The Connected Community: Using Loyalty Programs to Power Your Social Cause Initiatives

By: Brittany Maroney


How localizing your loyalty efforts can help you drive more community connections and sustainability within your DMAs

A vital part of any local restaurant marketing plan is implementing a strategic community initiatives program that not only activates your in-field staff, but helps you provide support for the communities where you reside. A localized marketing plan can not only be effective, but it can feel very personal to your guests within that geographic area, providing deeper engagement and a customer-centric approach to any campaign. Building this emotional connection can also help deliver customer lifetime loyalty and higher wallet share, with guests typically spending twice as much with brands they are loyal to.

While cause marketing sounds a lot like philanthropy, it also can be perceived as the act of aligning a brand with a cause to produce profitable and societal benefits for both parties. This makes it a sustaining and strategic business strategy with regard to both sales and aligning your staff and guests with your brand’s ideals. 

The most successful strategies are supported by finding organizations that align with your brand, in your communities, and who have promotional cooperatives and partnerships with community influencers and other organizations. This could be through school systems, nonprofit organizations, or community networks. These partnerships should help support your outreach and drive new engagement outside your current sphere of influence. This supports your goal of driving new awareness in these communities but also overall brand-building efforts.

To further cultivate a local presence and build your charitable initiatives, it is imperative that you also use your most effective communication channels to create the narrative alongside your partnering cause. These may include social media, PR, email campaigns, or SMS, but the more strategic brands are also beginning to implement strategies via their loyalty programs. This affords brands an easy way to segment by region, by location, and to personalize communications to a loyalty member’s channel preference while tracking propensity for engagement and interest in the campaigns. Supported by the brands current rewards platform, customers are activated to engage by redeeming their rewards or donating them, resulting in more opportunities for utilizing their loyalty program. As messaging is pushed out, brands are able to hyper-personalize the communications, deliver more customer journeys and drive localized awareness more effectively. 

What is a Social Cause Campaign with Punchh?

With Social Cause Campaigns, your guests can donate their loyalty rewards to social causes supported by your business. Punchh Social Causes expands the impact a loyalty program can have and showcases your brand’s involvement in the communities you serve. You choose a charity, advertise it in your app, and then allow your guests to donate their accumulated rewards instead of taking the reward for themselves. 

With a Social Cause campaign, your guests are enabled to donate: 

  • Banked Currency: For businesses that support points conversion to currency, guests can donate their banked currency, which they have accumulated over time.
  • Rewards: Guests can donate rewards that they have received through campaigns. 
  • Completed Cards: For visit-based businesses, guests can donate their completed cards.
  • Unlocked Loyalty Redeemables: For point-based businesses where points unlock redeemables.

Advantages of Setting up a Social Cause Campaign

Setting up a Social Cause in the Punchh Platform is easy using the integrated Punchh social campaign functionality. By implementing this solution, you will have analytics at your fingertips around total donations, individuals donating, trends over time, and what types of activities are resulting in donations within your loyalty program. Beyond just the data insights you receive, you will also be able to reinforce customer behavior through campaign prompts. Use Post Check-In Campaigns to positively engage guests and influence repeat visits when they complete actions that are in line with your charitable initiatives. 

 Case Study: Delivering on Customer Preferences Takes Priority

Papa John’s utilizes their Punchh-powered loyalty program data to gain customer insights around transaction history, daypart, basket size, and preferences to understand and deliver on their customers’ changing needs. During National Pizza Month, they seized the opportunity to develop new campaigns and offerings. They launched their very first Charitable Giving Weekend using the Punchh Social Causes module. Papa Reward Members were provided the opportunity to give back by donating their Papa Dough to The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community from October 15-17.

They also are gave Early Access to Papa Reward members to try a new-flavored Papadia. The lunchtime Papadia first launched during the pandemic, providing guests with a new occasion for ordering. Plus, customers were able to get an LTO Jack-o-Lantern pizza on Halloween. From “sneak peaks” to charitable giving, Papa Johns drove engagement during National Pizza Month through highly curated customer experiences.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how Punchh clients use personalized loyalty, offers, and engagement to drive higher sales and CLV. Or to implement Punchh’s social cause campaign in your existing loyalty program, contact your Customer Success Manager. 

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