American Express: Branding Financial Services - Essay

10219 words 41 pages
American Express: Branding Financial Services


American Express is known worldwide for its charge cards, travelers’ services, and financial services. It is one of the best-known and most-respected global brands. As it grew from a 19th Centurynineteenth- express company into a travel services expert by the mid-1900s, American Express (AMEXAMEX) became associated in the minds of consumers with prestige, security, service, international acceptability, and leisure. Advertising for the company, which began in earnest in the 1960s, reinforced these associations. For example, the now-famous taglinetag line “Don’t leave home without it” was created to convey the essentiality of owning an American Express cardAmerican Express Card.
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In the 1940s, several U.S. banks began issuing a paper document – —similar to a letter of credit – —that customers could use like cash in local stores. Diner’s Club introduced the first modern charge card in 1950, when it issued a “travel Travel and entertainmentEntertainment” card designed for use by business travelers. The card was accepted by a large variety of merchants, who paid a fee to Diner’s Club in compensation for the added business. The first bank card was issued by Franklin National Bank in Long Island, New York. The bank-issued card was accepted by local merchants only, unlike the Diner’s Club card. Shortly after Franklin National Bank debuted its credit card, several other banks across the United States.S. issued credit cards to their customers.

“The Card”

AMEXAMEX actually had considered issuing a charge card on several occasions before Diner’s Club unveiled its card in 1950. AMEXAMEX management discussed issuing a charge card as early as 1947, but then-president Ralph T. Reed refused because of security problems given the possibility of fraud. In 1956, when DinersDiner’s Clubs’ card charges began to cut into AMEXAMEX travelers Travelers check Cheque sales, AMEXAMEX initiated negotiations to buy Diner’s Club. Talks lasted for two years, but Reed ultimately declined, citing concern about the dilution of AMEXAMEX’s prestige. In late 1957, AMEXAMEX leadership decided that the


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