Christopher Frank, a VP at American Express who leads an insights team focused on advertising, brand strategy and communications research, discussed this topic at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) CONSUMERxSCIENCE conference.
“In short order, and I’m not making any [specific] predictions here, the credit card as we know it is going away in your wallet. That physical piece of plastic is going to evolve,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Brand purpose guides American Express into fintech future.)
Given that American Express has approximately 50 million cards-in-force in the United States, the shift towards various modes of digital payments clearly represents a transformational process.
But Frank was confident it could meet this challenge by adhering firmly to its core mission. “The form factor matters less to us as long as we’re true to our purpose on the brand, which is … trust, service and security,” he said.
“And when companies – or when different constituents – focus on different aspects [of American Express] and they just see us as a credit card, they are missing the true value of the brand.”
In response to the changing contours of its industry, American Express is innovating throughout its business and partnering with startups, too.
And Frank suggested that using its purpose as a North Star in such endeavours will help American Express make the right decisions for the long term.
“When you think about purpose, and everyone within the company – 55,000 employees – thinks ‘What does the American Express brand stand for?’, it’s around trust, service and security,” he said.
“When we think at American Express, ‘Are we creating the brand?’, and people think of the brand – whether we have a credit card, whether we offer a high-end insurance card, a Green Card, [or] what we do with our merchants – do we stand for that trust, service and security?
“If that comes first and foremost top of mind, then we’re good in terms of the form factors and where do we innovate.”
Sourced from WARC