Portable, safe, and able to capture a spectrum of information, these temporary bracelets are tagging the imaginations of both marketers and consumers due to their capacity for enhancing the brand experience. At recreational venues ranging from Vail Resorts to South by Southwest, wearers of these devices receive personalized offers, chances to win contests and loyalty rewards, all on an expedited scale.

This technology is introducing a new concept, that of the pop-up rewards program, and it is not limited to bracelets. Actual pop-up stores, those seasonal merchants that come and go at various times of the year, can and do operate loyalty initiatives, thanks to the power and agility of mobile communications. Merchants can deliver rewards or offers in moments and store the customer information for when the event or pop-up returns.

“If you can identify people who have shopped in your store before and can reach out to them and remind them around the need time, that would seem like a perfectly logical strategy,” said Earl Quenzel, partner in the marketing firm Quenzel & Associates and a 30-year loyalty expert.

For instance, the Castello New York Pop-Up Store, a specialty cheese shop, used social platforms and crowdsourcing to learn what kinds of rewards and communications its fan base preferred, as well as who used check-in features and why. The store operated from May 2 to July 6, and the information gathered was put to work informing customers of future pop-up events.

“This rich understanding of the Castello fan base and specialty cheese lovers in general enabled us to craft targeted messages in advance, while still being nimble and responsive,” Susan Burris, Castello brand manager, said in an email.

Similarly, the Montreal-based company Intellitix uses RFID technology to band consumers and brands together at special events. It provides the technology that enables event access, social media interactions, contest information and cashless payments at hundreds of live events globally, including the Ryder Cup, Telluride Film Festival, and Coachella.

Serge Grimaux, Intellitix CEO and founder, said the company is working with event sponsors and organizers to cross-reference data so it will better benefit all parties, particularly consumers, without the disruptive nature of ads. Grimaux believes sentiment is more effective than advertising in encouraging desired behaviour. 

“We don’t buy with objects, we buy with emotion,” he said. “Loyalty programs wuntil now are based on logic, they’re based on counting points and things of that nature. If you can shift this into becoming an emotional experience, then you really  win.”

That is what any consumer should expect regardless of venue and time frame. At a time when everyday lives may change every six months, pop-up loyalty may underscore the long-term opportunities of the briefest moments.