American Express is a global company that strives to constantly generate innovative solutions for its customers, to suit their financial and lifestyle needs.
In order to create the conditions for creativity, they have set up internal innovation labs: cross disciplinary teams, resourced globally and based in London. The team that we worked with was tasked with creating new products/services aimed at the sweet spot where online and offline behaviours, and the distinction between merchant and customer roles, converge.
The challenge was to help the ‘lab’ progress quickly and efficiently from a long list of ideas to a working prototype in 3 months. We worked as part of the Amex team in their space: facilitating innovation sessions, creating ideation and decision-making tools, working up visual ideas rapidly and iteratively, guiding consumer and merchant research, building support internally and helping coordinate the launch of a real live product. Together we took one idea forward to create and test on the market: a mobile app called LOCL that gives merchants a platform to send relevant and engaging messages direct to customers who are local to their shop/restaurant. We built the brand - including name, strategy and visual identity - for LOCL around the opportunity for a new tool that lets consumers hear directly from merchants.
15 ideas worked through and visualised. 6 tested with consumers and merchants. 1 live in the world. And around 10 ideas for the future pipeline. LOCL was launched in the App Store in beta form in August 2012. It is the first tool in their global suite of products that puts marketing power directly in the merchants’ hands – a vital step to bolster their presence in the UK, giving merchants a tangible reason to believe Amex is on their side. It also an important step towards Amex increasing their consumer identity. LOCL – with its bold identity and instant gratification – takes Amex into the hands of a new, younger market: an audience who value utility over advertising, and information over credit.