Archives for posts with tag: financial management

American't Express itself.

And, no, that first word in the title there is not short an apostrophe; nor is it French. Why is American Express not forward-thinking in their ads and customer service? We all know they can afford to be. Yet after being a cardholder for 25 years, they have proven they don’t care about loyalty. In fact, they cannot even entertain such a concept, even how-to suggestions. Their worst traits became all the more frequent: outright refusing to listen, completely missing the boat on the ability to learn from their customers and the inflexibility of a spent rubber band. So, with the picture painted, and upon viewing these ads in the June/July Esquire, I wondered:

Q: Why couldn’t legal counsel and/or the marketing team — to talk up their ability to score their members great concert tickets (among other supposed perks of batting their cards around like hummingbirds or starlets with eyelash extensions) — strike up an agreement with some celebrities on tour THIS, NOT LAST summer or fall?
A: Slapping real or fictitious dates on illustrations of tickets (not even images of the tickets themselves) to concerts that took place in 2010 is easier, faster and cheaper. And much less original.

Take a look at either ticket.

Q: So, you mean the privilege of a card with a stiff annual fee only gets me general admission?
A: I guess the negotiations with Ticketmaster weren’t as successful as they’d have liked.

I have seen American Express get uppity with friends and family over the decades, so I guess it was only a matter of time. Alas, in an age when they so openly gloating about their quarterly profits and their customers as being almost exclusively mega-spenders, the fact that their image cannot keep up with their identity is ever more obvious. Maybe research said that braggadocio and “green” underwriters who talk and walk like they just “graduated” kindergarten are the quickest route to new customers. Given where I saw this ad and one of their reps at a public speaking engagement this Spring, that is my impression. AmEx is desperately trying to woo a younger audience but is not in touch with those generations. Three swipes and….amusing to watch this brand derailment. What I call ex-Membership Rewards.

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If only the name were as handsome…

The name of this company is more than meets the eye. True, it looks Greek. Could it be an obscure goddess? Nope. According to Aletheia, their name is ‘the classical Greek word for “truth and disclosure,” of bringing facts into the open.’ So, it is only fitting that “an independent, registered investment advisor dedicated to uncovering investment truth” dug deep for meaning. However, this name came to acquire different shades of that over time (and more than those dealing with truth and then disclosure), particularly in the early to mid-20th century, thanks to German philosopher, Heidegger.

Their ad here implies they are above taglines, but they have one, even if they don’t want to admit it: “Research and Management.” Meanwhile, online, and perhaps since that ad, they have migrated to “Research and Management, Inc.” The “Inc.” does not help them at all. In fact, it looks cheap and detracts from their specialty. A tagline helps you position yourselves in the minds of your audiences. Waving around the fact that you are incorporated adds no relevant value. Further puzzling is whether or not they even do any advertising anymore, as on their philosophy page, they supposedly subscribe to “an avoidance of…traditional information channels….”

While the name has great intention, it is dogged by the fact that most will not recognize the word as having anything meaningful to it. The name looks made up, with the goal being to secure a pristine .com, what with all the vowels. Long ago a more understood word, it is now arcane. As such, the company loses an opportunity in their tagline, by which they could have brought me more into their story. If they told me more about how they do research and management, how they outdo the competition in that area, well, then they’d be talking.

For more truth of the matter, see: http://www.ontology.co/aletheia.htm

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