  • Categories: Loyalty Relationship

About this sample


Words: 535 |

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 535 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Hook Example about Love for Essay

  • Building Bridges: Loyalty forms the very bedrock of trust in any relationship. Whether it’s a bond of love, friendship, or business, it’s the glue that holds connections together, and without it, these connections risk crumbling.
  • The Rock in Troubled Waters: In the tempestuous seas of life, loyalty is the lighthouse that guides you safely through the darkest nights. It’s the unwavering support system that keeps you afloat when the tides turn against you.
  • Beyond Words: True loyalty isn’t a mere declaration; it’s a daily demonstration. It’s not about what you say but what you do, consistently. It’s the quiet commitment that speaks volumes.
  • Recognizing True Friends: Loyalty often shines brightest in the shadows. It’s not just about being there in tough times; it’s also about sharing in the joy of success. A loyal friend doesn’t just applaud your victories; they stand by your side throughout the journey.
  • More Than Numbers: In a world filled with fleeting connections, loyalty is the thread that weaves lasting relationships. While you may meet countless people, a genuinely loyal friend is a rare gem, a connection that transcends the ordinary.

Works Cited

  • Graham, J., & Lijffijt, J. (2018). The importance of loyalty in business-to-business relationships. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 33(2), 177-186.
  • Griffin, J., & DeCarlo, T. E. (2018). Loyalty in interpersonal relationships: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(6), 903-933.
  • Johnson, K. E. (2016). Loyalty and the law: A reassessment of the common law’s role in determining the scope of loyalty obligations in agency law. Journal of Legal Studies, 45(S2), S205-S231.
  • Lakhani, R., & Zenger, T. R. (2019). How to retain your best people: Keep the human touch. Harvard Business Review, 97(1), 82-89.
  • Lee, C. (2020). Relationship between customer loyalty and service quality: Mediating effect of customer satisfaction. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 29(2), 131-148.
  • MacNeil, I. R. (2016). Loyalty in fiduciary relationships. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 36(1), 87-110.
  • Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L., & Topolnytsky, L. (2002). Affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organization: A meta-analysis of antecedents, correlates, and consequences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 61(1), 20-52.
  • Pollock, T. G., & Rindova, V. P. (2003). Media legitimation effects in the market for initial public offerings. Academy of Management Journal, 46(5), 631-642.
  • Riketta, M. (2004). Organizational identification: A meta-analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 66(2), 358-384.
  • Spreitzer, G., Sutcliffe, K., Dutton, J., Sonenshein, S., & Grant, A. M. (2015). A socially embedded model of thriving at work. Organization Science, 26(2), 399-419.

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loyalty program essay

12 films, short docs explore Asian identity, heritage at Freep Film Fest

In its second year as part of Freep Film Festival, the Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series has grown in the number of films presented and depth of experiences they share, resulting in a program that stands to connect with local Asian communities and beyond.

The series, as curator Razi Jafri said, shows "a nuanced depiction of Asian American stories by Asian American filmmakers."

Themes among the seven full-length films and five short films include the exploration of relationships among immigrant parents and their children, life in a post-9/11 society and Asian Americans in art and sport as well as films that demonstrate that the immigrant experience is not a monolith.

"From intimate character portraits to sweeping social narratives, the AAPI Film Series offers a compelling exploration of identity, history, labor, activism, family and cultural heritage," said Jafri, a Detroit-based documentary filmmaker.

The film series is produced in collaboration with American Citizens for Justice with support from Rising Voices and funding from the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.

"I want to invite audiences to join us for a rich cinematic experience as we uncover the untold stories, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the resilience, diversity and creativity of the Asian American community," Jafri said.

Here's a rundown of the films in this year's series. Tickets are available at freepfilmfestival.com .

‘Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV’

The quixotic journey of Nam June Paik, one of the most famous Asian artists of the 20th century, who revolutionized the use of technology as an artistic canvas and prophesied both the fascist tendencies and intercultural understanding that would arise from the interconnected metaverse of today's world.

3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Jeanette Lee Vs.’

She was known as the Black Widow, and at her peak, Jeanette Lee was, improbably, one of the most recognizable figures in sports. Now, “Jeanette Lee Vs.” recounts Lee’s rise as one of billiards’ biggest names, her TV popularity and her significance as a cultural figure. The “30 for 30” film also chronicles the difficult turns of life for one of the most distinctive stars to emerge on the sports landscape.

7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Try Harder!’

Lowell High School is the top-ranked public high school in San Francisco – and the seniors are stressed out. At a school where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and the majority of the student body is Asian American, the things that usually make a person stand out can feel not good enough, even commonplace. “Try Harder!” takes us to the alarming reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by five high school students living through it.

