Randy Schultz to teach at CUNA Marketing School in October

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Randy Schultz to teach at CUNA Marketing School in October

Randy Schultz, our VP Marketing, will teach at CUNA Marketing & Business Development Certification Schools, October 15th-19th in Las Vegas.

CUNA (Credit Union National Association) Marketing & Business Development Certification Schools is a comprehensive, dynamic program that’s ideal for a range of expertise levels – both for those with little experience in credit union marketing and business development, and those who simply wish to strengthen their command of the basics. 

CUNA Marketing Management School and the Business Development track from CUNA FUSE are being combined into this new certification school. This event brings together two certification schools at one location to maximize your learning and networking potential. All you need to do is decide which track you prefer to start with – marketing or business development. And once you complete the designation associated with your track, you can continue onto the next one. You do not need to take one before the other.

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing

Who should attend: Both schools are beneficial for credit union marketing and business development professionals looking to build and grow their skills.

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Retail traffic down? Not in these stores.

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Retail traffic down? Not in these stores.

Suffering from branch traffic being down and you own a plethora of teller line stanchion posts and belts that you don’t need any more? Well, I just may have identified a market for you to offload some of your inventory.

Retail traffic is not down at marijuana retail outlets in states like Colorado, Washington and Oregon where it’s now legal. In fact, lines are out the doors and lobby management is in full swing. This may be one of the only retail categories that is immune to internet sales, at least in the foreseeable future.

These budding retail entrepreneurs are deploying standard retail merchandising and messaging elements featuring product knowledge displays, community outreach walls, cross-selling and even loyalty programs. And, of course, lots of brand identity.

I know all of this because I’ve visited a few stores in Seattle to fully understand this new retail phenomenon. And if you’re wondering, I did not inhale (but the stores do have a distinct pungent odor as you might expect).

In a year where we learn almost daily that another retailer is closing stores or filing for bankruptcy, this new retail category is a bright spot on the horizon for the survival of brick & mortar selling. And I’m not just blowing smoke.

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A look inside the mind of the infamous “Millennial”

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A look inside the mind of the infamous “Millennial”

I’m new here. And I’m a millennial.

So, naturally, on my first day at Weber I observed a Millennial panel that focused around financial habits and banking preferences. Well I have an Alaska Airlines credit card (I’m a travel points hoard) and 401K, but that's where my knowledge around financials starts and ends. I couldn't tell you any details of my 401K, aside from the fact that I received the head nod of approval from my financial advisory (my father); I figure I’m doing pretty good for myself. It was really interesting for me to sit through this panel and watch a group of my new coworkers and peers asked questions about how they bank, if they can balance a checkbook, and whether they know it's important to start saving for retirement and not just their next trip to Cabo - because I could relate to every single one.

Last month, Weber Marketing Group taught the CUES School of Strategic Marketing for managers and executives from credit unions across the country to come and learn about best practices, hear stories from other credit union’s successes and leverage current trends in the financial industry. Weber wanted to kick off the courses for the week by bringing in a target audience that many financial institutions struggle to find the right message to resonate with. We are talking about millennials, of course! Weber put some of their best and brightest millennials in the hot seat and asked the questions credit unions across the board have been itching to get answered. The panel was asked a lot of questions about their knowledge of financials and, aside from working in the financial industry and being immersed in banking jargon on a daily basis, the reasoning behind why each individual banks the way they do was surprising to many of the attendees.

How do you successfully get in front of our cohort and spark interest in your brand?

Convenience is key. Millennials we want to be able to manage their money as easily as they can tweet or post a status. That being said, apps like Venmo have become a widely adopted platform among our panel members for sending and receiving money. It’s simple – and there’s Emojis – what’s not to love? Creating an account is seamless if you have a Facebook profile and a debit card or checking account. Also, having a single banking app that enables us to budget, transfer, and manage our money with ease is a big draw. The more a financial institution can consolidate all of our needs into a single platform, the more likely it is to pique our interest.

As millennials we’ve been told we have the attention span of a goldfish. That’s 8 seconds. You can thank apps like Vine and Snapchat for that. You have 8 seconds to gain our attention before we move on to something new and swipe you from our memory.

Okay what were we talking about? …right. Attention spans. Or lack thereof.

There is plenty of accessible information about all things financial, but not enough that is easy to digest. Trying to find the right way to communicate with millennials and keep our attention can often be frustrating for marketers in any industry. The typical way to get our attention is by offering free pizza and beer. While we do love that, we also love enjoying it in the privacy of our own Netflix cave. To the surprise of the attendees, many of the panel members would forgo the big groups and awkward small talk you have to endure when attending MeetUps or seminars and instead prefer snackable size content, like short videos or On-Demand webinars, that we can scroll through on our own time. Millennials are serial skimmers. It’s important to make messages short and sweet. We won’t read through the long emails filled with financial terms that are sent to us. Even if “IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ” is plastered across the subject line, at best you will only get a quick skimm. You are much more likely to get important information to us via text (you have our numbers!). Just make sure to stick to the point and highlight key details that you don’t want us to miss.

