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In the world of premium and luxury brands there are a few cases where social media partnerships are critical in today’s connected world to help build brand equity amongst those segments that really matter. The launch of ASW (A Small World) was a great first mover in the world of premium digital whitespace for brands to advertise on. Today it has been criticised for extending the network too far from its original mandate and focusing on a member base that was by ‘invitation only’ and created a virtuous circle of the select few building their gated digital community. Private Banks and Luxury consumer brands leveraged the space to create bespoke offers and provide a glimpse of a world that may otherwise be difficult to experience for some. I had some time ago managed to get an invite to the Queens club Squash ATG final through a posting made on the network (I went as a guest of one of the Saudi sponsors) and was delighted to have been able to attend. As such I remain a fan of the social network that has in my opinion delivered on the promise of providing a high end digital user experience that is able to deliver premium brand experiences to members. The article taken from the Sunday Times on niche networking sites showcases ASW as a network that builds on ‘real world’ relationships in a digital context and allows for a real community to develop around the world. I have to admit that a few years ago when in Mumbai on a business trip, myself and my referrer to ASW posted an entry introducing our arrival into South Mumbai and were delighted to have connected with other expats in the city. That evening in Mumbai truly did allow for the online to merge with digital and brought ASW to life.


My new favourite story happens to be one from across the pond with Tech Crunch recently covering a great story on how KLOUT the US StartUp has teamed up with Cathay Pacific to provide members have a high enough score (40 and over) access to the 1st class/business class lounge at San Francisco International airport. An excellent example I feel for a brand trying to understand customer potential and building loyalty through a social media partnership. This is going to drive adoption for KLOUT and undoubtably will allow nascent business class travelers an opportunity to explore how great a Cathay Pacific experience can really be when a passenger is able to upgrade or fly on a premium class.


Insight: Social media brands provide a unique and very targeted channel to build sticky brand relationships with customers and can in the process deliver altogether new insights around prospects, customer intelligence and lead generation that may have been coming from very different traditional channels.

Insight: There is a definitive need for the digital to translate into something physical for brands to get real traction. Allows digital relationships to also cross over into real-life physical retail presence provides a real challenge for multi-channel retailing and marketing ROI tracking. There are however a number of next generation platforms, apps that are allowing for that integrated experience to come alive. Becoming the mayor of the SFO airport first class lounge using KLOUT may be where the future is headed. Now comes the hard part tracking all those moving parts together and using the big data to drive big decisions on the part of the brands.