About American Express India
American Express is the world’s largest card issuer by volume. AmEx has 107.2 million cards-in-force throughout the globe. It processes millions of transactions daily within the network of premium cardholders. AmEx has an employee workforce of 62,848 worldwide. AmEx is known for its customer loyalty and reward programmes on its various cards.It is in AmEx’s ethos to value each and every customer and strive to them as fulfilling and gratifying experience everytime. AmEx has earned a reputation for itself as customer-dedicated by providing 24/7 service. AmEx in pursuance of its customer reward solutions sponsored Taste of Mumbai, internationally acclaimed food and drink festivities launchpad for India. The festival was scheduled from 22nd to 24th March 2013. The festival was a high quality food and drink event where host city’s celebrated chefs and restaurants presented their signature dishes in an outdoor city center venue. It also comprised of exhibitors including coffee shops, patisseries, wineries, breweries, among other things.
American Express’s Business Objectives
- To spread awareness about the brand’s association with the event.
- To enhance customer loyalty, build empathy within its cardholders and earn a reputation for being a card company that understands its customer’s lifestyle and their needs.
Strategy Adopted by American Express
Facebook was used as the primary buzz creator. American Express’ association with the first food and drink festivities in India was an attempt to integrate itself as an essential part of today’s generation’s lifestyle. The card holders were given a number of incentives which included opportunity to meet celebrity chefs, classified information on schedule of the three day event and about the participating restaurants. The festival had an exclusive American Express VIP lounge to let people relax after taking a break from tasting food. The privileged card holders were also offered complimentary dram of Glenfiddich over a discussion with some top chefs. A three day contest was organised on Facebook wall and winners were awarded with VIP passes for a couple which were priced at Rs. 2,000.
Campaign roll out was as follows-
- 16- 21 March 2013 was pre-event buzz where there were free taste giveaways, promotion about the top chefs who were to be part of the event, international guest chefs, restaurant brands who were participating in the event and of course about the contest, wherein three questions themed on food were asked, which was in full swing during the period. The event was promoted in such a manner so as to create an impression of must visit event for food enthusiasts and critics alike and an event which cannot be afforded to be missed.
- 22-24 March 2013 was the festival whose live updates were regularly shared with Facebook audience. Videos were prepared with the winners of the contest. Food blogger was hired to give minute-to-minute detail on Facebook. Images of food items, winners enjoying delicious meals and videos were posted. Through this, AmEx tried to create a unique online-offline sync where the winners of the contest were asked to share their real time experience at the festival.
- 25-26 March 2013 was marked as the post event sum-up, where interviews with chefs, celebrity spotting, experiences of winners, images of food items and demo by various chefs were shared.
Results achieved by American Express
- 403 organic likes achieved during the campaign
- 5X increase in page engagement
- No. of non-fans reached during the campaign was 38,500
- People began to talk about the page in the form of commenting, answering questions, sharing posts
- Viral reach of Facebook fan page expanded from 7,433 to 15,754
India is a growing country. Growth and development brings with itself change in lifestyles of its people. More so, in case of people who are in high income bracket. What better would reflect change in lifestyle than food? Food is no longer seen as a necessity for living rather it is an indulgence. It is associated with individual’s passion and status and when this international food festival decided to launch its Indian presence, it itself spoke volumes of the present lifestyle of people.
Mumbai, the financial capital of India along with its reputation of being the hub of celebrity has a distinct image of gourmet dining city. Thus, Mumbai was an apt location for the event. Coming to the fact that American Express decided to be its title sponsor indicates that American Express wanted to make most of this first time opportunity. It effectively created a place for itself in the minds of young people with high incomes and implicitly revealed to audience gathered at the event and those who were not on the attendee list that American Express is synonymous with convenience, service and fun.
American Express made it clear to the audience that it is fully geared with it’s audience’s changing lifestyle with time which no other bank comes close. American Express tried to build a network of people with common interests, enrich their lives with its services and all this was promoted widely to even those who at present are not cardholders with making use of Facebook. Facebook contest served as a bridge to a large number of people who in future might decide to be a part of American Express family. One important point to learn from the entire exercise is that the use and impact of social media may or may not be on direct sales in the short run, but works on more subtle levels, in terms of positively affecting decisions and it does make a mark in human psychology. Social media, in this case Facebook, cannot and should not be used as a direct selling medium because these platforms are not made for selling in the first place. They are platforms for interactions, for discussions and in the process if organisations can use them for their purposes and at the same time be entertaining and creative, its benefits shall be reaped by them.