How Pepsi Creates Emotional Loyalty

April 19, 2018 Brianna McEwan

In order for brands to engage and retain their customers in today’s competitive environment, they need insight into who their customers are. For many CPG and consumer goods companies, this can be a challenge due to the lack of access to Point-of-Sale data. As a result, many CPG brands are investing in loyalty solutions to help them find out who their customers are so they can effectively create memorable and meaningful brand experiences that drive emotional loyalty.

Emotional loyalty, as opposed to behavioral or rational loyalty, is when customers are emotionally engaged, feel delighted by the brand and would recommend the brand to their friends and family. Emotional engagement drives results and loyalty for brands. In fact, 82% of consumers with high emotional engagement always choose the brand they’re loyal to over others.

Pepsi, one of the world’s most recognized and loved brands, recently implemented a loyalty program, Pepsi Stuff, aimed at driving emotional loyalty and engagement.  

Brand Innovators recently invited CrowdTwist’s Chief Customer Officer, Emily Rudin, and PepsiCo’s Director of Marketing, Aziel Rivers, to host a webinar, “How Pepsi Creates Emotional Loyalty,” to discuss Pepsi Stuff, and the ways it succeeds in creating emotional loyalty with customers. Here are the main takeaways:

Build brand values that resonate

Pepsi was founded more than a century ago, but they have always centered their values around a youthful spirit and the choice of a new generation. Consumers engage with brands that reflect who they are, so, the more consumers can relate to your brand’s values, the more likely they’ll be to engage with and even promote the brand. Pepsi Stuff uses a cross generational appeal approach, implementing a retro design to resonate with an older generation and vintage style to attract a younger generation. This aligns with their long-loved values, while also keeping things fresh and attractive with new generations.

Create powerful advertising

Brands can communicate their values through successful messaging and advertising. Over the years, Pepsi’s format and media have evolved, while their core message has remained the same. For example, Pepsi used the line “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation” through many years of advertising. While the style and faces of their brand changed with the times, their tag line stayed the same, keeping fans feeling engaged and included, while also attracting new fans to the “Pepsi generation.” Customers of all generations are brought together through a common identity and youthful spirit portrayed in Pepsi’s advertising.

Reward customers for their loyalty

Customers who are rewarded for their loyalty feel valued, which drives emotional connections with the brand. Pepsi understands the value of rewarding customers and has invested in and evolved their loyalty program offerings throughout the years. The Pepsi Stuff initiative rewards members with retro-designed, unique, money-can’t-buy merchandise like posters, neon signs and coolers. These exclusive rewards make customers feel appreciated, which helps create emotional loyalty, and encourage customers to continue to buy Pepsi.

Create memorable experiences

Pepsi creates unforgettable experiences that bring people together. These experiences create a positive association to the brand and help to build emotional ties. In 2013, Pepsi introduced Pepsi Songbooth, where users could sing karaoke directly into their phone for a chance to compete with others and earn points to redeem for prizes like concert tickets and headphones. This initiative brought people together by getting them involved in a unique challenge that also allowed them to earn loyalty points. These types of campaigns help drive engagement with the brand and create experiences the consumers will remember.

Engage customers in fun, interactive ways

Pepsi brings people together and creates positive brand experiences for members and their friends through their use of technology. The former Pepsi Pass program drove engagement by allowing members to connect their Facebook accounts to get automatically rewarded for hanging out with other Pepsi Pass members. They could also gain points for visiting partner locations and posting selfies. Each of these actions encourage brand engagement and advocacy, driving customers to interact with Pepsi and other users in a fun and social way that leverages digital and mobile channels where their customers spend time. This creates memorable experiences between friends, which in turn creates positive brand association. This approach helps to increase customers’ emotional ties to the brand, but also provides a platform for members to act as brand advocates to help drive new members to interact with the brand.

Listen to customer feedback

Finally, forming a connection and listening to your customers’ feedback makes them feel valued and appreciated. In 2015, Pepsi fans were calling for the resurrection of Crystal Pepsi, a popular soda from the ‘90s. Pepsi listened and delivered, giving Pepsi Pass members early access to the product via a sweepstakes and delivering 78,000 bottles of Crystal Pepsi to the members who entered to win. This helped prove to Pepsi customers that their feedback does not go unheard and that their opinions truly make a difference to the brand. When customers feel appreciated and valued by a brand, this builds trust and deepens the brand relationship.

There’s no universal solution

Pepsi is just one example of a brand that successfully creates emotional loyalty with its customers. However, each brand is different. Pepsi is one of the world’s leading, most recognizable brands, so brands without that kind of reach may need a different approach. The key is finding the right rewards strategy, and the right activities, to keep your customers connected and coming back.

CPG brands such as Pepsi that are investing in multichannel loyalty solutions like CrowdTwist have the ability to not only gather data and insight into who their customers are, but also encourage emotional engagement. This drives greater spend and loyalty, turning their customers into a community, connected through their love of the brand.

Watch the full webinar, How Pepsi Creates Emotional Loyalty, here.


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