news archive


Welcome to Weber Marketing Group’s archive of articles and insights on the topics of branding, branch design, culture building, and the financial industry.

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Uber's marketing took me to goal line, but then they fumbled the ball.

A few weeks back I got hit up with an attractive promotional offer from Uber. It arrived via email and for the most part I tend to read stuff I get from them. And why not? I’m a fan. Or at least I thought I was.

I’ve used Uber fairly often over the last 3 or 4 years, particularly on the west coast and in Seattle where the company I work for is based.  I’ve even been a bit of a brand ambassador, championing their merits along the way. So the other day when their offer arrived at a very opportunistic time (how do they know?), I was ready to pounce.

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Weber Marketing Group leaders showcased at the Financial Brand Forum in May

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Weber Marketing Group leaders showcased at the Financial Brand Forum in May

Hosted by The Financial BrandThe Financial Brand Forum helps the world's top financial marketers and senior leaders tackle their biggest branding, marketing, technology and retail challenges.  Weber Marketing's senior leaders and principals Josh Streufert and Karen McGaughey will both speak on building game changing brand strategies, distinctive identities and cultures that shape results and increase performance.

Weber Marketing Group will also be co-sponsoring the Espresso Cafe in the main lobby of the Forum conference area with free lattes and espresso each morning of the 2-day conference. Stop by and meet the Weber Marketing team.

Up first on Monday, May 16th, Weber Marketing's Creative Director Josh Streufert leads a hands-on 3-hour pre-conference workshop filled with strategies, unique approaches, case studies and brand experience insights into building a powerful brand identity. The take-home Brand Identity Workshop manual alone is worth the price of admission.

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How a simple bottle of water can drive brand loyalty.

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How a simple bottle of water can drive brand loyalty.

I’ve traveled my entire career. A lot. Over the decades I have directed my loyalty and patronage to a handful of travel partners. It makes sense, right? If I’m going to slog across the country, I’m going to focus on the reward and status opportunities available and achieve the highest levels that I can earn. Spreading my spending across multiple providers and not climbing the loyalty hierarchy just doesn’t make sense.

The rewards can be substantial. My family has benefited multiple times, utilizing free airline tickets, resort accommodations, rental cars and the like. Of course, one would argue that for a guy who travels all the time, is more travel really a reward? I’ll let you decide that for yourself, but for me, having a happy family is the real reward.

Occasionally I have to break my one-source loyalty focus when it comes to hotel rooms. I belong to almost a dozen programs, but like most seasoned travelers, it comes down to one or two… again to concentrate and accumulate as much benefit as possible. I always try to book with Marriott or Hilton. Both offer a wide range of brands, locations and consistency. Familiarity helps to dull the pain of being on the road, particularly in an unfamiliar location.

Historically, I’ve always looked for Marriott hotels first. I started with them and have had an admitted bias toward them over Hilton. When I couldn’t find a Marriott brand hotel to fit my parameters, I then looked to Hilton. My loyalty to Marriott was fairly fierce.

That loyalty has now shifted. And the reason is a cold bottle of water that probably costs around 50 cents. As you may know, if you are at a certain status level with Hilton, they will give you a bottle of water or two when you check in. As you may also know, local water in various parts of the country doesn’t taste very well. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s different than what you are accustomed to and it can be downright awful in taste. And don’t get me started on the quality of the ice in the machines down the hall or on another floor. It can all get a little nasty.

I used to get pretty dehydrated in a hotel because I would curb my consumption. Sure, I realize that I could hit the vending machine for a bottle, but who carries dollar bills any more? Besides, once I enter a room and the door swings closed, I loathe to leave it and traipse down the hall or to another floor looking for the vending machine.

Hilton must have conducted primary research with their road warrior guests and discovered the same thing. So there’s the real lesson in all of this, you’ve got to speak to your members, customers or clients and find out how you are doing. And listen for the little things. The devil is in the detail and detail matters. My peers must have spoken up and told Hilton that they were drying up in their rooms and boy wouldn’t a long cold fresh drink of water make a difference. Hilton listened.

Are you listening? Are you asking? Those of us in the branding and marketing world tend to focus on the big shifts while orchestrating the perfect brand engagement.

After my repeated exposure to this simple act of providing water, I finally realized what a difference Hilton was making in my experience and satisfaction with such a small gesture, solving my issue and earning my loyalty.

All with a bottle of water. Brilliant.

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How Relatable is Your Brand?

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How Relatable is Your Brand?

The first short opens. A blonde 20-something working at her quintessential office desk is interrupted with a heap of folders dropped onto her desk. She stares at the colossus with despair in her eyes: “Is this it? Is this all there is? Spreadsheets and paperwork. I’m gonna die some day, and I’ll be sitting here just wasting away at this…..job.” 

