American Express uses Twitter to encourage consumers to #ShopSmall

Monday, 24 November 2014

Nov. 29 marks the fifth anniversary of Small Business Saturday, a movement started by @AmericanExpress to encourage shoppers to buy from locally owned businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, American Express is reminding people to #ShopSmall using a custom Twitter solution: the #ShopSmallReminder Card.

American Express uses Twitter to encourage consumers to #ShopSmall

Twitter users who click the #ShopSmallReminder Card, which launched earlier this month, receive a #ShopSmall pledge to share with their followers. On the morning of Nov. 29, they’ll also see a Tweet reminding them to support independent businesses.

Partnering with Twitter

According to Jill Toscano, Vice President of U.S. Media at American Express, the brand chose to partner with Twitter to promote #ShopSmall for several reasons. “The #ShopSmall movement has social in its DNA, and Twitter helps the movement stay topical and relevant,” she explained. Another major draw was the opportunity to participate in Hatch, a daylong ideation session hosted by Twitter’s Brand Strategy, Product and Account Teams. The session is designed to help brands develop innovative marketing solutions to core brand challenges.

In this case, the challenge was finding a creative way to mobilize shoppers on Small Business Saturday, said Katie Washington, Director of Shop Small & Small Business Saturday at American Express. “When working with small businesses, we hear time and again that they are looking for ways to get more customers.”

The Hatch process

The Hatch process began in July, when the American Express team shared a brief with Twitter ahead of their Hatch session in which they emphasized the importance of creating a native, interactive integration that would be useful to customers.

Aly Baer, Lead Twitter Brand Strategist for American Express, said that partnering early on with the brand was crucial. “It allowed us to bring our best thinking and resources to the table to truly create something special,” she said. “The #ShopSmallReminder Card is a direct result of the data-driven, collaborative approach that fuels Hatch.”

For Toscano, innovation was a key element of Hatch. “We liked the invitation to step outside the conventional,” she said. “The moment we walked into Hatch and started building marshmallow towers together, we knew it would be totally unlike your typical brainstorm session.”

Twitter Senior Account Executive Jacqueline Willemsen, who works with American Express, captured the day in this Tweet:

“The deep mutual trust we have with the entire American Express team enabled us to develop a great solution,” Willemsen said.

Tips for other brands

Toscano’s advice to other brands interested in trying Hatch? “Don’t be afraid to let Twitter tear down your social strategy in order to build something even better,” she said. “The insights you gain from your session can inform not only your immediate campaign, but also your entire 360-marketing strategy.”

To learn more about Hatch, contact your Twitter account team.