American Express OPEN Forum

Challenge

How do you become a shining light for millions of small businesses – and equip them to lead the economic recovery? In the best of times, business owners see themselves as a breed apart. When times are tough, they turn to one another as a trusted source of news, connections and exposure. How do we make Amex the place where this happens?

Approach

We talked with scores of business owners and observed them in group settings with other owners. We had them map their social networks and identify their influencers. One thing quickly became evident. There’s a hierarchy of credibility – and owners are at the top. Owners trust other owners. They want to do business with each other. They respect each other. They exchange business cards at the end of a focus group session. They listen avidly to what other owners are doing to manage through rough times, and they share their own stories. But they don’t want to come off as desperate or needy. They need a way of getting help without being seen as having to ask for it.

Owners Look to Other Owners.

Owners connecting with other owners – that was the need in its simplest form. 

Outcome

American Express OPEN Forum: Unleashing the Power of Owners Helping Owners.


Just six weeks after relaunch, OPENForum.com became a go‐to destination for business owners. Unique visitors, page views and Idea Hub traffic all more than tripled year‐over‐year. Online Visibility and PR Coverage Helped OPEN Forum Reach Over 36 Million People. The new OPEN Forum drew significant PR coverage, increasing visibility in outlets such as BrandWeek, Baltimore Sun, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc and Mediapost.

Our work won the 2010 Jay Chiat Award for Strategic Excellence Bronze Award in the category “idea for new product or new content.”

(with Crispin Porter + Bogusky)