There are many ways banks and credit unions can put Facebook apps to work, and we really love a new small – but mighty – one from American Express: “Member Since.”
The app, available via the brand’s Facebook page, asks users to select the year they became card members. Then, it presents a tidbit from American Express history for that year along with the opportunity to post the result first on users’ Facebook timelines and subsequently via Twitter.
Member since 1958? You’ll learn that the first Amex cards were purple and that Elvis Presley was a charter member. Member since 1982? That was the year “American Express became the first financial services company named to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, officially becoming a blue chip stock.” Member since 2000? American Express celebrated a big birthday that year: 150 years.
Here’s what we love about it:
Select a year. Receive a historic fact. Share it with your friends and followers. That’s all there is to it (from a user standpoint).
It’s social… and delivering engagement.
Amex is promoting its “Member Since” Facebook app (and the #MemberSince hashtag) on its Timeline and in its Twitter stream, and its posts on both platforms are earning high levels of engagement.
On November 4, Amex posted this Facebook status: “What were you up to the year you became a Card Member? Claim your #MemberSince year and get your badge.” The post received 75 shares, over 2,000 likes and nearly 500 comments. Strictly by the numbers, that level of engagement is only so-so.
But a look at the comments (overwhelmingly they were positive) reveals rich customer stories and deep affection for the brand. Customers posted details about the years they became card members: “opened my first store,” “birth of my first son,” “getting ready for a life changing move,” and “living the good life in Brooklyn.” They included words of praise, as well: “best thing that ever happened to my wallet” and “making my life easier than I ever expected.”
And on Twitter, where the hashtag is tweeted dozens of times a day, American Express engages with its customers on a personal level:
It demonstrates customer loyalty.
American Express customers are proud to be card members. The new “Member Since” Facebook app creates a mechanism for boasting not only about belonging but also about longevity. In an era where brand affinity may last only until “The Next Big Thing” or hard-to-refuse offer arrives, a brand is wise to focus on loyalty (a.k.a. retention).
It showcases the brand legacy.
Users of the app “uncover a piece of American Express history.” Most obviously, therefore, the “Member Since” app showcases the company’s history by highlighting key moments in its evolution.
But it also works at another level: with the brand’s marketing legacy. From 1975’s launch of “Don’t leave home without them,” the American Express traveler’s cheques tagline, the brand has delivered memorable campaign after memorable campaign, such as “Membership has its privileges” and “Are you a card member?” Historically, the campaigns have included celebrities (as in this TV spot with Beyonce and this print ad with Tina Fey) while also featuring – very prominently – the “member since” dates on the cards. There were even commercials, like “Dates” from 2008, that made “member since” the star: “There’s a date on your card then there’s a day when you realize it’s more than a card. Are you a card member?”
Along with a focus on dates, American Express campaigns keep the words “member” and “membership” at the front. In addition to the messaging mentioned above, the brand launched “The Membership Effect” in 2012 with a focus on its network of members and building relationships; its tagline was “Welcome In.” And today, even its fraud protection is branded this way (see the “Member of a more secure world” TV spot).
And it’s far from “just” language. “Membership,” “member” and “member since” remind customers that they are part of a network, that they are “in” an American Express club. As Amex keeps finding new and innovative ways to promote “membership” at its core – making certain that customers connect with the message and each other – the strength of its brand promise continues to grow.