Most millennials have been with their bank of choice for many years. Part of that decision is pure laziness but, from the words of our panelists, it was often out of loyalty. Whether it was getting set up at a bank their parents have been with for years or from a credit union rep that came into their elementary classroom to talk about putting their piggy bank money into a savings account, many felt like they owed it to their financial institution to stay. For some, their bank helped them set up their first accounts, build their credit, get their first car loan, and even helped them take out their first mortgage. Those “firsts” created a bonded between them and their financial institution that they are not willing to break simply for a few extra dollars or a fraction of a percentage point increase on their interest rate.

However, the other portion of millennials (the “lazy” ones…including myself) have no real attachment to their current bank, but the thought of making the change is overwhelming and seems like more time and headache than it’s worth. Having to track down what bills are getting auto pulled from what account and having to update all of these key services makes us shut the idea down quick. If credit unions were able to make the process quick and painless, they have a much better chance of getting our business. Especially if you can add the cherry on top by showing us that your company stands for something meaningful. Millennials want to support brands that are local and attached to important causes. They want to walk into a branch (the few times they ever will…) and feel like they are being welcomed as part of a family/community. From the vibrance of the branch environment to the warmness of the tellers that greet them – that experience in and of itself makes the trip worthwhile.

When asked about brand loyalty, the answers were consistent across the board. Millennials have been given a bad rap for being cheap penny pinchers and are killing all these industries through our consumer habits. What the panel taught its audience was that many of us value brands that make our busy lives easier – even if that means spending a few extra dollars. In order to make us stay, a brand needs to cater to our world. It’s no secret that millennials crave convenience. Give us the ability to shop mobile and we’ll love you that much more. A new thought that emerged was how so much of our loyalty to a brand comes from our perception of that brands loyalty to us. Our panel agreed that we value brands that are authentic. If a company is able to engage with us and offer products of quality that fit our needs, we feel cared for. We want to support businesses that talk with us and not at us. We want to be part of the conversation and be heard. Businesses that make us make us feel good – brands that are involved in the community, supportive of charitable causes, and that want the best for their customers. We want our financial institution to be like a good friend.

Want to get our business? Pique our interest, give us helpful tidbits, make the transition seamless, and give us a reason to want to be a part of your community!

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The Tiny Concert Movement Finds a Home at Weber

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The Tiny Concert Movement Finds a Home at Weber

Kathy, our Production Manager, was up for our Creative Team's Friday Share last week. The team has recently been doing different topics around the theme of Music. In a fully immersive presentation entitled "Is it LIVE or is it Memorex?" Kathy showed (not just told) why live music is far richer and more complete than the listening with earbuds.

Om nom nom. 

Om nom nom. 

Kathy rejected the notion that high quality audio performance is the key to an elevated music experience. A full sensory experience, including the sense of community, is much better - even if that means that the music itself is not receiving your full attention, or that some nuance is lost because of the environment. 

To support her thesis, Kathy recreated an outdoor concert for us right here in our office.

The ping pong table became a picnic table. The floor became our lawn (she provided packets of cut grass for authenticity of scent - no I'm not making that up).

Sure, there’s the music. It’s there…but there are also conversations. Maybe crickets. Maybe a breeze in the leaves.
The sound of fair rides and squeals. At the zoo, some random wild animal calls.
This may bug you, earbuds person.  
Sad for you.
— Kathy Karner, Champion of Friday Shares

There was watermelon and sparkling wine and an apricot curry situation to spread on croissants. 

What I'm saying is: this was a nice way to start a Friday morning. A girl could get used to this. 

And then the strings showed up. 

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Kathy had enlisted her high school son Sam and his friend Maddy to come perform a cello duet for our office while we picnicked. Except there are not, as they told us, any appropriate cello duets. And so they arranged one themselves for us. 

"You kids get off my lawn!" said nobody. 

"You kids get off my lawn!" said nobody. 

So we listened, and we looked around, smiling at each other in disbelief at the lovely treat we were enjoying together. The windows were open, the breeze was refreshing, and nobody minded for a minute that it the comps on the wall were blown upside down. The traffic noises that inject themselves into our conference calls at the worst possible times seemed now to play along - a honk hitting just perfectly in between stanzas. We forgot what time it was, and were certain that we would be late to our next meeting, but it was just us internally planning and that could wait a few minutes longer. This was special.

Sam and Maddy indulged us in two encores. They might have wanted to get on with their day (some sort of bribe for coming to mom's office has been arranged), but we were a captivated audience. 

By the end of Kathy's share, there was no question in the room that she was right. Listening to music live with a community around you, absorbing the sounds plus the tastes and smells and all the other sensations, is the really whole package. It's certainly more memorable, and more relaxing, and makes for a better carousel of photos. 

