Reimagining The Brand-Consumer Relationship

November 22, 2022

What If Loyalty Programs Just Aren’t Enough?

Like human relationships, brand-consumer relationships are deeply emotional. The strongest brands do an excellent job of engaging with consumer emotions, which yields incredible results. 81% of consumers who feel an emotional connection to a brand will not only promote that brand among their family and friends, but are willing to spend more with them.

Our increasingly digital world has made it possible to easily incubate new brands; and at the same time, it has also heightened competition for consumer attention. With new choices perpetually available, brand loyalty and retention have never been more expensive and difficult to achieve. Brands spend increasing amounts of time and money to defend and expand market share, as it’s become apparent that consumers prefer to be polygamous with their brand relationships - but are they spending in the wrong places?

“Loyalty programs” are a very common strategy employed to bolster retention and cultivate relationships with consumers. We define loyalty programs as: (i) free to join, (ii) with limitless supply, and (iii) offering short-term incentive-based initiatives. These programs have proven to be marginally effective for customer acquisition, but are weak for retention. Ultimately, they have become merely transactional and lack differentiation, failing to create an emotional response required to prevent consumers from “cheating” on their favorite brands.

So, how can the pitfalls of current “loyalty” missions be avoided, and is there a way to enhance them? It’s important for brands to look beyond loyalty programs as the solution to this complicated consumer environment, and start thinking about the amplified experience that comes with membership.

Membership: An OASIS In The Loyalty Desert

MAGNETIQ is pioneering a new membership model that levels-up old-school loyalty programs by eliciting emotional responses from consumers that generate true, long-term loyalty - our “OASIS” Model: Ownership, Award, Status, Influence, and Scarcity. 

Read on to find out how the OASIS Model (a) elevates an existing program and (b) demonstrates the use case for membership as a lifetime relationship builder. 


Magnets (the term for memberships created on MAGNETIQ) are designed such that consumers actually own their memberships. This creates an emotional bias commonly referred to as the “Endowment Effect.” People feel especially attached to things they possess; meaning once a consumer owns their brand membership, they are likely to become further biased towards that brand.

As a brand becomes more popular, there should be more demand for joining their exclusive membership. With limited supply, this could lead to the brand’s magnet becoming more valuable on a secondary market. This gives consumers an opportunity to share in the brand’s success by way of an asset they own (the digital membership) increasing in value. Knowing this dynamic exists may even encourage consumers to go out of their way to do things that enhance brand equity.

Ownership turns consumers into ambassadors by creating a sense of alignment. When consumers and brands are well-aligned, brands can ask more of their consumers, and given the financial upside, consumers are more likely to oblige. Imagine having an army of brand ambassadors at your disposal? Priceless.


Incentivizing consumers through ownership unlocks tremendous engagement opportunities. Brands can then take it a step further by awarding consumers for their active participation. For example, some people are willing to do grassroots marketing (or promotion) for their favorite brands, but desire proportional acknowledgement in return.

One avenue to satisfying both sides of the equation is that, through the MAGNETIQ platform, brands now have the opportunity to offer quests/missions/opportunities to consumers in exchange for exclusive benefits. Brands have so much to offer (much of which costs very little), and in return consumers will provide meaningful marketing and engagement that can help with brand building. This mutual exchange of benefits is critical to take the brand-consumer relationship to the next level, as consumers feel like they are contributing to the brand’s success, giving them a sense of purpose.


Once a brand establishes a group of people with shared interests who are excited about building with them, it’s vital that there’s a way the group can display their status as a member. These unique symbols convey personality and ideological alignment, evoking a sense of pride. Not only does this provide something for members to rally around, but it also adds an element of discovery and aspiration for people not yet involved. Showcasing status tells consumers this is something that exists and is imminently desirable, so they know to seek participation.


Two-way listening is key to establishing mutual respect, so having mechanisms in a membership program for feedback and suggestion, where consumers have meaningful influence, are non-negotiable. Outside of traditional channels, brands need to solicit opinions from their consumers that will have a noticeable impact on their business. Not everything should or can reach this level of consumer input, but weaving in opportunities for community-led decision making creates a sense of importance that breeds loyalty. It’s rare that a consumer is able to have their voice heard and acted on, so naturally they will be more excited to participate in brand ecosystems where this is apparent.


Too many companies design their loyalty programs around short-term promotions, giveaways or specials, but how can you blame them? It’s an easier lift within the confines of their existing infrastructure. Boundaries in a traditional loyalty program are practically nonexistent, and when there is a theoretically unlimited number of people who can join something, it’s very difficult to provide a significant menu of benefits or opportunities. 

Ease of entry is great for making it simple for consumers to join, however it fails to create a real community. If anyone can join, why should someone feel like they belong to something special? Why should someone feel like they have a unique relationship with the brand? And how can a brand really deliver something of value to that many at once? Limiting membership, or employing scarcity, is incredibly important and fosters a sense of belonging. Consumers need to feel as though they have a unique relationship with the brand and have the potential to be rewarded as such.

Mutually Beneficial Relationships: The Holy Grail

It’s critical that brands work on establishing complementary relationships with their consumers - 86% of emotionally engaged consumers expect a brand to show how it is loyal to them. It begins with nurturing an emotional environment conducive to developing real loyalty, and is maintained by not only ensuring that consumer loyalty is long-lasting, but by reciprocating that loyalty to consumers. OASIS is the key to unlocking this relationship, and we’re excited to be pioneering this new model at MAGNETIQ.

MAGNETIQ is ushering in a new era of consumer marketing through the creation of scalable, commerce-based communities. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us at For more content like this, follow us on our Twitter and LinkedIn!