2 p.m. Sat., April 13, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Shorts Program #4: AAPI Series’

This collection showcases the short documentaries chosen as part of this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series.

‘American Sikh’ : The film tells the true story of an American-born, turban-wearing Sikh illustrator, writer, performance artist, diversity speaker and creator of Sikhtoons.com, Vishavjit Singh. After a lifetime of facing prejudice, self-doubt and violence, Singh finally finds acceptance in a superhero costume, publicly known for his Captain America persona — a turbaned and bearded Sikh — fighting against bigotry, intolerance and perceptions of what an American should look like post 9/11. Directed by Ryan Westra and Vishavjit Singh. (2023)

‘Angel Dose’: In “Angel Dose,” Tarik Khan races against time to deliver expiring vaccines across Philadelphia to homebound patients before the doses spoil. But with elections looming, the cheerful and ever-optimistic Khan soon realizes that he will have to change policy to address systemic biases in healthcare. So he decides to run for political office and faces off against an entrenched incumbent. Directed by Sami Khan. (2023)

‘The Feeling of Being Close to You’ : “The Feeling of Being Close to You” documents an attempt at healing the trauma of touch between mother and child. Driven by a pure desire for intimacy, my mother and I talk openly for the first time about the intergenerational trauma and abuse within our lives. Present-day phone conversations are juxtaposed with archival VHS footage, creating a connection between the past and a re-write for the future. Directed by Ash Goh Hua. (2022)

‘Wouldn't Make it Any Other Way’ : Having built a colorful queer life in Iowa, a costume designer returns to their island hometown, Guam, to make costumes for a children's theater show and reconnect with distanced parents. Directed by Hao Zhou. (2024)

‘Benkyodo: The Last Manju Shop in J-Town' : Ricky and Bobby Okamura wrestle with closing their beloved family-owned manju shop after serving the San Francisco Japantown community for 115 years. Directed by Akira Boch and Tadashi Nakamura. (2023)

5 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Detroit Historical Museum

Where do we draw the line between love and devotion? An intimate and haunting portrayal of a quest for love and acceptance at any cost, “Q” depicts the insidious influence of a secretive matriarchal religious order in Lebanon on three generations of women in the Chehab family. Filmmaker Jude Chehab potently documents the unspoken ties and consequences of loyalty that have bonded her mother, grandmother and herself to the mysterious organization.

8 p.m. Saturday., April 13, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Nowhere Near’ 

A poetic essay film through the lens of an undocumented immigrant becoming disillusioned by their future in the United States and deciding to return to an estranged homeland. “Nowhere Near” tracks down the origin of a family curse backtracking through the post 9/11 era, the U.S. occupation of the Philippines and the spiritual conquest of the Spanish empire. The film is a years-long diary towards understanding the causes of migration to the United States, though ultimately this odyssey deviates far from the expected course.

1 p.m. Sun, April 14, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Liquor Store Dreams’

Growing up a daughter of Korean immigrants who ran a liquor store in a South L.A. neighborhood, So Yun Um decided that what she wanted to do more than anything else, was become a filmmaker, much to the bemusement of her father. In this vibrant and bold film, So turns the camera on herself, her community and her friends, and documents a rarely seen slice of the American dream as she struggles with creating her own path in life.

4 p.m. Sun., April 14, Detroit Historical Museum

‘Starring Jerry as Himself’

The true story of Jerry, an ordinary immigrant dad retired in Florida, who becomes a spy for the Chinese police. As his family documents his story, they discover a darker truth.

7 p.m. Sun., April 14, Detroit Historical Museum

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Donald Trump and the Justice System

More from our inbox:, innocent and killed by israel in gaza, when screens don’t help in the classroom.

loyalty program essay

To the Editor:

Re “ Trump’s Attacks on Judge’s Family Lead to Expansion of a Gag Order ” (news article, April 2):

If an indicted drug dealer or terrorist made threats against prosecutors, judges, court staff and their families, that person would be locked up and likely held in prison until their trial was completed and a verdict rendered.

In Donald Trump’s case, we have someone with a history of inciting violence who was criminally indicted by separate grand juries in four different jurisdictions. Yet, Mr. Trump routinely makes public threats not only against prosecutors, judges and their families, but also against our current president, Joe Biden ( the video of an image of him hog-tied ), apparently with few consequences aside from an occasional fine.

When will the judges muster the courage to hold Mr. Trump to the same standard of conduct they would demand of a terrorist or drug dealer? Why do our courts treat Mr. Trump with kid gloves, when he can potentially do more damage to our country and to people’s lives than any terrorist or drug dealer?