Enjoy:

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Working For Want & Wanting To Work

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Working For Want & Wanting To Work

Before I ever had a job, I worked in a cubicle.

When I was 15 I started to volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Association, a non-profit that focuses on the care and support of those impacted by brain dementia. A few times a week during my summer vacations, I worked with the Events Team to organize the biggest fundraiser of the year, The Walk To End Alzheimer’s.

Although I was managing paperwork, engaging with clients, and dealing with partners just like everyone else in the office, I was unpaid. To a lot of my peers, this seemed incredibly unusual. While I watched my friends play outdoors in the sun by the beach, I threw on my business casual attire and sat through traffic to go to work…for free.

Promise Garden Flowers spin in the wind to showcase support for those with Alzheimer's.

Promise Garden Flowers spin in the wind to showcase support for those with Alzheimer's.

I can’t deny that there were some days where I was longing to be like the average teen, basking in three months without responsibilities. But now that I look back, I don’t regret a minute of it. I kept going because it was the most rewarding thing that I had done all of my life.

My dad passed away due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease when I was 16. He was just 49 years old. I spent my early teenage years acting as a caretaker for him alongside my mom and older brother as his brain deteriorated.  I have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s that will stay true my whole life. Watching my dad fall ill gave me a pain in my heart that words can’t describe. I used volunteer service to channel my grief into something productive. The work that I did made me feel like I was honoring my dad. I wanted to do my part to make sure that no one else would have to go through what my family went through.

While these emotional benefits were what kept me moving, something that I didn’t realize until I entered the paid workforce was how my experience volunteering would impact my work life. My volunteerism changed the way that I looked at “work”.

I came into the office not because I had to but instead because I wanted to. I genuinely enjoyed working. When I volunteered, it couldn’t be about the paycheck or the promotion; it was instead about the passion behind the work. My experience working for want trained me to want to work. Working gave me goals and aspirations, challenging me to learn and grow. It left me feeling accomplished and rewarded. What mattered most was that I enjoyed what I was doing and that it made me enthusiastic.

The most valuable thing that you can donate is your time. There will always be a way to get involved in something interesting regardless of how much experience you have with the topic at hand. Even if you only have minimal time to give, the gain from that engagement is multifaceted. Giving to your community will give back to you by building your knowledge and wisdom, helping you to succeed not only in your personal life but also in the workplace.

Now, at 19, I am still volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association. Although I’m instead spending my summer vacation interning at Weber Marketing Group, I’m not choosing between paid and unpaid work. Instead, I’m letting each embrace the other.

I am now part of the Board of Directors for The Washington State and Northern Idaho Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  The knowledge that I’ve gained here at Weber Marketing has helped me with my contribution as a director. I’m able to engage in conversations regarding target audience and help brainstorm around web advertising issues. When I walk into board meetings, I feel exponentially more confident with my knowledge from this internship under my belt.

Volunteering does not only aid your energy in the office but also your coworkers’ energy. Ambition is contagious.

Alternatively, I am able to apply this sense of dedicated passion to my duties at Weber. Even though I am simply an intern, I put my all into the things I do. I want to dive into every project headfirst. Instead of dreading work, I find myself excited to engage and energized enough to work efficiently and effectively every day. One of the great things about this office is that I know that it isn’t just me.

Even a simple search of the blog posts on Weber Marketing’s webpage shows the company’s value of the intersection between working and living. There are numerous blogs written by employees about culture showcased online. With mentions of animal shelter activism, sports passions, charity challenges, donation collections and more, it is obvious how much Weber Marketing values the happiness and involvement of their workers.

In turn, this culture can be felt in the office. This respect for extracurricular activities helps build a sense of community and activates a positive feedback loop. Volunteering does not only aid your energy in the office but also your coworkers’ energy. Ambition is contagious. This morale spreads as employees help to support the causes their coworkers are spirited about. The result of all of this support is increased company loyalty and a feeling of office unity.

Evidently, there is a shift toward a positive office atmosphere when you involve yourself in extracurricular activity. Getting involved in things you are passionate about can build both personal and work life satisfaction. My experiences with both the Alzheimer’s Association and Weber Marketing have helped me apply this concept and generate a feeling of fulfillment when working.

As I move from cubicle to cubicle (or hopefully from cubicle to a grand office with a view) throughout my career, I will carry this sensation with me. I will always be an advocate for volunteerism. Work life happiness and success is multiplied when you expose yourself to new things and hold a willingness to learn. Extracurricular activities are an easy way to give yourself this benefit and also better your community. Why not get involved?

Shameless plug: Start getting involved today! Click here to visit my fundraising page for the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” All donations are greatly appreciated.

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Broadcasting a Deep Connection

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Broadcasting a Deep Connection

Weber Marketing Group and the Rabobank team collaborated closely on both strategy and execution for this campaign, including the choice to use broadcast television as the flagship for the fully integrated campaign.

