brand evolution

American Express at 163: Having Its Cake and Tweeting It, Too

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2013 04:38 PM

It’s hard to believe that American Express is celebrating its 163rd birthday today, as the iconic brand continues a spry and active presence, pushing boundaries in social media while as fresh and enduring as those half its age. Case in point: its #163candles hashtag on Twitter today.

Just last month, the blue chip brand teamed with that whippersnapper on a social commerce experience that turns Twitter hashtags into purchases. The sync and tweet with #hashtags lets users buy $25 American Express Gift Cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360.

"Based on the initial success of Amex Sync for offers, we know there is significant power in combining our assets with Twitter's platform to bring value to Cardmembers and merchants," said Leslie Berland, SVP Digital Partnerships and Development. "Now, we're leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what's possible in the world of social commerce."

"With Twitter, we’ve really hit the trifecta. We have a great platform in Twitter," said Ed Gilligan, Vice Chairman, American Express when the "Sync. Tweet. Save." initiative launched. "We know our cardmembers are engaged in Twitter. We’ve been working with them to think about how can we help them move from conversations to commerce. To turn a tweet into a transaction."

Prior to that, American Express Cardmembers and merchants were offered exclusive access to Twitter’s new ad solution for small businesses. The first 10,000 eligible businesses registered received $100 in free Twitter ads when the self-serve automated system began.

A series of media partnerships jump-started the brand's T-commerce (TV-powered transactions) forays. In November, American Express customers could shop real-time while watching Zooey Deschanel's New Girl. Fans purchased product (one new with each episode) through the FOX NOW suite of iPad apps and American Express Cardmembers received a one-time exclusive $35 statement credit for using an eligible American Express Card synced with their Facebook account.

Interactive TV is of interest to Comcast, so its NBCUniversal division launched a similar AMEX-powered interactive shopping experience with Zeebox during Bravo's Life After Top Chef, E!'s Fashion Police and Style's Tia & Tamera, with NBCU's Daily Candy website editors curating show-inspired products to offer. BrightLine’s branded, interactive TV channel offers an "always-on" destination across five platforms (Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T UVerse, Verizon FiOs and Cablevision) and internet-connected LG and Samsung televisions, which let viewers enter through TV commercials and channel guides with their remote.

"The technology that we are pioneering along with our partners is the first step in fundamentally changing the way that audiences can discover, engage with and ultimately have access to the things they see on television,’ said Lou Paskalis, VP Global Media Content Development and Mobile Marketing, American Express. 

Perhaps their forward-facing ideologies on consumer experience is why American Express is among the top 15 most admired companies in the world, according to a recent study by Fortune magazine, which also pegged AMEX as the most admired in its industry. The company was also recently named one of the best multinational places to work, and one of the top 50 most community-minded companies in Bloomberg's The Civic 50 ranking.

For a company that got its start as an express mail business in 1850, it has made itself quite comfortable among digital-age leaders, with over 2.7 million Facebook 'likes' and a grip on social and mobile commerce that will likely keep them around for another 163 years. 

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