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John Mathes To Speak At Two Credit Union Conferences in Puerto Rico

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John Mathes To Speak At Two Credit Union Conferences in Puerto Rico

John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy at Weber Marketing Group, is leading sessions at two credit union conferences in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February.

John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy

John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy

Drive Awareness & Profit With Effective Branch Messaging

Thursday, February 18th, 9:05-10:05am at the Business Development & Marketing Conference

Learn how effective messaging in today's branch can shape behaviors and lead to retention, increased share of wallet and brand advocacy. Your branch network represents a unique message distribution channel where you control the placement, the creative, the timing and the success measurement of your marketing program. You would be hard pressed to efficiently control these variables in any other advertising medium.

We'll explore:

  • Effective message placement hierarchy and strategy
  • Finding the balance of digital, paper-based, semi-permanent and environmental messages
  • Creating more compelling messaging and storytelling
  • Best practices in digital interactivity and deployment
  • Goal setting for results

Transform Your Branches From Transaction Centers Into A Productive New Business Model

Friday, February 19th, 10:30-11:30am at the Maximizing Your Credit Union's Earnings Conference

The bullet train of new technologies from mobile, to tablet, to remote, to payment systems seems to be overwhelming the role or need for branches. So why are large numbers of people still coming into credit union branches?

Determining the future role of branches at your credit union should engage a broad section of your team to identify critical emerging trends to optimize square feet, increase profitable product selling and create a unique and powerful brand experience that sets your credit union completely apart.

In this session, you'll see firsthand what some of the most innovative, effective and technologically savvy branch environments are discovering about consumer behavior and increasing bottom line results.

Learn how you can take your organization to the next level by integrating your online, digital, mobile and brick-and-mortar channels behind a unique value proposition and aligned brand.

It's not too late to register for both conferences. 

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Blending Technology with Physical Spaces

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Blending Technology with Physical Spaces

Amazon recently opened its first retail brick and mortar store in Seattle's University Village. Our retail team took a short road trip to check it out.

I realized right away how ironic it was to be walking into in a physical store belonging to the largest online store in North America. Why would a company that started selling books online, wiping out retail bookstores, decide to open its own retail bookstore? I’m sure Amazon has many answers, but it comes down to touch points with their brand.

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Amazon, like many of our financial services clients, wants to be part of your everyday life and have different brand touch points. A retail space delivers a unique brand experience that online purchasing cannot deliver. Designing the user interface (UI) of the future involves designing a branch of the future. The UI of the future should bridge both technology and physical spaces. 

Glancing around the store, customers can quickly see the "book eye candy" because all the books are cover facing. Whoever said to never judge a book by its cover has not done book sales research. A nicely designed cover will sell more books. Amazon also only stocks books in their store that are best sellers, highly reviewed or hot and new.

None of the books in the store have prices on them. Finding out the price involves bridging amazon.com directly into the store. You can either use your amazon.com mobile app, or check the price from a store kiosk which displays the price on the amazon.com website.

The ability to physically see, touch, pick up and open the books helps you understand why not everyone reads from a Kindle or has fully embraced e-books. If we all felt we needed only e-books, no one would make physical books. Physical books still outsell digital books and, in fact, physical book sales are trending upward. Amazon has probably recognized that in order to sell more books they need to have to have more access touch points, and that's exactly what they're doing with their retail store. 

I'm sure Amazon's retail strategy will be just as aggressive as their online strategy. The trick for them will be finding the perfect blend of technology and retail space. They will either turn their retail brand experience into a gem like their existing website, Fire TV and Amazon Echo, or it will flop like the defunct Amazon Fire Phone. My bet is on another gem for Amazon.

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Branch Transformation: Inspiration, Impact and Dynamic Storytelling

Weber Marketing Group's Josh Streufert is leading a session on branch transformation with Ameriana Bank's CEO Jerry Gassen and EVP Deborah Robinson at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference in Las Vegas on October 13th.


Branch Transformation - Inspiration, Impact and Dynamic Storytelling
Tuesday, October 13th, 3:00-3:45 PM

The role of the branch is changing in light of new customer preferences and the onslaught of digital and more self-directed banking. But, what opportunities become possible when customers and staff are inspired? How can a branch use technology to promote a more human experience? In this session, you’ll hear the story of how one organization turned a flagship branch into a branded retail experience that uses technology and dynamic storytelling to inspire the community.

  • How a branch facility can inspire staff and customers alike
  • Integrating social media into the branch experience
  • How dynamic storytelling can foster a strong brand experience

It's not too late to register for the financial industry's premier conference for powerful tools and actionable insights. View the full conference agenda here.