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Focus 2021: Strategies for building a high-performance branch network

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Focus 2021: Strategies for building a high-performance branch network

To request a copy of "focus 2021: strategies for building a high-performance branch network," please complete the form below.

This financial industry position paper will show you how to transform your market and branch performance in 5 steps. Learn how to leverage big data, psychographic segmentation, market scoring and user experience design to optimize results in 2021. How do you balance future digital investments against "smart" brick and mortar choices?  Request a copy now.

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Tomato, Tomato

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Tomato, Tomato

Millennials aren’t always so different.

When I moved to Seattle in 2012, the craft beer scene was well established, but in the years since, it has really boomed. Small breweries have popped up all over town. They open shop around the corner from competitors. They cram into spaces so small, you couldn’t park a car in them. But, on any random weekend afternoon, they’re all busy—really busy. We’re talking lines out the door.

It seems like every new brewery is a big success. I mean, people like beer. And in a densely populated city, one that’s growing by 1000+ people every week, each new brewery immediately becomes a new neighborhood hot spot. Maybe one day Seattle will get oversaturated with craft beer, but it doesn’t seem likely anytime soon. Back to beer in a minute.

I recently read a Business Insider article in which the author presents the idea that Millennials, as a generation, are “psychologically scarred” by their experience having come of age during The Great Recession. And, that because of their experience, Millennials have unique consumer preferences that sometimes have severely negative impacts on well-established American companies and industries. You’ve probably heard it all before. But what caught my attention was that the author comes to the conclusion that Millennials aren’t responsible for their industry-killing ways, but that it’s actually their Baby Boomer parents who created the conditions they grew out of.

The Business Insider article focuses on the question, why do Millennials kill established businesses? To me that question is less about intent and more about outcome. Do Millennials and their unique consumer habits kill established business? Yes. Do they do it on purpose? Of course not. The onus really falls on the businesses themselves.

Like a lot of Millennials, I grew up in a suburb. My parents did, too. And also like a lot of Millennials, I moved to a city for work after college. It’s a trend that’s been written about quite a bit around the country: Millennials moving back into cities that previous generations left for suburbs. But, just like the generations before us, we care about convenience and community, too.

We frequent the businesses that make themselves a part of our lives. Businesses that open up on the streets we take to work or the restaurants around the corner from where we live— exactly like the small local breweries I mentioned earlier.

With every new brewery opening, or other small business for that matter, a neighborhood gets new life. Neighbors get a more local option. And people from outside your community come to visit to see what it’s got going on. Resulting in more businesses setting up shop. And more people moving in.

In my mind, Millennials aren’t industry-killers. We’re industry-definers. Our selective consumer habits define how businesses should adapt in order to remain successful and appealing.

In the same way that big box stores and chain dining followed the generations before us out of cities and into strip malls, the successful companies and small businesses of today must adapt to serve a growing generation of urbanites. 


Jake Cann, Copywriter Weber Marketing Group

Jake Cann, Copywriter

Weber Marketing Group

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CUES and John Mathes talk Effective Branding Principles

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CUES and John Mathes talk Effective Branding Principles

I was interviewed by CUES in their ongoing CUES Podcast series. In my episode, James Lenz and I talk about identifying your return on marketing objectives, defining exactly what is a brand, and explore the driving forces behind branding, including target audience segmentation. The episode is a great precursor to the CUES Strategic School of Marketing. I hope you’re attending if you’ve never been… and it’s not too late to sign up for this year’s school. Click HERE to find out more about it.

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Pen Air Credit Union respects their past by honoring their future.

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Pen Air Credit Union respects their past by honoring their future.

Regaining control: Helping a thinly stretched credit union reign in and firmly define its identity

When a credit union needs to step outside the boundaries of its historically rooted name to reach new markets where it is not known, how can it still maintain its brand personality, history and sense of local community?

For Northwest Florida’s oldest credit union, Pen Air Federal Credit Union, founded in 1936, this was the struggle they faced in 2014. Despite a 2011 rebranding and new corporate identity (with a four jet logo), the $1.2 billion financial institution was losing members and loan growth was stagnant. But the biggest challenge of all was overcoming the confusing community perceptions of who or what Pen Air was all about.

Stu Ramsey, Pen Air Federal Credit Union CEO, said, “Pen Air was financially successful when I got here and was known in the community, but we weren’t very consistent in our brand, or what our volunteerism looked like. When I talked to staff about who we were, I’d get 350 different answers. There was no clear message for who we were, or where we were going. And when the people in your communities aren’t even aware they can join your credit union, you’ve got a problem.” 

Pam Hatt, Pen Air Federal Credit Union Director of Marketing, said “I talked with Stu about recent ideas I had learned of doing a complete organization-wide ‘transformational rebrand.’ When we looked at our advertising and messaging, we realized there was no personality and no true identity. We were trying to be all things to all people.”

