The cat has long been out of the bag: The age of the social media and Internet peer feedback mechanisms have forever altered the way we view and interact with influence. A recent American Express survey reveals that a staggering 75% of Canadians believe themselves to be influential. In the same survey, 40% of Canadians stated they used their influence simply to put a smile on their face, while 64% said they’re more likely to influence a friend or family member if there’s something in it for them.
As a result of this shift in the way we live, many companies are altering how they communicate with their costumers, according to Erik Qualman, the author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. “Everybody has influence in their day to day lives, but more importantly for businesses, there’s 64% of people who are willing to influence if there’s something in it for them,” Qualman says. “And with that data, companies like American Express are creating referral programs so that if people are happy with their American Express Card and the customer service that comes with it, they can refer a friend and both people can benefit with a rewards system.”
With the American Express “Refer a Friend” program, influence equals reward. Through the program, the company rewards both the existing and new Cardmember with bonus reward points for every approved referral. For example, if you have the Gold Rewards Card, you can earn 10,000 Membership Reward points when you refer a friend to the Card, that’s enough for a $100 credit on your next flight. Plus, your friend will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points, which is enough for your friend to redeem for a flight anywhere in North America. “Companies like American Express are using programs like “Refer a Friend” so that people can be rewarded for enjoying their American Express Card and letting others know about it,” says Qualman. “Their key move is making it so that both parties can benefit.”
The program is already an astounding success. By weaving powerful consumer recommendations into the fabric of their operation and marketing, American Express has shifted the power balance of traditional marketing by placing control in the hands of their Cardmembers.
According to Qualman, this is how you do things right. “The world we live in now is a word-of-mouth on digital steroids. The effectiveness of these initiatives will diminish for companies that aren’t adding value, or for people who are solely pushing their own agenda without listening to their costumers. It’s not about getting them interested in you, it’s about you getting interested in them.”
The program works simply: As a member, visit Amex.ca/refer. Then, select your current American Express Card from a list, fill in your name and card number and send your “Refer a Friend” invite to friends and family members via email or Facebook. To ensure you earn the rewards for you and your friend, make sure your friends apply for the Card through the link in the e-mail or Facebook post, and you’ll start earning reward points for each approved referral.
Get started now: American Express: Refer a Friend
This post was sponsored by American Express.