Win a trip for two to Seattle

Win a trip for two to Seattle

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Visit the Weber Marketing Group booth
at the the Financial Brand Forum for your chance to win!

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Two round-trip tickets to Seattle.

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Two nights at a premium hotel.

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Facilitated Visioning Session.

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Guided tours of the Northwest’s most innovative spaces.

You and a co-worker will enjoy
guided tours of these innovative facilities.


And in a facilitated visioning session,
you’ll meet the Weber team of strategists as we explore
brand and digital strategies for your financial institution.

More about this giveaway:

Weber Marketing Group is offering Financial Brand Forum attendees a chance to win a trip for two financial executives to Seattle for a Facilitated Brand & Digital Innovation Session and an exclusive tour of some of the world's biggest brands.

Offer includes:

You’ll discover how the personalization of data builds bRand loyalty and profit. We’ll discuss:

  • The proven systematic approach to digital transformation.
  • Where to get started, and how to drive the digital transformation process forward.
  • How to define buyer personas and create a profitable segmentation strategy within your digital strategy.
  • How to identify and tackle customer pain points and relevant lifestyle triggers.
  • How to make the shift to a digital-first marketing strategy.
  • How to develop and implement a high-functioning content strategy.
  • How to generate digital, video, and social media marketing messages that are highly personalized, relevant and measurable.

How to enter:

  1. Stop by our booth at the Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas, May 7th-9th. You can find us at the Weber Espresso Stand located at the center of the exhibit hall.
  2. Answer a few simple survey questions on one of our iPads.
  3. That's it! 

We will announce the winner shortly after the conference.

And while you're at the Forum, don’t miss this breakout session

Strategic Leadership:
The Art and Science of Navigating Digital Transformation

Don't miss this invaluable breakout session on Tuesday, May 8th at the Financial Brand Forum with Karen McGaughey, VP Client Services & Principal, and Josh Streufert, Creative Director & Principal. Learn more here.

Retail Insights: Capital One's New "Café Concept" in South Lake Union


Retail Insights: Capital One's New "Café Concept" in South Lake Union

We work in a very urban neighborhood, South Lake Union, just a few blocks north of Downtown Seattle. The SLU area has been undergoing a significant makeover during the past 10 years - from an industrial warehouse no-man’s land to the land of the hip and cool, Uber-savvy and technology distracted individuals. It’s the land of Amazon!

This location is the 25th CapitalOne Café Concept in the nation. It opened on December 13th, 2017, after about a year of build-out. The day we stopped by, a large group was on site in the big conference room for planning and training for a new location, which will open in Bellevue in March of 2018.

Naturally, this has become heavily banked neighborhood, with three large national banks, a regional bank, and two credit unions within a three-block radius of our office. The new kid on the block – offering a remarkably different experience than its neighbors – is a Capital One location. We recently took some colleagues on a field trip to check out what makes this spot unique and a completely different strategy to branching.

The first thing you notice about Capital One's new branch has nothing to do with banking. It's a gleaming full-scale Peet's Coffee café occupying a portion of a beautifully designed and HUGE space (formerly a high-end rug showroom).  The brick facade carries into the interior of this two-storied location to combine old charm with new industrial, cozy tech.

Like nutmeg on your Peet's latte, this space has merely the lightest dusting of banking, so as not to overpower the experience. Each entrance has a pair of self-serve ITM machines in vestibules, but banking is hardly the focus here. The operative insight seems to be: people don't really like banking. Or at least not bank branches. Instead, they offer a space where banking is secondary to other, much cooler things – like great architecture and interior design, good coffee, community involvement, and art. 

The community is encouraged to use the space to work, meet, read and relax. The space offers a variety of areas for individuals and groups, including two large conference rooms which are exclusively available for non-profit organizations to reserve. On the day we visited, a front table was dedicated to DIY Valentine’s cards – made for your own use or to contribute to Mary's Place, emergency shelter for homeless families.

The first floor has round tables, a tech bar, and several semi-private nooks. Upstairs has an auditorium-style space with a stage and multi-screen presentation wall. Integration of technology throughout feels seamless from a distance, with a few operational bugs remaining up close. The overall design of this facility is genuinely impressive.

