American Express: Branding Financial Services - Essay

10204 Words Nov 17th, 2012 41 Pages
American Express: Branding Financial Services

Introduction

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
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Aided by the network of international financial relationships established for support of the AMEXAMEX money order, sales of the Travelers Cheque quickly took off. From 1882 to 1896, Travelers Cheque sales quadrupled as travelers all over the world were using AMEXAMEX products more and more to make their journeys easier. In the meantime, AMEXAMEX’s express business was growing overseas. Federal antitrust regulation led to the separation American Express’s express business from its financial services and tourism businesses. By that time, however, AMEXAMEX was already booking tours, hotel stays, and steamship and railway tickets. Money orders were still popular and tTravelers check Cheque sales were constantly increasing. AMEXAMEX had also been investing the float – —the money that remains in the company’s account during the interval between when Travelers Cheques are bought and when they are cashed – —and earning millions of dollars in interest. The Travelers Cheque was AMEXAMEX’s flagship product. The travelers Travelers check Cheque fees and its float investments were responsible for most of AMEXAMEX’s earnings and almost all of their profits.

History of the Charge Card

In 1914, Western Union, another express company, issued the first “charge card” in the form of a metal plate given to preferred customers that enabled them to defer payment for services. Charge cards required that the balance be paid in full at regular intervals, but did not
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