In it’s second year, I like the concept of American Express Members Project, allowing it’s cardholders a say in how they distribute 2.5 million in Amex funding. It doesn’t lock users into pre-determined charities, and covers a wide range of user-defined projects from health to community development. It 2.0 consumer control, influence & involvement and good ol’ fashioned corporate philanthropy.
It reminds me of My Starbucks Idea, one of the best executions I’ve seen in consumer community engagement and idea generation. Open, honest, two way conversations with the consumer and the brand (ok, today it’s Brad from the strategy team), having a real influence on the Starbucks experience.
The key in all this is in the execution, the result, the ideas in action. It takes a long-term strategy and dedicated resources, but get it right and you can gain users credibility, loyalty and ownership and an opportunity for real feedback from real people.