The Competition Between American Express and Chase Bank

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The competition for customers and their loyalty is a ceaseless process in every industry. Companies typically select their target audiences and tend to provide products and services specifically for them. Choosing a target audience based on generation is focused on a specific age group but with differences in terms of education, career, gender, and other characteristics. Companies have to be ready to develop strategies that would attract customers from different demographic groups to keep successfully operating.


When selecting a specific audience, a company has to consider that their interest in clients may need to change to keep increasing profit in the future. American Express (Amex) was founded as an express mail service in 1850 and is now one of the top brands in the world (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Amex has a history of successful business activities, such as founding a bank or leading to the creation of popular television channels (“Crafty credit card competitor”). However, recently Amex started experiencing a revenue plunge due to increased competition for the customers.

Amex’s revenue plunge is caused by few reasons, with the key problem revolving around the company’s product and target audience. In 1958 Amex decided to produce what was soon to become credit cards, focusing on Generation X (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Generation X is represented by those born in the years from 1965 to 1980 and who were the youngest working group when Amex started producing cards (Slootweg & Rowson, 2018). However, these days millennials, or Generation Y, are becoming more relevant as customers, and Amex is facing competition in the face of Chase Bank in providing credit cards to the younger audience (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Now, Amex has to decide how to attract millennials to use its credit cards and keep providing their products to Generation X, who has been their customer for years.

There are few issues related to Amex’s key problem in providing credit cards to a wider range of customers. Change of generations also causes a change in customer trends because each generation is unique and has different values and preferences that need to be addressed (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Since Amex is aging with its customers, it becomes harder for the company to keep up with the new market demands. Another issue is the company’s brand image designated for Generation X and thus not appealing to younger people (“Crafty credit card competitor”). To attract more customers from the younger generation and increase the company’s profit, Amex may need to change the way people perceive it.


An alternative solution for American Express could be shifting its focus to millennials and developing marketing strategies specified for them. However, such a solution would be rejected due to the brand’s image. Amex was founded in the XIX century and started producing credit cards in the XX century, and throughout all those years has attracted clients from the elite and older population (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Drastically focusing on another demographic group would displease the company’s clients who are used to a certain level of service. Moreover, a sudden change in the brand’s image would show millennials that it is inconsistent and does not value customers’ loyalty, whereas millennials tend to be more brand loyal (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Shifting from one group to another would not be perceived well by the clients.


In such a case, American Express’s solution may be combining its focus on both generations instead of choosing just one and losing the other. Amex could focus on its history and promote the brand as one for all generations, like a big family. In my experience, although young people tend to distinguish themselves from their families, they still pay attention to family values. Moreover, results of outside research show that Generation X tends to be more responsible, therefore showing that the company considers its clients as a family could appeal to their responsibility and increase loyalty (Slootweg & Rowson, 2018). Moreover, although millennials tend to postpone marriage and home purchases, they are concerned about their future, and the company’s image as a family could show the brand as steady and deserving of their loyalty (“Crafty credit card competitor”; Slootweg & Rowson, 2018). Amex could expand its focus on both generations and show the company’s inclusiveness.


To promote the brand to a wider range of clients, the company’s marketing managers would have to develop new marketing strategies. Marketing managers should focus on online marketing strategies because both Generations X and Y prefer online promotion services (Slootweg & Rowson, 2018). Moreover, in opposite to Chase Bank’s positioning of “not your father’s credit card”, Amex could campaign its products as, for example, “your family’s values” (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Amex could also produce cards with different designs depending on age group and provide family bonuses that would accumulate on the accounts of the family’s younger members to spend on travel purchases (“Crafty credit card competitor”). Amex should develop family-friendly campaigns and promote them using online platforms.


If a company focuses on one generation, there is a chance that a new generation will be more attractive as a client group. Concentrating on one generation as the main client group can cause losses in profit and decrease the company’s competitiveness. While each generation is unique, there are likely to be similarities between them that companies can and should address to keep increasing their profits.


Crafty credit card competitor “chases” Amex for share of Millennials’ wallets. (n.d.). [Case study text].

Slootweg, E., & Rowson, B. (2018). My generation: A review of marketing strategies on different age groups. Research in Hospitality Management, 8(2), 85-92.

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BusinessEssay. "The Competition Between American Express and Chase Bank." December 17, 2022.