Searching for a strategic branding partner

For Pen Air’s Hatt, their brand selection process started with looking for a skilled partner in the major journey they knew awaited them. Hatt said, “There were many reasons why we selected Weber Marketing Group, even though they were 2,000 miles away in Seattle. In addition to an extensive selection process, we wanted a partner, not a vendor, that had well-documented, successful experience and big results partnering with larger financial institutions. We had learned the hard way a new logo and a ‘look and feel’ did not help our growth challenges. We needed someone to take a hard look at our challenges, our confusing market image: and connect the dots with research, staff  engagement, robust brand and cultural processes, and really be a true partner on this journey.” Pen Air hired Weber Marketing in hopes of reviving its dwindling brand.

Focusing in on the right target

With a diverse target market in the surrounding Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL communities, Pen Air was struggling to define exactly who they wanted to reach through their marketing efforts that would be attracted to a credit union.

The steady loss of members and brand confusion was outweighing the need to simply appeal to a younger millennial audience. With a dated military style logo and little expression of any brand personality or internal culture, Pen Air desperately needed to find their focus ahead.

We were trying to be all things to all people.
— Pam Hatt, Director of Marketing, Pen Air FCU

What's in a name?

The first focus of the rebrand discovery process included a combination of quantitative and qualitative market research to uncover their name and brand equity both internally and externally. Weber Marketing engaged the entire staff through internal focus groups and stakeholder surveys to first to uncover perceptions, attitudes and feelings towards Pen Air’s brand, culture, operations and member experiences. Secondly, the Weber team helped identify which brand differences should be evolved to the next level. Following internal research, Weber then partnered with Goldman Consulting & Strategy to determine the credit union’s external market brand and name equity – and challenges, including the organization’s name awareness and reputation.

The research provided valuable feedback on the confusing perceptions of Pen Air’s military focus, which had shifted years earlier to a community charter. Yet this caused even more confusion for who could join. Ramsey noted, “Our heart & soul were rooted in the military and yet only 10% of our membership fit that demographic. People saw our jet fighter logo and assumed you either had to be military, or had to work for an airline.”

Research revealed that the Pen Air name held positive historical significance and positive impact on local communities. Yet, most local residents were totally unaware of their eligibility for membership. By combining the internal and external research and building a new brand strategy for the future, Weber Marketing determined that a new brand with the existing name would help build upon this rich history. But the Pen Air logo with four flying jets tested poorly among all audiences and needed serious modernization to avoid market confusion.

Establishing brand focus and clarity from the inside out

Internally, the Pen Air brand had no focus, brand promise or cohesive storytelling for staff  to rally behind. “We knew no matter what we did on the outside, it wasn’t going to be successful on the inside without a strong brand culture.” said Ramsey.

Following the brand workshops, sta surveys and focus groups, the focus became to define a new brand promise, personality and a set of brand actions that everyone could rally around. “During the whole process, a word kept coming up. We were hearing it from everyone inside and outside the organization. With the Weber team’s guidance, “Respect” became the foundation of our brand essence,” said Hatt.

The brand essence was then fused into a new internal brand promise: ‘We Promise to Respect and Value the Trust You Place in Us.’ Weber Marketing then built a brand identity, personality and key themes that would resonate with the newly defined target audience and be something the Pen Air staff  could proudly share.

It wasn’t going to be successful on the inside without a strong brand culture.
— Stu Ramsey, CEO, Pen Air FCU
A colorful, eye-catching billboard speaks to Pen Air's focus on doing what's best for their members.

A colorful, eye-catching billboard speaks to Pen Air's focus on doing what's best for their members.

A brand wall prominently features Pen Air's brand promise in all branches.

A brand wall prominently features Pen Air's brand promise in all branches.

Aligning the missing pieces 

In order to facilitate growth and promote increased member loyalty, Weber Marketing helped align all aspects of the new credit union brand around an immersive member experience that could be implemented across all channels and messaging. This platform was tightly integrated into a revamped mission, core values, and vision.

A new logo was designed to better reflect the diverse, but tightly connected markets around Pen Air. The new logo pays a natural, yet mild tribute to the history and heritage connection to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, while becoming more contemporary. For those in the community, it defines Pen Air’s “shared circle of commitment.” Everyone helping each other, out of trust and respect to make good happen in other people’s lives, both internally and externally. The different colors of the logo pay homage to the diversity of families, ethnic cultures and communities throughout the Pensacola area.

From an innovative brand experience to a new brand essence, Weber Marketing was reconstructing a bold new identity for Pen Air, helping differentiate the credit union from the competition from top to bottom. The credit union was slowly beginning to find its unique personality and reclaim its unique position in the market. 

