Each Monday, I profile a person or company doing something cool online to promote themselves. If that’s you or someone you know, contact me. I love new ideas in internet marketing!

Maybe it was the television commercials with all the beautiful but also competent business owners or the fact that I’m completely fed up with my bank but I finally activated my American Express business card this weekend.

In straightening things out for my new accountant, I wanted to set up some recurring business charges and create a business only Paypal account on this new card.

I originally got this card because of the benefits (Cash back? Points for things I need? Cool!) but I realize my decision was made because of some subtle (or maybe not so subtle) things American Express has done to brand this whole Open concept.

In a difficult economic climate, be something positive.
It’s probably pretty difficult to be a financial institution, especially in this economy. How does a credit card company not look evil? Being a champion of small business!

Sure, the warm fuzzy commercials help but actually setting up an online community of resources for small businesses shows Open’s mission isn’t all talk.

I’ve seem Open Forum articles on social media sites.
I follow a ton of people on Twitter and Facebook so it can be hard to remember where I got a link from. I can say that I’ve read several Open Forum articles recently and I definitely read this article about social media by Ben Parr, editor at Mashable. By featuring useful content (and allowing members to be creating at least some of this content), the Open Forum isn’t a place online for small business owners to hang out and complain but instead a place to learn and collaborate.

Setting up a profile as a user gives me ownership in the Open Forum community.
I am now on the Open Forum website as www.openforum.com/breakingeven. I have the chance to not only create a directory listing for myself but look for people who offer complimentary services or introduce myself to people who may need my services. I can tag my profile as well so if someone is looking for something I offer, I’ll come up in the search. And being that this is a closed community (most people have Open cards), I feel somehow the people I may contact are more legitimate than other websites since we’ve all had credit checks and own actual businesses.

Open Forum has articles and videos about useful topics. It kind of made me want to hang out on the site!



Open partnered with Make Mine A Million to support women business owners.
Know an organization that has contact information for your target demographic? Partner with them and offer a contest whose prize is funding for a successful businesses to grow. Open partnering with SCORE and Make Mine A Million not only gets to make a difference for one small business person (and all the good publicity that comes with giving a deserving person money) but Open also gets to be in on MMM’s email list, which I’ve subscribed to for almost a year.

When I saw an advertisement for Open this summer (when I finally decided to get it), I was admittedly a lot more receptive to it having known Open in this positive context.

They have excellent customer support.
On the website, I was able to figure out how to set up alerts for myself (five days before my bill is due and when it is available for viewing online). Also, there is a clearly printed phone number on the card. I called once and didn’t wait on hold at all. The woman I spoke was very pleasant and even small talked with me about Maine while she looked up information for me. It is not often you can have a pleasant time calling customer service, so I thought that was definitely worth a mention. Good marketing doesn’t mean just promises but being able to deliver!

And with all this value, I have a lot easier time paying an annual fee.
I am paying a $97 annual fee for my card. Normally, this would be a total dealbreaker in getting a credit card. But with the access to information and other services I feel I am getting, I don’t mind paying. (In comparison, my bank is charging me $5 a month for my business account and is offering me no services whatsoever. Hmph.)

So hats off to Open for not looking like a ginormous evil credit card company. And just think, if they can look good online, so can you!