Duck enthusiasts across the United States have a lot to quack about this week as Discover announces their newest partnership with Ducks Unlimited, whose logo will brand Discover’s very first affinity card.
What Is An Affinity Card
Affinity cards are relatively new to the financial world but they have been around for a while. Basically, these financial products partner a card issuing corporation with another organization in order to attract more customers from both markets.
These cards can be associated with a particular celebrity, sports team, hotel chain, nonprofit organization, charity, or just about anything that could be recognized as a “brand.” Basically, any credit card that has an image or name other than the bank and the type of card (otherwise known as “co-branded”) it is an affinity card.
While affinity cards are still somewhat young in the financial world, Discover has not yet made their foray into co-branding; until now. Still, Julie Loeger, Senior Vice President of Brand Acquisition said, in a press release,
An affinity credit card is a powerful way to help organizations connect with their members and offer additional benefits outside their standard membership package.
So they recognize their power. She continues,
Both Discover and Ducks Unlimited have strong, established brands with loyal followings, making this relationship a natural fit.
Discover vs. Ducks Unlimited
It should be obvious, even to the average consumer that Ducks Unlimited has nowhere near the market penetration that Discover does. As a matter of fact, Discover is the most popular credit card among average households in the United States (and the pioneer of the cash back bonus, to boot).
Most people, though, probably do not recognize the wetland preservation brand, so why has Discover Card chosen to partner with them for the premier of their affinity card? This mystery becomes even more peculiar when you observe that Discover already offers its carriers the option of donating cash back rewards to several different charity organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Children’s Miracle Network, and even the Make-A-Wish-Foundation.
Why Ducks Unlimited
Indeed, what makes Ducks Unlimited—this relatively unknown but probably equally deserving wildlife conservatory group-so special? Why are they getting all the attention from one of the world’s leading credit card providers? Well, perhaps it will help to look at the statistics.
In a recent joint press release with Discover Card, Ducks Unlimited reported that they have heped to conserve over 12 million wetland acres throughout the world since they began operations in 1937. With a mission to conserve, protect, and restore wetland habitats for waterfowl throughout North America, more than one-third of their success has been on US soil.
According to Discover spokeswoman Kathryn Henry, though, Discover is not necessarily planning to add Ducks Unlimited to its list of corporate giving accounts. Generally, in terms of affinity cards, when profit is made, the organizations can choose how they want to divvy up the funds or the credit card company (in this case Discover) can elect to make a donation to the affiliated entity (ie, Ducks Unlimited) but Henry says it is still unclear if this is how this partnership is designed to work.
Ducks Unlimited Chief Executive Officer Dale Hall, on the other hand, expresses that this relationship is more about continuing to expose their brand of conservation to as many people as possible. Hall states
Corporate involvement and support has played a vital role in strengthening the Ducks Unlimited brand among outdoor enthusiasts across the country
which suggests that attaching their name to the Discover brand is another way to improve the exposure of their brand.