Case 1. HSBC
Hong King and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) is one of the leaders in banking industry and is the second largest bank worldwide. It focuses on local markets and combines global banking platform with unique knowledge of local needs in every country. HSBC uses original approach in its advertising where it points out at cultural differences between business people from different countries. The company is positioned as “The World’s Local Bank”.
HSBC tailors its marketing and financial efforts to the local needs; e.g. in New York it ran free cabbie and diversity campaigns, and in Hong Kind the company provided financial assistance during crisis (delays of interest payments, rebates, etc.). HSBC also provides unique services such as pet insurance. In 2006, HSBC launched a marketing campaign focusing on different values and on what matters to people. HSBC is aimed at helping people around the world reach their goals and realize their values.
Case 2. American Express
American Express is a company providing global payment services. It evolved from a shipping and travel services company. American Express focused on linking its brand with security ad prestige. Charge cards and traveler cheques were the major products offered by the company. In the 1960s, the company experienced competitive pressure from MasterCard and Visa, and started pursuing its brand in a more active way. American Express emphasized the privileged status of the brand by customer service, advertising and organizing elite events.
The company further expanded during the 1980s, mostly due to acquisitions; American Express entered such spheres as insurance, brokerage and banking. However, the diverse nature of acquisitions and wide range of services appeared hard to consolidate, and in the 1990s many holdings were diverted. American Express chose to adhere to its key spheres of competency: credit and charge cards as well as traveler cheques. The company also expanded its coverage and re-branded the portfolio of services for small business.
In the beginning of 2000s, American Express developed a significant innovation: Blue credit card with microchip security protection and Centurion Black credit card with exclusive offers for elite clients. In 2004, the company won a suit and got permission to partner with any bank, which allowed increasing the number of cardholders by 43.3% during 4-year period.
The recession has dampened the financial position of American Express as well as the company’s stock. American Express started addressing a wider customer segment by offering rewards and developing new products. Overall, American Express was evaluated as 15th most valuable world brand.