But is it effective for "moving the merchandise," so to speak? Do people really come here to become new Capital One customers? Do existing customers come in to sign up for additional products?

As we transitioned from the Peet's café section of the space, drinks in hand, we were greeted by a very friendly "Café Ambassador" who proudly sported a pair of red low-top Chuck Taylors. We posed our question to her: this space is stunning, but does it work?

She skillfully redirected this train of thought (their staffing and training programs are clearly dialed in). The point, she shared, is to give back to the community by offering a space and welcoming individuals and organizations into it. Our Ambassador did admit that – since Capital One is a 100% online bank – some people feel uncomfortable only interfacing with their bank online. When they come into a Capital One Café, they are guided through the process by a person – but they are still banking completely online. 

And that's the second operative insight underlying this retail strategy: as branch traffic has declined, the role of branches in the banking relationship has evolved. Consumers don't want to have to come into a branch for day-to-day transactions like depositing a check, but they still want to know they CAN. And they still want the comfort of knowing that a real-life person will walk them through whatever they need.

“Seattle now has a smaller share of offices sitting empty than San Francisco or Manhattan, the two most expensive commercial real-estate markets in the country,” according to Mike Rosenberg (@ByRoseberg), Seattle Times business reporter. Seattle commercial real estate is now more expensive than Chicago and Los Angeles, and business rents have recently increased 2.5 times faster than the national average. Full article here.

In the equation of this branch strategy, Capital One is rolling the cost of a regional network into one extraordinarily expensive piece of real estate: locating it in a hot spot, building it out with an emphasis on great design, quality finishes, technology meant to impress, and partnering with a regional coffee brand to generate foot traffic.

Suddenly, the branch’s competitive set includes co-working spaces like WeWork, not just big national banks, and “Third Places” like Starbucks, not just local credit unions. If every branch is an expression of the financial institution’s brand, Capital One is fully embracing that opportunity and making a Big Statement.

After our individual self-guided tours, our little away team regrouped to discuss our impressions, and how the Café Concept aligns with our own banking expectations:

Kory, Associate Creative Director

I appreciated the way the space retained the exterior and look of the prior building, and the use of materials and style in matching nicely with the urban feel of the neighborhood and its location.

My tween and teen daughters don’t understand how much more convenient online services like remote deposit capture are versus going into a branch to deposit a check, because they never had stopping by the bank as a part of their regular errands.

Bringing what consumers are now more familiar with as a virtual service – the Capital One credit card – into a physical presence is more like when Amazon opened its brick and mortar bookstores than when Chase opens a new high-end branch. It’s about offering a physical experience, which might be rarely used but have high emotional impact.

Joshua, Account Manager

It was a juxtaposition. The space and design of the café is really cool, modern and inviting – but I also felt a twinge of confusion. The banking aspects of the space weren’t well labeled and it took a bit of exploring to figure out where I would need to go to take care of my business. I like the self-service capabilities available, but it didn’t instill confidence for conducting more sophisticated banking, such as applying for loans. For me it felt too laissez-faire to discuss a home loan. Perhaps it was the layout of the space, the younger age of the staff, or the fact that this is just a new-to-me format. Overall, that feeling of confidence, trust, and experience wasn’t there for me.

Kathy, Production Manager

The atmosphere was warm, clean, open, airy, accessible, welcoming, tuned in, and innovative. As I spent a half hour there, sipped my latte, sampled the candied blueberries, noted the “make a valentine to be donated to a homeless charity” station, and plugged in my phone charger, my main takeaway was this: I immediately wanted to tell people about it, and that they should come here. Maybe not for the banking – but hey, “come for the vibe, stay for the banking!”

We also invited a special guest to participate in our conversation: Kathy's 19-year-old son, Sam. Because of the distinct business model, the "customer of the future" should get a chance to weigh in!

Sam, Student

Compared to my current experience at a large national bank, I felt slightly less tended-to by the staff, but I didn’t find myself missing it. I don’t know if I’d consider a full switch from my current bank, given the convenience of their ATMs throughout the world. I am, however, very interested in their credit offerings and potentially opening a line of credit at Capital One. The staff answered any questions I had and I appreciated their tech-forward business model. For me and people my age it makes a lot more sense having a solid and powerful banking app and online presence than going in and talking to a banker.

