Bolder Thinking Blog

American Express Canada “Stands tall for small”

August 4th, 2020 | Rachael Warren

American Express Canada boosted small business visibility, offering customers a way to feel connected to their community despite social distancing.

American Express is putting support for small business at the forefront by tying economic recovery to its “Shop Small” campaign.

In a good example of social awareness, American Express is tweaking the message surrounding its “Shop Small” campaigns to frame up economic recovery following COVID-19. The company stressed that customers can make the most of the ability to earn 10x their regular points on purchases in their area, and reached out to small businesses with a separate email campaign explaining its Shop Small capabilities.

Importantly, transactions came at no cost to small businesses that chose to participate in the promotion. American Express provided both digital advertising materials and in-store signage.

American Express pivoted its message to focus on support and community building, using crisis management to create a sense of urgency. 

At approximately 300k per pulse, American Express sent multiple emails outlining how to earn back.

Business owners were informed about “toolkit services” to help with set up, whereas customers were directed to American Express’s small business live map.

What’s next? 

Capitalizing on existing marketing shouldn’t feel inauthentic and purposeless. American Express’ “new” message strategy? Smart and fluid.

Shop Small” promotions already worked in the service of creating customer engagement. Retooling the messaging to benefit both small business owners and consumers, as well as tailoring incentives to push for purchase, points to American Express’s interest in communities and profit. This is especially true considering that American Express re-used its marketing tactics — again, these promotions were not new ideas debuting in response to COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Likewise, companies looking to rework campaigns in the aftermath should aim to innovate on their brand voice. A fluid message can better tap into where consumers are in the moment, which bolsters read rates and makes good on calls-to-action. Consumers want ways to feel uplifted despite staying at home, and purchasing is a possible outlet.

Rachael Warren

Rachael Warren

Rachael Warren is an Insights Analyst at Comperemedia, responsible for building custom and syndicated reports analyzing marketing strategy across media channels in the financial services and other industries.