Yoga Pants, Unique Identifiers, and the Temperature of Your Living Room

Sean Claessen

Why the best forms of loyalty don’t look anything like loyalty.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who blindly recite their contact information when retailers ask them for their email or phone number, and those who refuse to give up the goods.

On a recent trip to Lululemon, I was amused when my wife was asked for her contact info at the checkout. “Why do you need that?” she asked the eager yogi behind the counter. She was told it makes it easier for her to return or exchange her purchase—even if she lost the receipt. Well, she declined without batting an eye, leaving me to wonder why a brand that makes and sells its own apparel would choose such a bland and inflexible benefit to get customers to self-identify.


But I digress.

Some of us need not look any further than our own thermostats to see a brand that’s winning more love than a Taylor Swift Instagram post. Google—our favorite loyalty company that isn’t explicitly a loyalty company—has an inherently badass way of identifying each of its Nest users and ensuring they don’t feel like their information is being collected at a cash register for what seems like shits, giggles, and random direct marketing lists.

When it comes to Nest, the smart home pioneer has an understanding of its users that rivals some of the largest loyalty programs in the world. Nest’s user experience has been designed around a foundation of rock-solid loyalty principles that, while not necessarily apparent to the naked eye, trigger to some of our most basic human sensibilities.


Consider Nest’s unique user ID. By assigning a unique ID from the get-go, Nest learns about who the user is, based on their schedules, habits, and energy use. Nest does this at an individual-user level and, further, at a product level. This unique ID is important, because it’s the canvas against which the entire user experience is predicated—it enables a conduit for personalized communication, makes it possible to incorporate a relevant currency, and creates a shared identity between user and brand that aligns the Nest brand promise with each user’s daily routine.

And what goes into that routine? Consider notifications you’ve received on your thermostat, through its accompanying app, and customized energy reports sent to the privacy of your inbox. These three screens are hotbeds of engagement that communicate important information and draw you further down the rabbit hole of the experience.

Think of your day-to-day with Nest: Maybe you adjust the dial until it displays that little green leaf that signals a slightly more energy-efficient temperature; or you receive a message reminding you it’s time to change the air filter; or, it’s even driven your partner to constantly check the app in her new obsession with your home’s relative humidity. Whatever the case, these experiences feel novel and compel you to react.


Nest harnesses many different loyalty design principles to create an engaging and differentiated user experience. It grabs our attention, commits us to goals, and ultimately rewards us for tailoring our behavior. That’s not merely the convenience of controlling your thermostat from anywhere and managing half your home’s energy use—it’s loyalty design at its finest.

And to think, it’s all possible because of a unique ID. Makes you wonder what would happen if retailers smartened up to create end-to-end experiences that truly engage their customers.

But I digress.

This is the second in a five-part series that examines how loyalty is at the core of the Nest customer experience.

[Image retrieved from lululemon]

Sean Claessen
EVP, Strategy & Executive Creative Director

Learn more about #Informaloyalty in the 2015 Loyalty Report Executive Summary.

2015 Loyalty Report