Customers, visitors, audiences, participants are weary of a pitch. When does participation turn from a worthwhile exchange and start to feel more like a ploy? I recently felt that itchy sense of suspicion while eating breakfast and considered how participation can tip the balance towards serving one party, rather than feeling like an exchange.
This is my container of orange juice. It’s offering ‘juicy rewards’ in the form of points which people can ‘collect online for healthy savings and fun’ and ‘One carton saves you $15′. This is advertised exhaustively over the carton. It sounds like it may be a good deal. It seems as it’s as easy as lifting off the top to reach the reward. It’s not. The steps required in order to receive points are:
- purchase the juice
- look under the cap to get a code
- go online
- register at www.juicyrewards.tropicana.com
- mandatory fields include full name, age, address, email
- pick out a password
- agree to company terms and conditions
- enter the code from under the cap
- chose from a selection of discounts with specific partner product offers (in other words, you don’t get a $15 rebate, you get a discount through spending more money)
This is getting complex… with so many steps, it’s easy for users to ask, ‘what am I getting out of this?’. Without having signed up for my own Tropicana Juicy Rewards account, I can’t completely verify the rewards system, but did find a pretty detailed account here.
The gist of the consumer benefit:
Eligibility for a $15 discount, though with limitations – only with selected company partners, and only if you can find a product or service you want from the selection available.
And the company benefit:
Direct consumer profile data, and if consumers run through the setup to redeem points the consumer profile data begins to grow through connections with purchases from company affiliates who also benefit from the exchange.
In the end it’s the company who benefits the most, and this feels obvious from the structure of the transaction. When designing an experience which requires a lot of steps, users need reassurance along the way, to feel like the exchange is a fair one. In this case the experience feels like a lot of giving for what ends up as a strings-attached reward.
Blog posts are usually a good resource to dig to the bottom of a rewards scheme. In this case, that too is a bit awkward – there are plenty of positive customer reviews online, but almost every one ends with the following text: Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review. The overall story driving the Juicy Rewards experience just isn’t convincing.
Good customer – brand relationships do exist. Want to hear about a good one? Take a look at the experience Powell’s Book Store based in Portland, Oregon uses to drive consumers online, here. And have a look at Nike + Livestrong’s Chalkbot project here.
We’ll be posting about these shortly.