This café loyalty card wants you to be disloyal
November 1, 2011 by Terence LEE
Asking Singaporeans to be disloyal is like asking them to commit seppuku. Be prepared to be given a cold shoulder — Singaporeans are, after all, known for being extremely obedient.
So it comes as no surprise that when two young chaps, Dutch-Indonesian Erik Posthuma and American Luke Norman, brought the concept of a disloyalty card to Singapore, they got plenty of press coverage.
But that aside, Be Disloyal (which is what their loyalty program is called) is an epic win, branding wise.
Here’s how it works: Head to one of the eight indie cafés listed here, and ask for a Be Disloyal card. Buy a coffee, get your card stamped, and check out the remaining cafés. Once you’ve visited all of them, head back to the first one to redeem your free coffee.
It’s essentially a coffee discovery trail.
The idea of a disloyalty card was first conceptualized in the UK by 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies, and has since spread to different parts of the Western world — US, Canada, and Australia.
Erik and Luke are perhaps the first to bring this concept to Asia. Singapore, said the duo, is ripe for it because the coffee scene is really growing here.
“We cater to people who enjoy coffee but are not loyal to a specific brand,” Erik explains, “we also want to help small businesses by giving them more exposure.”
The program starts with a limited run of 100 cards at each establishment. But last I checked, Smitten, which is one of the eight, has already run out of cards (Update: Erik has told me that new cards will be made available today).
Started in September and slated to run until the end of 2011, Be Disloyal is an initiative that’s still in its infancy. The co-founders have managed to cover cost by charging the cafés a one-time fee. There’s no doubt an expansion is on the cards, although they are tight-lipped about their future plans for the moment.
It’s not hard to imagine where they are going to take this though.
A disloyalty card for ice-cream and desserts, anyone? How about a website, or even an app? Or perhaps they can work with bigger brands, like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, or Gloria Jean’s?
Whatever they decide to do, I can certainly see the idea grow in the near future.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE