Advocacy, Loyalty & Referrals

Consumers Loyalty is More Than Just Rewards From Brands

New Study Identifies Five Personas to Inform Incentive Strategies for Loyalty, Rewards, and Brand Community Initiatives
referral system

Marketers are challenged with striking the right balance between transactional engagement and tapping into deeper motivations to fuel long-term consumer loyalty. In a recent study of 14,000 consumers, Vesta, the leader in digital community building software, identified five audience segments and the strategies that marketers can harness to spark action and build engagement.

The study found that the majority of consumers are more motivated to engage with a brand that offers meaningful incentives tied to self-expression, curiosity, and connection than transactional-based incentives like discounts or free products.

“All brands have a community they can mobilize, but the challenge is keeping consumers engaged and fostering participation. Too many brands think discounts or rewards are the only way to keep a consumer’s attention,” says Susan Frech, CEO of Vesta. “We’ve identified five key personas as a shortcut for marketers to fuel personalized engagement and drive loyalty and advocacy.”

The five Incentive personas include:

The “Energetic One” is the largest cohort (33%) and represents those attracted to social incentives like having content featured or public recognition.

The “Opinionated One”(32%) is attracted to self-expression and fulfilling the need to be heard.

The “Exclusive Access One” (15%) is particularly not interested in earning points or badges, but is attracted to unique and interesting experiences.

The “Proud VIP” (12%) is competitive and primed for status-like incentives.

The smallest group, the “Tangible Rewards One” (9%), enjoy free items in exchange for engagement.


This research was conducted via a 22-question online survey issued to the peer influencer community, Smiley360, and was completed by 14,114 U.S. respondents between January 12 – February 23, 2021.

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