Learning to ‘Shop Small’ With American Express

For this installment of Marketing Masters, we had the privilege to sit down with the John Hayes, the Chief Marketing Officer of American Express and a longtime thought leader in media and advertising.

Last year, when Hayes was asked by MediaWeek about his biggest failure, he answered: “I had one dream: I wanted to be a radio personality. Maybe my failure was not following that dream.”

Well, today we’re happy to report that not only has John been a tremendous success, he’s also a radio personality!

He sat down with us for an audio interview where he weighed in on the power of the American Express collective, Small Business Saturday and helping to enable a movement to support small businesses.

Hayes has led marketing at American Express for over 17 years, overseeing media strategies and product development. He created campaigns like “My life. My card” and led teams that created over 200 new product launches.

But perhaps most remarkably, John has steered American Express through what has probably been fastest changing media landscape in its 161-year history. And he’s successfully translated its time-honored core values — trust, security and service — to consumers, small businesses and communities in ways that are more relevant than ever.

Clearly it’s working. BusinessWeek and Interbrand recently ranked American Express as the 23rd most valuable brand in the world, estimated to be worth nearly $15 billion. In March of this year, Fortune named American Express one of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the world.

In our discussion, Hayes spoke specifically about “Small Business Saturday,” the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This occasion was created at American Express to raise awareness about the critical role that small businesses play in our economy and the power of the American Express collective to help make it a success.

About John Hayes

John Hayes is Chief Marketing Officer of American Express which does business in over 120 countries. For the past 17 years, John has overseen American Express’s marketing efforts across all of the company’s business units worldwide.

In addition to overseeing marketing strategies and product development, John leads the company’s global marketing, market research and publishing organizations. He has been the force behind the business strategies that have resulted in iconic campaigns such as “My life. My card.” Additionally, under John’s leadership American Express has created over 200 new product launches, including the coveted Centurion black card, Blue and more recently ZYNC from American Express.

Giving back is a core value at American Express and the company is often credited as having launched the first cause-related marketing campaign in history. John has continued this tradition, helping to impact the lives of many through programs such as “Charge Against Hunger” providing food for the poor in America, “Save The Music” supporting music programs in underprivileged schools across the country, and most recently, “Members Project” which empowers the community of members in new ways to make a difference in the world in which we live.

In 2001, John brought American Express in as the Founding Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, created to revitalize and bring business and energy back to lower Manhattan after the events of September 11, 2001, and in 2006 he was one of the creators of the (RED) campaign, a revolutionary marketing effort to address the AIDS emergency in Africa.

John has been recognized for his contribution to business and the community on numerous occasions, most recently receiving the “2010 Corporate Marketing Executive of the Year” by the Delaney Report, “2009 Global Leadership Award” from the UJA of NY, honored with the “2007 Distinguished Citizenship Award” from the John A. Reisenbach Foundation and “2006 Marketer of the Year” by The Executive Council of New York. His work also received an Emmy Award in 2007 from the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences.

Prior to joining American Express, John was the President of Lowe and Partners, and held senior positions at Geer DuBois, Ammirati & Puris and Saatchi & Saatchi Compton.