DANA POINT, CA: American Express, the financial services provider, has enjoyed considerable success on digital by forming partnerships that deliver "first-ever" experiences for its customers.

Andrea Zaretsky, vp/digital partnerships and development at American Express, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference.

"We also want to bring American Express' assets to life by creating first-ever differentiating experiences," she said. (For more, including details of Amex's tie-ups with Uber, Foursquare and Twitter, read Warc's exclusive report: Amex continues to raise social bar higher and higher.)

"We want to go where our customers are. If it means a start-up, then we're going to roll up our sleeves and partner with a start-up. Or it could be the established company that's just changing its image."

The firm's success in this area is epitomised by "Small Business Saturday", an effort seeking to drive traffic to local enterprises that launched in 2010, and made effective use of Facebook to spread the word among shoppers.

A range of other tie-ups have followed this initiative – which took second spot in The Warc 100, a ranking of the world's best campaigns based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.

More specifically, American Express has worked with digital companies from microblogging platform Twitter and taxi app Uber to location-based service Foursquare and travel website TripAdvisor.

Each of these affiliations, Zaretsky reported, offered benefits for all parties: consumers, Amex and its digital partners. "It's all about identifying the non-replicable," said Zaretsky.

"With each of these partnerships, we're looking to do something truly different – something that we each bring to the table that's going to be very tough to copy, so we provide special unique value to our joint customers."

Among the wider advantages of pursuing such programmes are positioning American Express at the forefront of change and reaching new consumers.

"We're really trying to change the perception of our brand. We want customers to think this is not your father's card," Zaretsky said.

"We're modern, we're inclusive and we're not just a premium brand: we're going after all different types of segments."

Data sourced from Warc