#9 American Express
Despite American Express dropping one place to number nine this year, the company continues its lead as the number one financial services brand. This year, the company’s BrandPower score reached its highest level since the 2009 financial crisis. The company has made a significant shift, shredding its once-exclusive “members only” image and embracing a brand positioning that lends itself to being more inclusive and accessible to the mainstream. Its landmark holiday “Small Business Saturday” turned five this past year. Since launch, American Express has spent millions of dollars promoting the initiative – and helped to generate billions of dollars of revenue for thousands of retailers across the country, in a perfect example of how investing in customer engagement can drive business results. The company is also going after a whole new demographic, through a partnership announced this year with Walmart, AmEx launched a new product called BlueBird. Aimed at the “new middle class,” it offers a prepaid card as an alternative for consumers who don’t have a savings or checking account.