Logo Before

Logo Before

Logo After

Logo After

"Blending out"

An organizational mantra of ‘Blending Out’ became the new counter-cultural status quo for the credit union. This meant creating bold and distinctive new marketing materials and bringing the credit union’s new identity and personality, as well as transforming internally through staff  interactions with members and each other. It meant living out boldly and publicly their commitment to improve the community around them. 

The new brand is focused on the importance of living out the four pillars of the credit union through their brand actions:

  1. Serve First: Members and our co- workers come first, plain and simple.
  2. Solution Seekers: We value innovation and creativity.
  3. Communerosity: Generosity and a sense of community are two qualities we value highly and why together they become our volunteer rallying cry of Communerosity!
  4. ProKnows: We are dependable, honest, professional and knowledgeable. 

Out of these pillars, one in particular stood out to be more deeply embraced as a true distinctive action: Communerosity.

Pen Air's TV spots showcase their values with authentic moments featuring real members from the Pensacola community.

When credit union values and community collide

What is Communerosity? Pen Air created the idea out of a desire to serve its community with a bold heart of generosity. The idea had existed within the organization for quite some time but just needed to be named. It was coined by a Pen Air employee during an employee ‘brandstorming’ session. Hatt, the driving force behind the program, began to see “a huge employee groundswell in the Communerosity arena following the rebrand. Our team has really bought into this idea and everyone has been jumping on board,” she said, “we are seeing positive cultural momentum in the right direction.”

Following the launch of the program, the credit union saw sta volunteer activity increase in the community by 78%. The reflection of their values and actions in the community solidified the importance of firmly defined principles guiding the foundation of respect on which the newly articulated brand was built.

And with this renewed focus, the new brand was almost ready to launch to market. There was only one hurdle to overcome. How does everyone — 350 staff, the leadership team, and volunteers — get on board with living out the new brand?

We invite them to Brand Camp! 

Camp isn't just for kids

The Pen Air staff  was engaged in a full-day brand learning workshop led by Weber Marketing Group to learn how to live
the brand with consistent actions and behaviors at work, with members, and out in the community with confidence and consistency.

It’s not often people have a special story to answer the question ‘Why join our credit union?’ When you can connect a relevant story to the “why” question, you’ve gained a true and lasting competitive advantage.

“Brand Camp is much more than a brand reveal party to show o your new look and feel, said Randy Schultz, VP Marketing at Weber, “It’s the first time many employees are seeing the new logo, colors, website. But more importantly, they are learning new skills and behaviors to better interact consistently with members and each other with shared key messages, fresh ideas, rich storytelling and renewed passion.”

As part of a team building brand exercise, the staff  built 50 kids bicycles together. Their surprise later that day was that it wasn’t just an exercise: 50 kids rushed in from the local Boys and Girls Club for a group photo with Pen Air staff  as they presented the bikes to the kids live.

“Needless to say, there were a lot of joyful tears as they realized they got to be part of a real experience of Communerosity,” Hatt stated. Almost a year later our staff  still talk about that day. It’s such a great example now when people ask them ‘Why should I join Pen Air?”

“I can’t reiterate enough how you want to time this brand rollout and not just rush through the process,” said Ramsey. “We knew it would be important not just for our staff  to go through the Brand Camp training, but give their own input as to how we were going to live it, communicate it, and what we were going to do everyday for our members and our internal employees to experience our brand.”

Staff present bikes they hand built to kids from the local Boys and Girls Club.

Staff present bikes they hand built to kids from the local Boys and Girls Club.

Creating new brand experiences

Once the staff  was ready to live out the new Pen Air brand, the next step was rolling the brand consistently across an outdated and widespread 15-branch network. Weber Marketing created a unique and distinctive branch merchandising system and new digital technology displays to communicate the new brand values, messaging and product solutions, while totally differentiating the new Pen Air brand experience.

Weber designed a bold new Community Wall to actively engage members in sharing what they think would make their local community a better place to live. This direct member feedback gives Pen Air authentic examples of how they are affecting their members’ lives and their communities positively. The cards also o en give members a chance to voice what they think the credit union could do better.

Hatt said, “We have learned through this process that our members are really our best brand storytellers. The community wall ensures their voices are heard and acted on.”

The proof is in the numbers

Following several years of stagnant market growth, the results and bottom line impact of this enterprise-wide brand transformation at Pen Air has been staggering across the board. In the first year following the brand rollout, the impacts of the brand investment have led to the most dramatic growth in the credit union’s history:

  • 22.30% growth in total loans
  • 20.00% increase in Mortgage & HELOC loans
  • 27.48% increase in Consumer Loans
  • 11%+ growth in mobile banking, eStatements, and bill pay users
  • 0.83% growth in new membership • 3.19% increase in overall assets

With a goal to attract a tech-savvy and younger millennial target, Pen Air’s Social Media Initiative was born and communicated so that staff  and member involvement in the community did not go unnoticed. In addition to the new branding and a robust responsive website upgrade, the social program helped grab the attention of many: Google Analytics results showed a 100%+ increase in web traffic a year a er the brand launch.

