Consumers want more than rewards from brands—5 personas that have emerged in 2021

by | Jul 27, 2021 | Public Relations

Marketers are realizing that building brand loyalty in 2021 is more complicated than in pre-COVID times, and 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, digital community building firm Vesta 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, in a news release. “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 percent) and represents those attracted to social incentives like having content featured or public recognition.
  • The “Opinionated One” (32 percent) is attracted to self-expression and fulfilling the need to be heard.
  • The “Exclusive Access One” (15 percent) is particularly not interested in earning points or badges, but is attracted to unique and interesting experiences.
  • The “Proud VIP” (12 percent) is competitive and primed for status-like incentives.
  • The smallest group, the “Tangible Rewards One” (9 percent), enjoy free items in exchange for engagement.

Consumers want more than rewards from brands—5 personas that have emerged in 2021

Read the full report here.

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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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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