Program Design is the first step of launching a Loyalty Program and is the most key step in making a program successful. The starting point for designing a Loyalty Program should always be mapping out the journey of the target audience. This approach holds for trade programs or influencer programs or consumer programs hence the term partner is used interchangeably for all of them in this post.
An ideal partner journey consists of many steps where the partner starts out from not knowing about the brand, takes an interest, takes a bet, purchases the product (or enters into an agreement), experiences it, becomes loyal, shares experience and promotes the brand further. The exact journeys for individual brands would be more nuanced and need to be accounted for.