American Express is relaunching an online resource and networking site for business owners.
OpenForum.com, which debuted in 2007, has been redesigned with a greater focus on forging "meaningful business connections" and providing practical, actionable information and insights from industry experts, celebrity entrepreneurs and top bloggers and news outlets.
In conjunction with the unveiling of the new OpenForum, American Express will launch a TV spot featuring actual entrepreneurs. The spot highlights the role that business owners play in their communities, society and the economy.
Nearly 60% of small business owners feel challenged in finding innovative ways to market their businesses yet only one in 10 is tapping opportunities in social networking, says Marcy Shinder, vice president of brand management for American Express Open, which is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. For many business owners, OpenForum represents their first foray into social media.
"The new OpenForum provides a one-of-a-kind community where business owners can equip themselves with the best information and resources available to build and grow resilient businesses, including opportunities to leverage social media," Shinder says. "OpenForum is more than just a networking site. It's an online resource that can help inform, promote and grow their business."
The refreshed site is designed with a greater focus on forging meaningful business connections, and providing practical, actionable information. A new tool on the site called Connectodex will help businesses market themselves and find vendors. The Connectodex's recommendation engine can help users find businesses with similar interests or in similar geographies, as well as connect with members that may offer complimentary services and expertise.
The site also will showcase best practices in entrepreneurship through new content from the Next New Networks and BigThink video series.
Another new section, Idea Hub, is a virtual trading post of insights between industry experts and other business owners. Idea Hub features original and exclusive articles and blog posts from Federated Media's business and social media thought leaders such as Guy Kawasaki (Alltop), Henry Blodget (The Business Insider), and Adam Ostrow (Mashable). An alliance between FedEx and American Express will bring small businesses "The World" Idea Hub topic area. Media partners of Idea Hub include BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Slate.com, and CondeNet/Wired.
American Express will add a section to the site later this summer called The Pulse, which will help business owners follow conversations on Twitter that are relevant to their business. Business owners can also receive the latest news from OpenForum by following @OpenForum on Twitter (twitter.com/openforum).