Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 23 April 2018

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I love American Express. I have been a cardholder member since 1981. I can tell you countless stories how they saved me in a variety of circumstances. Whether I was traveling abroad and needed a last-minute hotel room, prescriptions filled in Greece when I forgot my pills at home, cash advance in the UK after hours or even help change my cabin on a sold-out cruise ship, American Express was always there for me. The company and their brand are like a familiar face that I have come to rely on after all these years.

When I heard that they were relaunching the brand, my first reaction was concern, but after reading more about their plans, I became enthusiastic for the brand again.

Last week, American Express announced that they were repositioning and refreshing their brand after 37 years. American Express’s last significant brand redesign was in 1975 when their blue box logo was created. Now, this week, the company has revealed how it has “crafted the modern American Express for the modern world.” What’s more, “this design system cherishes and celebrates the heritage of American Express in a stylish and smart way.”

amx PIC

“American Express - don’t live life without it”. I must say, it’s right for the times and I love it. Being a member of American Express is not just a privilege like in the past; it is a journey! For the older baby-boom generation who are pondering retirement as well as for millennials who are just starting their life journey, it is indeed about “living life” and relevant for both generations. Their new tagline and brand identity, in my opinion, reflects this new attitude. It is also a natural transition from their old tagline which was “Don’t leave home without it”.

Their press release explains, they “unveiled a new global brand platform and marketing campaign that reflects how people live and work today, called “Powerful Backing: Don’t Do Business / Don’t Live Life Without It.” The campaign celebrates the new reality that life and business are increasingly interconnected, and the unique role American Express can have in supporting people today”.

They continue, “We are witnessing a global transformation in people’s relationships with work. How they choose to earn a living, pursue their passions and move seamlessly between life and business is changing,” said American Express CMO Elizabeth Rutledge. “People are living rich, vibrant and layered lives and appreciate when someone has their back as they navigate this blended lifestyle.”


They commissioned a global study that showed that more than half of people today are living blended lives, with personal and work life deeply intertwined. The study, which was conducted in eight markets, also revealed that two in three people feel they can achieve more because of this work-life integration.

My personal experience suggests that this is indeed the case. My personal life is intertwined with my business life and American Express helps facilitate the interaction daily.

In my opinion, American Express is uniquely positioned to deliver on its promise to have its customers’ backs as they live life and do business. This is what they have done for me since 1981 and I imagine will continue to do into the future. They are a brand I can trust. They have the customer in mind always.

Their new integrated brand advertising campaign was launched on April 9 and seems to be running everywhere. It was created by their new advertising agency, mcgarrybowen, who was hired last year.

“This is first and foremost, a brand platform – it’s a guiding principle for how we treat our customers, colleagues, and partners, and how we develop new, innovative products and services to deliver on our vision to provide the world’s best customer experience across all the customers we serve. The campaign is just the beginning,” said Rutledge.

In my humble opinion, the brand team at American Express has done an outstanding job. I have spoken with some of their senior brand executives over the years and I know that they were thoughtful, analytical and took their time to get it right. This has been a true journey for American Express and their brand management team which ensures the positive relationship that they have with past members/cardholders and extends a new effort to their future new members and cardholders.

Kudos! American Express, be true blue to the brand you have created. This new strategy is a great brand position that marries the past with the future.

If you’re a brand that is rethinking its future positioning, trying to appeal to a changing audience give Inward a call.  If you are worried about making your brand relevant again or appeal to broader audience, give Inward a call. We create disruptive brand strategies and positions that work and have case histories to prove it. We provide a fresh way of thinking based on our proprietary Dialogue Marketing® brand strategy processes. Give us a call to discuss.


Allan Steinmetz CEO - Inward Strategic Consulting 617-558-9770