American Express Puts the Work/Life Balance of Its Customers Front and Center

brought to you by WBR Insights

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is an important part of general wellbeing, and has been hitting headlines for some time now.

People today are living ever more blurred lives. The dividing lines between work life and home life are not as clearly defined as they once were, with many people working from home and carrying out domestic and professional duties alongside one another.

Far from decreasing productivity, people say they can actually achieve more in such situations, and American Express wanted a way to show that it understands these two aspects of their customers' life experiences with its new campaign.

"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 Chief Marketing Officer at American Express, Elizabeth Rutledge. "People are living rich, vibrant and layered lives and appreciate when someone has their back as they navigate this blended lifestyle."

The result is a reinvention of the American Express brand, and a new marketing effort and brand platform it's calling "Powerful Backing: Don't Do Business / Don't Live Life Without It."

B2B vs B2C

With the new campaign, American Express is looking to challenge the idea that the B2B and B2C arms of a company must be separate.

People don't want to have to separate everything out as they live their lives. They want to be able to move seamlessly between their business and personal lives, and they want product and service providers to enable them to do so. American Express wants to show that while it may primarily be thought of as a B2C brand, it's also there to help in its customers' work lives as well.

"While we have always been known as a relationship company, many people have considered us as only a consumer brand," said Rutledge. "Nearly 40 percent of our business comes from other businesses today, from start-ups and entrepreneurs, to mid-size businesses, to Fortune 500 companies. At its core, our brand platform reinforces the enduring relationships we have with our customers, who are incredibly multi-dimensional."


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The new campaign will stay true to American Express's reputation for security, trust, and great service, but will update and modernize many aspects of the brand, including the famous blue box logo.

The marketing efforts themselves will encompass many touchpoints, including mobile, social platforms, podcasts, connected-TV, and billboards, and are all designed to help American Express demonstrate it understands the changing nature of the customer experience and is willing to move with the times.

The campaigns show realistic customer experiences, such as a new father trying to do some work on his laptop while simultaneously keeping a new-born baby asleep on his chest. Another shows a dad away from home on a business trip in a video conference with his daughter, helping her with her math homework. He looks over at another businessman, who gives him a knowing smile and holds up a notepad showing that he's doing the same.

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The outdoor billboards, which also feature hand-drawn cards, have customers' faces at the center of every poster. These images and videos really hammer home the idea that customers and their experiences are at the heart of the American Express ethos. By showing it understands the way its customers live their lives, American Express positions itself as a company that's better able to serve them in the ways they need.

Final Thoughts

This is what people want from the brands they deal with these days. It's not just about the experiences the customer has when directly interacting with a company, but all the life experiences which lead them there. They want to feel brands care about their lives outside of those direct interactions and design their products and services with a holistic view of the customer experience.

"This is first and foremost a brand platform," said Rutledge. "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."

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