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Reward Scheme Brand Partnerships Customer Loyalty

What men really want (in return for loyalty)

By Charlie Hills, Managing director and head of strategy



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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February 20, 2019 | 6 min read

How can brands create loyalty rewards for men that actually work?

Four men sit on a hillside.

Offering compelling rewards is one of the primary motivators for men engaging with loyalty programmes.

Understanding what the members of your loyalty programme really want is the crucial component in developing effective rewards. Men’s reward motivations and behaviours are particularly complex, influenced by many factors and constantly changing.

Men consistently engage at lower rates with rewards than women, redeem fewer and recommend to friends and peers far less. As technology develops at an exponential rate and their expectations rise ever faster, loyalty rewards must adapt to stay relevant and compelling to this hard to please audience.

Yet many loyalty programmes are failing to evolve the rewards they provide. Offering compelling rewards is one of the primary motivators for men engaging with loyalty programmes. It’s critical that programmes get them right.

What’s the formula for getting rewards for men right?

What: Understand what men want; understand their attitudes, motivations, behaviours and interests to understand what types of rewards will motivate them.

How: Understand how they want it; what reward mechanics work best, how and when do they respond.

Who: Understand who they want it from; what brands motivate them, who do they want and value rewards from.

Mando-Connect conducted a study with YouGov in the UK, aiming to answer that question. YouGov collect 190,000 data points on 240,000 UK individuals. The study evaluated the responses of 155,238 men, aged 18+ for 12 months to 5th September 2017. It examined their demographics, attitudes, behaviours and interests, unlocking robust insights to inform the development of compelling rewards targeted at a male recipient.

62% are interested in music and live music and listening to music are favoured past times. More men are interested in music in the UK than anything else; ahead even of TV (57% interested) and movies (53% interested). This telling insight suggests that music is a rich territory for the development of compelling rewards. Loyalty programs should consider tickets and experience, subscription rewards and home sound systems, working with established brands such as Universal or Bose as well as the newer market entrants who are disrupting the market, such as Deezer, Sofar Sounds and more. (See the full infographic below.)

Reading also scores highly with a male audience, yet it remains an undeveloped category for rewards in loyalty programmes. 53% of men interested in books. Brands should consider rewards from publishers, from e-reader brands and also again, from the market disruptors such as Audible, Readly, Bookchoice and Blinkist, who are taking a digital first approach to this long-established category.

The study highlighted a broad range of categories and interests, as yet largely undeveloped as loyalty rewards.

I want it that way

After establishing what men want, the second stage in developing a compelling reward is to identify the right reward mechanic, balancing the value of what you offer against your budget. Here are some guiding principles on mechanics for rewards targeted to men, you may find helpful:

Offer as much monetary value as you can afford;

  • Make the actual value of the reward as high as you can;
  • Ensure it has a known and clear value (not complex values aligned to points);
  • If you can, give it a price point e.g. “Worth £10”.

Offer high desirability and as much aspiration as you can:

  • Partner with a well-known desirable brand partner to offer the reward, preferably a leader in their field;
  • Include bragging rights in the mechanic (make it easy to share and show off);
  • Keep it simple and easy to understand.

Make it easy to get:

  • Simplify the route to entry - every additional stage you include can reduce your redemption levels.
  • Ensure the process is as instant as possible.

Finding the right partner

Getting the reward partnership right is the final stage in ensuring an effective reward. The correct reward partner increases the likelihood of the reward being deemed compelling. This in turn increases satisfaction with the program and referral and recommendation. The right brand partners can also promote a loyalty program, offer reciprocal marketing support and share insight and expertise.

Every loyalty program is unique and requires a different set of criteria for brand partners. Through developing a set of up to 10 criteria programs can identify the brand partners that are right to develop and supply rewards for effective for the program. These must include brand, customer and market criteria, as well as practical criteria such as targeting capability, fulfillment capacity and geographic coverage.

Vitality plus Apple is a great example of a loyalty reward that works. Vitality is a health and life insurance program that rewards its members for getting healthier. Apple Watch is a highly desirable gadget, that enables health tracking as one of its many capabilities. Vitality members can purchase an Apple Watch for only £69 and, if they stay active, they don’t have to spend any more. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership which works.

Take the time to invest in understanding what men want. It doesn’t matter how great your loyalty programme’s positioning is, how smart the mechanic and platform are, how good the use of data is - if the target audience doesn’t find the rewards compelling your programme will not be successful.

Get the what, the how and the who right and your loyalty reward will be compelling and effective at engaging your male audience.

Charlie Hills is managing director and head of strategy for Mando-Connect

Reward Scheme Brand Partnerships Customer Loyalty

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Mando (part of @WPP) utilise data grounded with reasoning, combined with unique insight to develop ground-breaking reward solutions around the globe.

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