Armed with a two-story hospitality experience, nine lifestyle influencers and an old school vibe, American Express once again rocked New York City as a sponsor of the Panorama Music Festival, held this year July 28-30 on Randall’s Island Park. The brand returned to the festival for a second year with a two-pronged strategy aimed at rewarding cardmembers and attracting new customers through Instagram-worthy moments, killer stage views and a healthy dose of New York flair. To learn more about how the strategy struck a chord with festivalgoers, we tapped Walter Frye, vp-sponsorships and branded entertainment at American Express. Following is an excerpt from our conversation.
Event Marketer: What was the ultimate goal of the Panorama sponsorship?
Walter Frye: Our goal was to create an elevated experience for our cardmembers, as well as invite everyone in to experience what American Express service is like first-hand.
EM: How did this year’s strategy differ from last year’s?
WF: This year we changed the approach to invite everyone in [to the hospitality space] based on insight that attendees are looking for those Instagrammable moments at music festivals… People responded well to being able to create their own experience in the environment.
EM: Why were influencers part of the approach?
WF: We know that influencers are playing an increasingly important role in driving perceptions and awareness these days. So, we’ve been partnering with influencers who are passionate about our brand and who share values with our brand and with our cardmembers.
EM: What role did influencers play in your activation?
WF: We see them as storytellers who can provide authentic ways to show how we’re providing elevated service to our cardmembers, and who are amplifying the things we’re doing at music festivals.
EM: What were the results of this sponsorship?
WF: It was one of our activations that we were most proud of in terms of seeing the scale and the engagement that we had with those cardmembers and non-cardmembers.
EM: Why does the brand value live experiences like the Panorama activation?
WF: It’s an opportunity for American Express to get our cardmembers closer to the things that we already know that they’re passionate about. Music is really a universal passion point and that’s one of the reasons that it’s one of the areas we spend the most resources in. Whether it’s at music festivals or our touring pre-sells or digital programs we’ve done with artists, we find that live events are a really great opportunity for us to bring our history and our legacy and our positioning and service to life.