Brands use exclusive perks to strike chords and make connections at events
Customer rewards are no longer just for the super-rich. They’re one of the fastest growing ways to build customer loyalty at events.
American Express has offered cardholders exclusive perks at events such as the US Open for years. Last month cardmembers could flash their card and borrow portable TVs from AmEx at the Open events so they could see all the action no matter where they were sitting (Agency: Momentum New York City).
The approach is effective in two ways: It solidifies the relationship with current customers but it also targets potential customers who want to get in on the fun.
“In seeing the benefits and services that American Express provides to its cardmembers we hope that prospective cardmembers will begin to consider us and think about the ways in which the card can enhance their lives ” says Jessica Igoe AmEx’s director-sponsorship marketing.
Banks are also getting into the action. WaMu recently launched a WaMu Live! program offering customers a host of perks at events including special parking access designated concession lines for WaMu customers and a place to chill in WaMu branded lounges. The bank chose to partner with venues—particularly those where it had sponsorship benefits or naming rights such as the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden—instead of latching onto an event tour or hitting one-off events. (The company also extended the experience to wamulive.com where consumers could look for upcoming shows and access pics from photo ops at the events.)
“We like the variety ” says Jane Zalutsky first vp-experiential marketing at WaMu. “We appeal to a wide range of consumers and it ties us into communities as well.”
At the NFL Experience at Super Bowl XLI Sprint sponsored a phone-a-friend promotion that featured NFL players calling consumers’ friends for chats. Sprint users could go through a VIP line to get faster access.
Although credit cards banking companies and telecommunications providers are the ones quickly embracing the trend they’re not the only ones who can benefit. If consumers have a way to demonstrate their relationship with the brand be it a card for a loyalty program or a receipt from a retailer offering exclusive perks could be the way to make the next big connection.
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