What comes next?

Every aspect of the Pen Air brand was transformed and integrated culturally and operationally in order to live the mantra of “standing out,” not blending in. This was vital to fully reshape community perceptions of who Pen Air is, what they stand for amidst a sea of aggressive financial competitors, and why people should join.

The Pen Air rebranding successes and huge results did not go unnoticed in the financial and advertising industry either. Pen Air received four Addy Awards including Brand Story, Brand Web Ads, :30 Auto TV spot and Brand Integrated Campaign. The brand program also earned national attention earning four CUNA Diamond Awards and four MAC Awards.

“The management team learned the initiative was about much more than their brand identity, website or a new logo. This transformational brand process revitalized the Pen Air business model enterprise- wide, as any viable strategic branding initiative should,” Schultz added. “Creating transformation that drives bottom-line results is a journey of continuous improvement. And this first wave looks incredibly promising.” 

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2017 MAC Awards

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2017 MAC Awards

We're honored and excited to announce that eight of our clients won MAC Awards in 2017.

The MAC Awards recognize outstanding marketing, branding and business development achievements in the credit union industry. 

The Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC) recognized the award winners at their annual marketing conference held May 30th-June 2nd in Austin, Texas.

The following Weber Marketing Group clients received MAC Awards:

  • Allegacy Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Ardent Credit Union in Philadelphia, PA
  • Ent Credit Union in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Firefly Credit Union in Burnsville, MN
  • Fortera Credit Union in Clarksville, TN
  • Leaders Credit Union in Jackson, TN
  • OnPoint Community Credit Union in Portland, OR
  • San Mateo Credit Union in Redwood City, CA

For more information on the MAC Awards or to view the entire list of winners, click here.

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MAC Conference Breakout Session: Turning Staff Into Brand Champions

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MAC Conference Breakout Session: Turning Staff Into Brand Champions

The 2017 MAC Conference is coming up on May 30th in Austin, Texas.

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing at Weber Marketing Group, and Dr. Neil Goldman, of Goldman Consulting & Strategy, lead an invaluable breakout session on how to turn your staff into brand champions.


Date: Thursday, June 1st
Time: 1:15pm, and again at 2:30pm
Location: The Westin Austin Downtown

Marketers speak to their brand every day, and many of those discussions are held internally as they talk social media strategies, product marketing and more. The roadblock is that most staff members don’t know:

  1. What their brand is all about
  2. Their role in the credit union's brand
  3. The organization's expectations of a differentiated experience that staff should be practicing on an everyday basis to separate you from the financial clutter. 

This interactive program pulls in the marketers themselves to talk about their pain points and success stories along with giving them practical tools they can take back to their organization to help turn their staff into Brand Champions.

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing, Weber Marketing Group

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing, Weber Marketing Group

Dr. Neil Goldman, GCS Consulting & Strategy

Dr. Neil Goldman, GCS Consulting & Strategy


Don't miss this session and everything else the MAC Conference has to offer.

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Three tactics to best utilize data and behavioral analytics

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Three tactics to best utilize data and behavioral analytics

Financial services organizations have access to some of the richest data and behavioral analytics around.

They know how people bank, borrow, save, transact and live their financial lives. But most organizations have limited ideas about how to harness that data, build strategies around it and use it to shape future performance. 

Thus more than ever, it pays to focus on this truth: Data and analytics generated by the customer provide a valuable blueprint for how to engage that customer in the future.

While creating a highly personalized digital experience occupies the minds of all financial services leaders, data analytics and application to drive performance can prove a game changer. Investing in data analytics technology, warehousing or marketing automation only mark the first steps. Banks also need the right people, processes and strategy to move data from interesting side notes to true business intelligence, strategy and profit-driving execution.

Most banks have data collection and storage systems, but often not linked. Many banks fail to cultivate specific ideas or strategies to collect what they want from the data—and determine how it can reshape customer experiences and performance. As the customer landscape continues to shift amid a digital and mobile revolution, banks must figure out how to use data to define growth strategies, create easier and simpler consumer engagement and ultimately grow wallet and market share.

Quantity, quality, strategy

Future growth with a demanding consumer audience depends on innovation, with enhanced customer experiences driving Net Promoter Scores and healthy referrals. Financial leaders need to use their data to identify their ideal existing target audience behaviors and patterns. This not only leads to better customer retention: It helps the organization grow.

Learning how to capture, cultivate and utilize the right data can help organizations marry qualitative knowledge and quantitative insights. This approach provides a wealth of data and opens the door for informed decisions, market analysis and modeling to create bold new growth strategies. 

Providers, privacy, products

Many insurance providers have made major strides with data analytics. They use algorithms to identify web-shopping patterns and build innovative models such as online policy price comparisons—while traditional banking providers have lagged in their use of data modeling. Because financial services organizations gather sensitive and confidential data, part of the challenge rests with addressing internal concerns over the balance of online privacy with delivering more innovative services.