Jeff Crider Palm Desert, Calif.

Even the expansion of the gag order against Donald Trump is unlikely to mitigate fears of reprisal for participants in the trial against the former president.

Mr. Trump’s penchant for vengeance against anyone he perceives has wronged him (or merely demonstrated insufficient loyalty) is, in all likelihood, adequate to discourage witnesses with the most damaging testimony from appearing in any case against Mr. Trump.

Steven A. Jensen Palmerton, Pa.

Re “ No One Is Above the Law, Except … ,” by Jamelle Bouie (column, March 31):

I agree wholeheartedly with most of the criticisms of Donald Trump set forth in this column. But I must disagree with its conclusion that the appellate court showed unwarranted favoritism toward him by its order reducing the amount of his appeal bond from $454 million to $175 million. Rather I believe that this action is consistent with steps that would have been followed with any similarly situated litigant.

A court has wide latitude to act to stay enforcement of a judgment pending appeal, including requiring the posting of a bond to secure collection, and must consider such factors as the likelihood that assets might be dissipated, the chances of success on the merits of the appeal or the damage to the appealing party that could occur if his or her assets were seized before the appeal was completed.

In this case it is likely that after weighing these factors, the appeals court had serious concerns about the amount of the penalty, which does appear excessive, and acted accordingly and well within its discretion.

Harold J. Smith White Plains, N.Y. The writer is a lawyer.

The indictments of Donald Trump have exposed the fault lines in our justice system. We are not all equal in the eyes of the law.

First of all, if you are wealthy or can raise funds from donations, like Mr. Trump, you can hire many expensive lawyers, who will go to court with preposterous requests. When a judge’s ruling goes against Mr. Trump, his lawyers appeal the decision to an appellate court, and then maybe the Supreme Court, to delay, delay, delay.

Justice depends on unbiased judges making decisions based solely on the law. In the documents case in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, has granted his lawyers just about everything they have requested. Her politics are so clearly on display that it is hard to imagine that she will hold the trial before the election, if at all.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have claimed that he has complete immunity from any crime that he committed as president. A federal appeals court rejected that claim in a definitive ruling. So the lawyers brought it to the Supreme Court. There was no need for the court to take it up, but the justices decided to anyway, but to wait until the end of April to hear oral arguments.

The chances that they will rule in favor of Mr. Trump are slim, but the court is pretty much making sure that the voters going to the polls in November won’t have the chance to see if Mr. Trump is convicted or exonerated on charges of attempting to overturn a free and fair election.

Politics? You decide. But this is definitely a gift to Donald Trump.

I am thinking that justice will not prevail. I hope I am wrong.

Ellen Sussman Brooklyn

Re “ Strikes by Israel Kill Aid Workers and Draw Outcry ” (front page, April 3):

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel acknowledges the violent death of seven aid workers to be a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” it prompts the question: By what measure have the deaths of thousands of Gazan children failed to meet this definition of “tragic”?

Were those children not innocent? Were their deaths not unintended?

Jane Harsha Katonah, N.Y.

It is all very well for President Biden and other world leaders to express horror at the senseless killing of the seven World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza. There is no dollar value for human life, but the Israeli government should be compelled to pay compensation to the families of the seven courageous workers who were killed.

It is disheartening to read that the president is planning to sell F-15 fighter jets to the Israelis to bolster their war effort. It would be a more sensible approach to contribute to their Iron Dome air defense system, but to refuse to send any more offensive weapons to the Israeli government.

Clearly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to continue the war, along with his leadership position, without restrictions.

Richard Weissman Denver

Re “ Do Screens Actually Help Kids Learn? ,” by Jessica Grose (Opinion, March 31):

Technology has its uses in the classroom, but Ms. Grose is right that implementation “matters a great deal.”

From my observations of elementary classrooms, digital devices are often used as part of small-group rotations, which make up most of the school day. The teacher works with one small group on reading or math while the rest of the class rotates through “centers,” which often include time with a device and without adult supervision. Kids often zone out or become confused.

In a first-grade classroom, I observed one child who was stumped by a number line on a screen because he didn’t know the meaning of “before,” and another who didn’t understand the word “combine.”

If I hadn’t been there to explain, I don’t know how long those kids would have sat blankly in front of a screen. Even after I explained “combine,” one boy decided he preferred to draw lines on his device with his finger.

Another issue is the content of these programs. Many of the programs commonly used for reading are intended to teach reading comprehension in isolation from any particular content, as a set of generally applicable skills, something that cognitive scientists agree is impossible .

Natalie Wexler Washington The writer is the author of “The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System — and How to Fix It.”


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