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Research: Diary Study, Customer Interviews

Vans is an action sports footwear company with a focus on bringing action sports, music, art, and street culture to the greater community since 1966. Although popular amongst all age groups, particularly Millennials and Gen Z-ers, Vans wanted to understand how they could make their loyalty program more attractive to consumers.


With the project divided into three phases, each with a specific area of focus, our research team painted a complete picture of users’ experiences with Vans and their competitors’ loyalty programs. Our insights helped guide Vans’ future strategy approach that would lead to continued customer engagement.

Vans was experiencing drops in their loyalty program’s membership and tasked our team with understanding why customers disengage, what competitors were doing well, and getting a sense of how Vans’ current offering resonated with consumers. We were challenged to identify how customers engage with competitors’ and Vans’ programs in real-life over an extended period of time.

“Through our research, we were able to dissect the problem space and expose what makes or breaks a loyalty program and what customers expect from them. We successfully defined ways that Vans can extend their members’ continued engagement and ensure they remain competitive in this space.”

Sarah Field


The research approach we employed for this project was a combination of diary studies to gain rich insight into the exact moments customers naturally interacted with loyalty programs and one-on-one interviews to diver deeper into consumers’ experiences, moments of frustration, and instances of delight.


We set out to understand three crucial areas: why customers disengaged with the Vans loyalty program after signup, what competitor programs did well and where they were lacking, and the overall experience of a new customer engaging with a loyalty program.


Diary studies and one-on-one interviews uncovered how users naturally engage with loyalty programs and what their emotional journey throughout their membership looked like, which helped inform our recommendations for Vans’ next steps.


Findings from our longitudinal research approach exposed aspects of Vans’ loyalty program that could be improved and refined. We were successful in delivering insights that helped shape our recommended strategy for Vans moving forward that will lead to continued, long-lasting, and enjoyable engagement.

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