On Thursday, July 12, American Express Platinum hosted The Wing’s Beach Bungalow at EMP Summer House in East Hampton. The Wing’s co-founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan and Amy Marino, the VP of global experiential marketing and partnerships at American Express, hosted chicsters to a performance by Okay Kaya and a four-course seated dinner.
TAKING FLIGHT: With Audrey Gelman, co-founder of The Wing and Platinum Collective member
What was your vision for The Wing’s first Hamptons experience?
We wanted to collaborate with female designers, florists, musicians and friends to create an intimate event, hosted in partnership with American Express Platinum, that had a laid-back, beachy atmosphere. As part of that, the night featured a performance by singer-songwriter Okay Kaya. And the best part was that the night benefitted i-tri, a local organization supporting body positivity and confidence for adolescent girls.
You launched The Wing less than two years ago, and you now have thousands of members and four locations. How do you explain its resonance?
Our mission has always been twofold: to provide a physical space designed with women’s needs in mind, and to empower women through an engaged, supportive community. This type of multipurpose space for women hasn’t really existed before. Our concept and design, the amenities and resources, and our programming are all intentionally created with women in mind, and I think that, along with our incredible sense of community, resonates with women.
How have you “marketed” The Wing?
Our members are our marketers! We’re so proud to have such a diverse and passionate community here at The Wing who proclaim their affiliation with the space with pride.
What kinds of curated experiences are Wing members looking for?
The Wing’s members are incredibly engaged with our programming. We take a very editorial approach to curating our calendar of events, based on members’ interests, as well as issues and organizations we want to amplify. We try to offer a mix of professional, social, and hands-on events. For The Wing’s Beach Bungalow event specifically, we were excited to offer Wing members, the Platinum Collective, Card Members, and guests an intimate atmosphere complete with an immersive, seated culinary experience that allowed guests to connect with one another.
Can you tell us more about your partnership with Amex?
The Wing has a multi-year partnership with American Express where we join forces to bring to life experiences and offerings as part of our shared commitment to support women and girls from all different backgrounds and advance their personal or professional pursuits through the power of community.
THE PLATINUM EXPERIENCE: With Amy Marino, American Express
Can you give us a sense of the scope of your responsibilities?
I lead a cross-functional team focused on supporting experiential marketing, brand and talent partnerships, and customer experience in service of Premium Cards and Benefits at American Express. My team led experiential for the 2017 relaunch of Platinum Card, including the formation of The Platinum Collective, an advisory group of thought leaders and creative thinkers across key Card Member passion areas. We work closely with them to inform and curate unique experiences for Platinum Card Members. All our partnerships are built out of a mutual interest in connecting with one another’s audiences while offering Card Members a relevant, differentiated experience.
Why are experiences so valued by card members?
As a company focused on building long-term relationships with our customers, experiences are highly effective at creating direct, meaningful relationships. When we relaunched the iconic Platinum Card last year—with a new metal form factor and with updated, modern benefits—we made sure to put experience at the core. There were two main reasons for this. One, we wanted to modernize the way we approach Platinum experiences and make them relevant to the next generation of Platinum Card Members. Two, in a crowded market of points accelerators, we could leverage our strength as a service company and access point to stand out from the pack and pass on that value to Card Members. Through these exclusive offers and experiences, Card Members see firsthand how their Platinum Card gets them access to the cultural moments that matter most to them. We already know where our customers are and how they’re spending, so for us, we ask ourselves: How can we add real value and create elevated and exclusive experiences for our Card Members? Our experiential activations are always driven out of that insight. We aim to show up in a native, authentic way and provide tangible value and/or solve a problem while we’re doing it.
What drew American Express Platinum to Audrey Gelman and The Wing?
The Wing’s mission to promote the advancement of women through community resonated strongly with us. It was evident immediately that Audrey’s approach to creating opportunities for women by curating conversations and spaces for connection would be a valuable one to consider as we develop our Card Member experiences.
What’s next in terms of events with other members of the Platinum Collective?
We have key touchpoints throughout the year, including events, partnerships, meetings, and brainstorms. We’re seeing a lot of success by enabling this community to collaborate with each other. On the horizon, we have a celebratory weekend with The Knot, their EIC and Platinum Collective member, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, and a group of engaged influencers in the Hamptons.
Are you a Wing member?
I’m a proud Wing woman! I attempt to work from The Wing once a week to get outside of the office and get some external perspective. My team at American Express is currently comprised of all incredible women, so it’s great to be able to invite them there for off-sites and meetings. It’s also a beautiful space to meet with our female Platinum Collective members and other partners.
What are some of the other experiences that you’re working on these days?
There are a number of exciting experiences for Card Members coming up in 2018. We have a few things brewing during New York Fashion Week, as well as the introduction of our first international Platinum House in the months to come.
How are you and your team evolving Platinum’s digital strategy?
In digital especially, we have the opportunity to be hyper-personalized, and digital can a great companion to a live experience, because we can serve you messages about places to go, things to do, offers from our merchant partners that can make American Express an essential part of a customer’s decision-making journey. We also tap into digital and social media to amplify our experiences to a much broader population of customers and prospects, extending its life cycle beyond just the physical event.