At Delta, one of the many ways we connect the world and drive value for our customers is through our loyalty rewards program, SkyMiles, which lets Members earn miles toward future flights. To drive more value to the program, we decided to meet our customers where they're at by partnering with one of America's most beloved loyalty programs: Starbucks Rewards.
This partnership has been more successful than either brand could have imagined, and the idea behind this powerhouse collaboration was simple: connect people together.
Our research showed that customers overwhelmingly prefer Starbucks coffee on-board and in Sky Clubs as our preferred partner. A more integrated partnership would enhance the natural synergy between coffee and travel to create a more unique customer value proposition. With this insight in mind, we launched a partnership that allowed SkyMiles Members to sip their way to their next flight by earning miles, specifically one mile per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Starbucks.
This strategically built, dual-brand experience meant we were creating something innovative in the loyalty space while enabling meaningful moments authentically for our shared customers. The collaboration also marked Starbucks Rewards' first-ever US partnership and one of SkyMiles' highest-priority loyalty partnerships in over forty years.
The goal of this campaign was to drive one million links in one year, plus program engagements, and new member sign-ups for both loyalty programs—a win-win for Delta, Starbucks, and of course, our customers.
Bringing this mammoth partnership to life through a compelling yet natural lens was no easy feat. During our kickoff with the Starbucks Creative Studio, our first objective was to find similarities between brands regarding language, values, and visual approach. From there, we crafted a guidelines toolkit that illustrated the intersection of the two brands.
Our co-brand positioning statements acted as our guiding light throughout the campaign, which stated the following: Together, we connect our customers to more of the experiences, big and small, that matter. After we finalized the toolkit, we started our visual exploration exercise for a photoshoot concept that felt true to both brands. It was challenging because both brands represent two entirely different industries, each with their own loyalty program and customized look and feel. However, we agreed that this campaign's north star was "connection," which is part of both brands' missions.
After rounds of exploration, we determined a two-part photoshoot would allow us to gather the creative we needed to build our exciting campaign. The first photoshoot would occur in a studio, while the second would happen inside the Salt Lake City airport.
The studio photoshoot allowed both brands to come alive together, naturally and seamlessly. Photography captured here was utilized across several assets, including display ads, out-of-home, social, and internal channels. Our airport imagery centered on the power of connection by showcasing families and friends immersed in the spirit of travel.
Across all imagery, you'll see talent with Starbucks in one hand and luggage in another, highlighting how Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards pair together seamlessly. We crafted three tiers of messaging to pair with assets:
A "general" message to communicate program benefits.
A "linking" message focused on the benefits customers' got when linking their accounts.
A "more" message that emphasized the ease and joy of earning more for customers' everyday purchases with both brands.
Our launch assets drive to a microsite where customers can learn more about the program benefits and link their accounts.
Proving that we gave the people what they wanted is solidified in our record-breaking results that shattered our goals and benchmarks. Here are some of our biggest wins:
We reached our annual goal of 1M account links in just 16 days with over 1.56M links, which crashed our website on launch day due to overwhelming customer interest
Our campaign launch organic Instagram post wildly exceeded expectations by driving:
7,739 links in one day
1,024 SkyMiles acquisitions in one day
Our organic campaign teaser Instagram post drove 81,700+ impressions and 4,700+ engagements
Launch tweet brand interaction drove 53,000+ impressions and 14,800+ engagements