American Express is a global company that strives to constantly generate innovative solutions for its customers, to suit their financial and lifestyle needs.

In order to create the conditions for creativity, they have set up internal innovation labs: cross-disciplinary teams, resourced globally and based in London. The team was tasked with creating new products and services aimed at the point where online and offline behaviours, and the distinction between merchant and customer roles, converge.

From idea to prototype
The challenge was to help the lab progress quickly and efficiently from a long list of ideas to a working prototype in 3 months. We worked as part of the American Express team in their space, facilitating innovation sessions, creating decision-making tools, working up visual ideas rapidly, guiding consumer and merchant research, building support internally and helping coordinate the launch of a live product.

Together we took one idea forward to test on the market: a mobile app called LOCL that gives merchants a platform to send relevant messages directly to customers who are local to their shop or restaurant. We built the brand – including name, strategy and visual identity – for LOCL around the opportunity for a new tool that lets consumers hear directly from merchants.

One for now, more for later
We worked through 15 ideas, tested 6 with consumers and merchant, and kept 10 for the future pipeline.

LOCL was launched in the App Store in beta form in August 2012. It is the first tool in their global suite of products that puts marketing power directly in the merchants’ hands. It also takes American Express to a new, younger market: an audience who value utility over advertising, and information over credit.