Promotions that break the loyalty barrier

Posted: December 2022

The average consumer has to fit the weekly shop around a long list of other priorities. For brands, this means there is little time to get the attention of a new customer, let alone persuade them to switch to a product they are not familiar with.

A well-designed promotion can be a powerful tool in breaking a consumer’s natural tendency to stick with what they know. In the split second it takes to make a purchasing decision in the supermarket, a promotion which taps into your audience’s deepest desires can be the ultimate deciding factor.

Phil Beal, NDL


“A good promotion will act as a tie-breaker. When all other aspects of the purchase decision are equal, a well designed prize promotion forges the emotional connection which people need to buy the product,” explains Phil Beal, NDL’s Group Commercial Director


Why use prize promotions?

If you’re looking to shift volume, BOGOF (buy one, get one free) promotions and other deep discounts can be successful, but there is a downside.

Customers who buy because an item is low-priced or free are less likely to become the brand loyal, full-paying customers you are searching for. BOGOFs reduce the perceived value of a brand. Run frequently, these promotions can mean that consumers are less likely to buy the product when it is at its full price as they know they won’t have to wait long for another BOGOF or discount.  It can also impact on full priced product availability and can be a vicious cycle which some brands never seem able to break free from.

Similarly, cashback promotions are successful at driving volume and rewarding shoppers, won’t devalue the brand in the longer term, and are often used tactically to encourage sell-through of existing stock.

However, if you are looking to get your brand talked about in the longer term, or build the more valuable emotional associations, this can usually be achieved best with a prize promotion.


Emotional connections

Well-designed prize promotions seek to connect with the consumer at an emotional level, and it’s this connection which can be so much more powerful in creating long-term brand affinity.

The key is to develop a prize promotion which connects your brand with your audience’s deepest desires. The campaign we developed for Thirst Pockets is a great example. It linked the use of kitchen tissue with the audience’s love of cooking, and offered a variety of foodie-themed instant win prizes alongside on-pack codes to redeem against a series of cook books to promote repeat purchase.


Thirst Pockets Loyalty Promotion


“The Thirst Pockets campaign was beautifully simple.  It tapped into when the audience used the product in the kitchen, as well as their love of good food and quality family times. It’s this connection between your audience’s priorities and what your brand can offer that helps you break down the loyalty barrier and encourage people to switch.


High impact experiential prize promotions

Recent results from a 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, showed that happiness from physical things is short-lived, compared to the extended satisfaction derived from once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Exceptional trips, such as those featured on Unmissable®,  are often more memorable, attracting a higher response rate. The key is to create an experience which can be easily associated with your promotion. For example, if you sell coffee, why not send your winners on an incredible tasting tour in Columbia’s Coffee Triangle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Eye-catching prizes definitely grab attention – but again, the key is to ensure the experience makes sense to the product you’re trying to promote. A product which needs to appeal to a couple with young children who are juggling work and home priorities will need a different experience prize to a group of friends aged 18 – 25 who are interested in health and fitness. Again, tapping into the lifestyle desires and aspirations of your audience is critical to the success of your campaign.


Here are three key considerations for planning brand switching success:


1. Understand your audience

To maintain engagement with your brand, your promotional activity must be both appealing and relevant to the product, so that consumers can make the link between the brand and the offer.


2. Keep it simple

The second consideration must be the ease of customer engagement. People do not have the time for long-winded and complicated promotions, especially if they are buying your product in a supermarket. Whatever your planned activity, make sure that it is quick and easy for people to take part in, share with their circles and engage with.


3. Make sure it’s compliant

An all-important factor is the legal compliance of your planned activity. As much as your promotion can catapult your brand into success, if it isn’t legally compliant, it could be a disaster to sales and your brand reputation.


What to do next?

To develop a strategic promotional plan for your brand, simply start with a clearly defined objective: are you incentivising a final purchase or prompting an initial enquiry?

Does your promotion need to influence the decision maker, while also appealing to the end user?  Consider which channels your audience uses to engage most with your brand message, such as social media, press or TV?

With your promotion goal and your target audience defined, your activity can be structured around the best mechanic or theme to help bring your brand success.  You may find our series of NDL Guides useful at this stage, or feel free to get in touch on 020 7428 3090.

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