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Q&A: PepsiCo on Rewarding for Engagement

October 24, 2014

Seeing that consumers purchase more with merchants that offer points for activities beyond spending, PepsiCo sought to rebottle its loyalty experience. Mike Scafidi of PepsiCo answers questions.


It takes a major beverage company to see that customer engagement requires more than 12 ounces of pleasure. For PepsiCo, the fix was just a matter of experience.

Customers today want a little fizz for their brand fidelity, earning points for activities other than spending, for example. PepsiCo responded by introducing the Pepsi Experience Points program. Launched in beta in January 2013, Experience Points is an engagement initiative that rewards its more than 1 million members for activities ranging from reading articles to connecting on Instagram.

“PXP (Pepsi Experience Points) has grown through rewarding our consumers for what they do every day digitally with Pepsi and our partners,” said Mike Scafidi, director of digital marketing operations at PepsiCo.

On Oct. 29, PepsiCo and the loyalty analytics services firm CrowdTwist, a COLLOQUY network partner, will host a webinar called "The Rise Of Engagement Loyalty – How Pepsi Rewards Customers For Everything They Do With A Brand.” In this Q&A with COLLOQUY, Scafidi offers a sneak peek. Edited excerpts follow.

Provide a few examples of how Pepsi rewards its members for activities beyond points for purchases.

Scafidi: The program has its roots in engagement loyalty. We recognize consumers for engaging with Pepsi digitally and socially. We give points for reading our articles on Pepsi.com, engaging on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and watching videos. When a consumer checks in at one of our more than 176,000 customer Four Square locations, they get PXP.

Without giving too much away, can you hint at the key steps required before launching your points-for-action strategy?

Scafidi: We understood that there were unlimited points of contact between our consumers and our brand. We wanted to give them the control and engage them where they prefer to be. We considered the right point values for a casual engagement, like a tweet, through to a more invested expression of brand advocacy, like a check-in or purchase that would earn higher point values.

What lessons were learned in the process?

Scafidi: Consumers want to be recognized for engaging with the brand and not just purchasing the product. It enables an always-on relationship between the brand and the consumer and not just at the time of purchase.

Based on your experience, what are the three key elements to a loyalty program’s success?

Scafidi:

  1. Engage consumers where they are and leverage native social platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) to reduce any barriers of participation.
  2. Maintain rewards that are relevant to your consumer’s lifestyle.
  3. Offer a unique capability to your partners to help meet their goals as well.
The program does offer a lot of ways to interact and socialize, from adding one’s gender to connecting to Instagram. How did Pepsi select the options?

Scafidi: CrowdTwist provides Pepsi with a powerful platform to incentivize our consumers to share what they want with us. The consumers are in control of how they want to engage with the brand and we want to reward them for every place they engage with us.

What advice would you give a marketer who is planning to launch a loyalty initiative?

Scafidi: Engagement must be a core capability to any modern loyalty program.

What do you predict will be the most disruptive or radical loyalty trend of 2015?

Scafidi: The rise of pervasive recognition for engagement with brands will require legacy loyalty programs to rework their point economies to award for lighter touch points.

What’s next for Pepsi Experience Points?

Scafidi: You have to sign up to find out.

Anything to add?

Scafidi: Engagement loyalty provides virtually unlimited opportunities to recognize your consumers’ love of the brand and the products.

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