That fear does not hold back a barrage of new online disruptive FinTech players—such as Acorns, Simple and Venmo—from creating rich new apps to make banking, payments, saving and investing simpler and more engaging.

One growing digital success story comes from Citigroup. As one of the world’s largest financial services organizations, Citigroup has adopted a robust, data-driven approach to provide simpler banking services and to grow market share. The company uses model testing to deconstruct its customer data analytics and to better understand how to engage with customers.

Financial services organizations can use analytics to mine their data and find new insights, which can reduce process complexity, improve customer channel experiences and bolster product performance strategies by reaching customers at the exact moment of need.

Here, then, are three tactics for making the best use of data:

1. Evaluate patterns, trends and triggers

Financial services organizations should focus on customers’ preferences, needs and behaviors to facilitate the organization’s growth. But first, determine what these are. Collect data and analyze trends using a strategic process to define customer behaviors and channel usage to help build future predictive models.

Organized data provides vital insights to sets of patterns, trends and triggers that define the customers’ choices and where the organization has succeeded (or failed) at responding to those moments. This can help define future digital actions and growth strategies.

2. Strategize your growth rise

This should start with identifying the most committed, productive and profitable customers. While financial services leaders know that not all customer relationships are equal in value, few can quantify which customer segments fall into the ideal 10 or 20 percent of users by product, profit generation and recency—and then find those segments in the general population to grow more of them. 

Conducting client and market analysis based on rich psychographic and lifestyle segmentation adds incredible value to data and market analytics. Lifestyle segmentation allows you to focus on laser targeting strategies well beyond basic demographics or vague clusters such as Millennials. By geocoding customer household data and tying it to market financial analytics and big data, we can now understand behaviors and market share, as well as forecast growth and predict performance trends.

When organizations can pinpoint future targeted growth segments and market performance, the profitability of each, and their growth in market population, they can better understand their market and how to best reach customers to optimize growth. Then it’s time to utilize behavioral data to identify patterns of actions for targeting.

3. Prioritize through models

By ranking and weighting specific tailored growth criteria, financial services leaders can build customized market algorithms that model future priorities. This can help pinpoint underperforming locations and future growth markets, increasing performance as a result. By leveraging data analytics, forecasting and market scoring, banks can model growth strategies out five years to target the most lucrative real estate opportunities. 

As for the present, financial services organizations sit on a wealth of data analytics and information, but do they use it to its fullest potential?

Start with the right process of defining growth plans, profitable products, distinctive brand experiences and value proposition. Then build the right data model and long-range growth strategy and performance model that will set the organization up for success. After all, nothing beats crunching the data that results from a stellar uptick in performance.

Original article published May 9, 2017 on BAI Banking Strategies.


Mark Weber, Founder & CEO, Weber Marketing Group

Mark Weber, Founder & CEO, Weber Marketing Group

Mark Weber is a marketing analyst, brand strategy consultant, and financial services industry expert. He advises clients on strategic brand and growth initiatives. He is a national speaker and author, and blogs on branding, branch prototyping, emerging technologies, and consumer behavior trends. Read more.

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Forum Breakout Session: Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics to Achieve Strategic Brand Alignment

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Forum Breakout Session: Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics to Achieve Strategic Brand Alignment

The 2017 financial brand forum in Las Vegas is the biggest financial marketing conference in the world.

Weber Marketing CEO, Mark Weber, and Firefly Credit Union CMO, Marty Kelly, lead an invaluable breakout session on leveraging data analytics to achieve strategic brand alignment.

Date: Thursday, May 18th
Time: 9:30am, and again at 11:00am
Location: The Cosmopolitan 

In a dynamically shifting world, it’s critical that your institution’s overarching strategic plan align everything together — your growth goals, the evolution of your retail delivery channels, your internal culture and your external brand experiences. If you’re not using the power of data analytics to drive these decisions and tie your strategy together, you’re behind the curve.

In this session, you’ll learn how leading financial institutions are leveraging insights gleaned through data analytics to achieve strategic clarity and improve their marketing ROI.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How data-driven insights will help you build alignment among key stakeholders for your institution’s strategic plan and future vision
  • How to leverage data analytics to align your brand strategy with business objectives, redefine your customer experience, and create a clear roadmap for future technology and branch plans
  • How to integrate psychographic modeling, lifestyle segmentation and heat map scoring into your marketing and growth plans
  • How a $1 billion financial institution uses data to bring renewed focus to their corporate growth initiatives
Martin Kelly, SVP/CMO, Firefly Credit Union

Martin Kelly, SVP/CMO, Firefly Credit Union

Mark Weber, CEO & Founder, Weber Marketing Group

Mark Weber, CEO & Founder, Weber Marketing Group


Don't miss this breakout session from the brightest minds in banking. To learn more and to register for the Financial Brand Forum, click here.

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