In this guest post, American Express VP of brands and experiences, Naysla Edwards (pictured below), looks at research that has found our work and private lives are increasingly becoming intertwined. And what that means for canny Aussie marketeers…
Sometimes the most significant changes are the ones we barely notice, as they slowly but surely shift over time. One such change has been the growing interconnectivity between our work and personal lives. Today, people’s lives are becoming more blended than ever before. This phenomenon can’t be overlooked by marketers trying to speak to customers in a way that’s authentic and relevant.
At American Express, it hasn’t escaped our attention that people are using greater freedom to work on their terms. The rise of the gig economy and use of independent contractors has seen the number of Australians working part time increase 14 per cent since 2011. ABN data also reveals a surge in the number of registered Australian businesses, which has been attributed to people’s “side hustles” such as driving for Uber. Today’s society of digital nomads are increasingly delivering on demands without setting foot in an office.
Even for those working full time, blending is the new norm. In our research this year, we discovered that 57 per cent of people globally view their work and personal lives as integrated. Rather than rocking the boat of work/life balance, the majority see this as a positive change. Two-thirds of people say integration allows them to achieve more and almost 70 per cent say it helps them spend more time with family and friends.
This is a challenge for brands that want to reach this audience. It’s outdated to categorise by “consumer” or “businessperson” the lines are much more blurred.
Meeting customers where they are
This hybrid lifestyle and mindset has inspired American Express’ new global brand platform and marketing campaign, which specifically speaks to this blended customer and meets them in the places where life and business intersect.
We’ve called it: “Powerful backing: Don’t live life/Don’t do business without it.” Launched locally on 6 May, it demonstrates to our customers that we’ve got their back in home or work life and all the moments in between. As a company that’s built its legacy on the relationships we have with our customers, the cornerstone of the campaign is a demonstration of our commitment to helping our customers live their best lives.
This integrated approach is a business first for American Express, but we’re in a strong position to lead the charge on hybrid marketing. While people have known us as a consumer brand, around half of our business comes from enterprises large and small from new startups and entrepreneurial endeavours, to businesses that are growing and thriving, to Fortune 500 companies.
Finding the sweet spot
The challenge for us was to find a way to demonstrate that we’ve got our customers’ backs when their lives are so difficult to ‘compartmentalise,’ so we looked at the commonalities that drive them.
For us it came down to a mindset, which we’ve coined “People Going Places with Purpose.” These people are not defined by a traditional set of demographics, but rather value experiences more than any that have gone before them.
One of the shared experiences uniting Australians at every stage of their lives is music and for more than three decades, American Express has helped millions of customers discover and experience the magic of music so it was an authentic territory for us to play in.
As part of our new campaign we are launching The American Express Music Backers Program, an initiative that commits $1m in value to support Australian music business, venues, artists and fans over the next 12 months to help ensure the industry thrives for many years to come.
A blended opportunity
Marketing to a hybrid audience might seem a minefield – how do you remain relevant and personalised when your audience is so fragmented? The answer is really quite simple: strip away the categories and the labels and focus on supporting people, their passions and the life moments that matter to them.
That’s when you can demonstrate you’ve really got their back.