reiGenius brand in our 2014 Digital IQ Index: Sportswear REI has leveraged its status as a consumers’ cooperative by inspiring loyalty through social media and membership benefits. REI has more than five million members, to whom it offers a 10% refund on all full-priced purchases, travel discounts, and board voting rights proportionate to their annual purchases.


The brand’s 1440 Project, featured as a Flash of Genius in our report, builds on the community concept by posting a user-generated photo of the outdoors on a microsite every minute of the day. Users can log into Facebook to like photos and submit with the tag #1440Project. So far, the brand has posted a photo for 90% of all minutes since its launch in May, and has gathered more than 18,000 photos, an average of 12.6 photos per each minute of the day. The most popular minute, 2:00 p.m., averaged 167 submissions a day.


While many brands place user-generated photos in campaigns, REI’s commitment to do so every minute of the day was encouraging to those interested in submitting. Furthermore, asking for a photo from an experience in nature as opposed to REI items put the spotlight on users, consistent with the brand’s community ethos.


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