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AMEX chief marketing officer talks branding

Entrepreneurship , Entrepreneurship Society , Featured Events Marketing | Apr 07, 2011 |

John Hayes, chief marketing officer of American Express, drew more than 120 students to the Flom Auditorium for a discussion of branding in today’s highly competitive market. He encouraged students to think of branding as a concept that applies not only to companies, but also to individuals — such as themselves. Below is a recap of the event written by Gabelli sophomore Julia Pineda.

Brand Building

john hayes american expressHayes began with the four principles he focuses on while building the AMEX brand. First, hold on to your values. Second, be in the service of others. Third, recognize the importance of making a difference. Last, do not forget to laugh. These principles helped Hayes create more than 200 successful AMEX campaigns, including ones for the Members Project, AMEX Open, and the highly coveted Centurion Black Card.

Business Reinvention

Hayes opined that “the world we live in is in the midst of a revolution” – technological, economical, societal, and political. Because that implies rapid change, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zones and be prepared to do things differently. Being flexible is key: Hayes said that “of the top 100 companies in the year 1900, only eight of them remained in the year 2000.”

Reinvention is what allows us to keep up with fast-paced developments. AMEX itself is a model of this: It started out in the freight forwarding industry, moved into the travel industry, and slowly reinvented itself over 108 years of existence to become the strong credit card brand it is today.

Consumer Relationships

john hayes american expressPeople lie at the core of every business. Without consumer support and solid consumer relationships, a business will fail. These relationships are fundamental to the effectiveness of marketing.

To develop strong customer relationships, Hayes said, trust is fundamental — especially in the financial industry, in which businesses handle clients’ money and personal data.

Students’ received Hayes’s talk with enthusiasm, making it one of the highlights of the semester. The event was organized by the Gabelli School of Business in cooperation with the Fordham Entrepreneurship Society.

—Julia Pineda, GSB 2013

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