Josh Streufert, Creative Director, Weber Marketing Group

Josh Streufert, Creative Director, Weber Marketing Group

Jerry Gassen, CEO, Ameriana Bank

Jerry Gassen, CEO, Ameriana Bank

Deborah Robinson, Executive Vice President, Ameriana Bank

Deborah Robinson, Executive Vice President, Ameriana Bank

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The Holy Grail of Data Analytics?

A guest post from our partner Jay Kassing at MARQUIS.


Jay Kassing, President, MARQUIS

Jay Kassing, President, MARQUIS

It has been rumored for years. Some have even claimed they had one, only to disappoint. Certainly someone will bring this mysterious beast to the market...right? It has to happen.

For the sake of every well-intentioned marketing officer in financial services – please confirm you have seen the Yeti of Data Analytics, an automated MCIF with a fulfillment engine!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...er...there is such technology.

This is the Holy Grail. This is what “Big Data” promises to deliver, but for a fraction of the cost.

An automated MCIF analytics tool, with an equally automated direct marketing fulfillment engine, is the answer for every bank and credit union not named Chase, B of A, Navy Federal, et al...

Why? Does any marketer care enough about data analytics these days in the face of such concepts like social media and other “the future is now” technologies? They should.

Here is why it matters. And you can ask Google and Amazon and every other big retailer why they rely on data so much. Data and client behaviors are predictive. If you know who does what, why and when, then you can leverage this intelligence to sell stuff by making effective offers to clients and prospects. Lacking hard data, we all simply trust our gut. Or maybe we simply copy the next guy...

So, how is analytics done now and why does it need to be fixed? Today, collecting, analyzing and taking action on data is not only time consuming, but it requires intelligent human interaction and decision-making. What if this process could be completely automated?

Before: Marketers must invest their time and expertise and action to have success. If you have a classic MCIF analytics tool your life looks like this each month. Find the account data offered up by your I/T staff for importing to the MCIF out on the network. Import said data (hoping that all of the fields sync properly...otherwise, all bets are off), validate the import, and run monthly reports. Analyze these reports to discern valuable intelligence and potential action items or marketing events. Filter the database to create a mailing list. Create a “marketing campaign” within the software. Send the list to a printer. Design or approve creative. Send direct mail to a pre-defined list. Wait 30-60 days to check the results of your campaign.

After: With an automated MCIF, marketers do nothing – the system does it all for them. Your data is automatically updated for you, daily. Reports are run automatically, pre-defined behavioral triggers and predictive tools automatically select clients and prospects who qualify for specific mailings daily, and each is mailed/emailed an offer the next day. All of this happens automatically, every day. Hands-free marketing. Marketers no longer have to feed the beast – the technology works for them, automatically, in the background, and yet is still available for additional sophisticated analytics.

Magic. Isn’t this magical? Finally technology has arrived that delivers what data analytics has always been expected to deliver; completely automated (soup to nuts) database analytics and action! As TV gadget-inventor-pitchman Ron Popiel might say... "set it, and forget it!”

It isn’t a rumor. It is reality.


Jay Kassing is President of MARQUIS, a Texas based provider of marketing analytics solutions including MCIF/CRM software, MCIF services, profitability, compliance, consulting and direct mail creative/fulfillment. Jay has written 4 books on Marketing/Sales and Big Data…and one on Fair Lending. Request a complimentary copy of any his books at GoMarquis.com. He can be reached at jayk@gomarquis.com.

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New Brand & 15 Branch Rollout for Pen Air

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New Brand & 15 Branch Rollout for Pen Air

Pen Air took an ordinary brand makeover and created a new organizational narrative based on trust, respect and 'communerosity'. Learn what an "inside-out" enterprise-wide cultural brand transformation looks like. How a top to bottom research-led process can transform your credit union brand experiences and culture for growth.

FOLLOW THIS LINK to download the article published on creditunions.com.

This article is the intellectual property of CALLAHAN & ASSOCIATES. No part may be reproduced, transmitted, distributed, published, or otherwise communicated, in printed form or electronically, without the express written permission of CALLAHAN & ASSOCIATES. 

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5 Things to Tackle First in Transforming Your Branch Model Performance

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5 Things to Tackle First in Transforming Your Branch Model Performance

If you’re like everyone else in retail banking, you’re probably trying to figure out how to keep your branches relevant and profitable in a traffic-declining environment. It might surprise you that some of the most important items to tackle in your branch evolution have nothing to do with architectural design. To get started, what you really need to do is define the optimal business model for your organization and your markets. There are many, many factors that will influence your model, but here are five candidates for you to consider as you begin your journey.

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