Downtown Seattle, and specifically South Lake Union, is the kind of place where a brand would want to make a Big Statement, and could perhaps justify the big investment to be here and to do something really category-breaking. But what about other neighborhoods that aren’t so “hot” but still have people who crave the reassurance that a real person is nearby and able to help. In other words, communities that credit unions serve across the country, who deserve branches that are relevant to their needs today and tomorrow.

Many financial institutions wrestle with what to do with their (often aging) branch networks, given the changing usage trends and industry-wide chatter of declining importance. At Weber Marketing Group, we know branches are still a vital channel to today’s omni-channel consumers. The question each credit union should be asking is: how do we shape our overall experience for the way our members want to bank today and into the future, and how can the branch environment better support that goal?

If Capital One’s Café Concept offers a lesson to other financial institutions, it is at least this: there is plenty of room for branches to break out of traditional expectations, and that difference can be delightful.

In any financial institutions's reimagining the branch experience of its future, we believe that exploring and openly considering retail models much different from the norm is a vital part of the process – along with robust data analytics, multidisciplinary collaboration, and, of course, the inclusion of industry-experienced partners.

So if you find yourself in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood – or if you are looking for a destination to inspire and prompt fresh thinking – you shouldn’t miss spending some quality time in this Capital One Café Concept. We’ll even meet you there for a cup of Peet’s coffee, sprinkled with just a hint of banking.

Co-authored by Charlotte Boutz-Connell, Director of Client Experience at Weber Marketing Group.


Strategic Leadership: The Art & Science of Navigating Digital Transformation


Strategic Leadership: The Art & Science of Navigating Digital Transformation

Don't miss this invaluable breakout session with Weber Marketing Group's Karen McGaughey, VP Client Services & Principal, and Josh Streufert, Creative Director & Principal, at the 2018 Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas.

Date: Tuesday, May 8th
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: The Cosmopolitan, Mont Royal Room

Success with any digital transformation initiative requires big cultural shifts and a total organizational commitment. That’s where the art of effective leadership and focus pays off. But it also takes the science of a solid data analytics foundation — insights rooted in customer behaviors, people’s preferences, shopping signals, channel usage patterns and product propensity models. In this session, learn how to fuse it all together into one tightly-aligned strategic plan for digital transformation.

What you'll learn:

  • A proven systematic approach to digital transformation
  • Where to get started, and how to drive the digital transformation process forward
  • How to define buyer personas and create a profitable segmentation strategy within your digital strategy
  • How to identify and tackle customer pain points and relevant lifestyle triggers
  • How to make the shift from traditional marketing channels and product campaigns to digital media
  • How to generate digital, video and social media marketing messages that are highly personalized, relevant and measurable
 Karen McGaughey, VP Client Services, Principal

Karen McGaughey, VP Client Services, Principal

 Josh Streufert, Creative Director, Principal

Josh Streufert, Creative Director, Principal

It's not too late to register for the biggest and fastest-growing conference for senior-level executives in banking. Learn more here.


Johnnie and Jane—the perfect match up or mess up? a 200 year old brand attempts to break through its iconic male image.


Johnnie and Jane—the perfect match up or mess up? a 200 year old brand attempts to break through its iconic male image.

Passion and purpose inspired Johnnie Walker, a scotch whiskey maker, to introduce “Jane Walker” to its product line—a symbol of its commitment to progress and gender equality. They further backed this talk with a promise to donate $1 to gender equality focused organizations.

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My initial reaction was “that’s pretty cool.” It’s an acknowledgment of women’s accomplishments, plus it’s an attempt to bring more balance to the gender scale (even if it’s just a scotch label). But then skepticism set in, I wondered what took Johnnie Walker so long and why now, after all it has been 200 years. Was it genuine? Or, was it simply a marketing opportunity seized during National Women’s History Month?

It didn’t take long until Johnnie Walker was under fire. Harsh criticism followed their Vice President Stephanie Jacoby’s statement, “Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women.” Critics riled against what they interpreted as superiority and patronizing words against all women. Granted, it was a poor choice of words and judgment too—especially by today’s standards. More than ever many women and men are standing together for gender equality. Social activism movements such as #MeToo signify solidarity and strength, and rejects intimidation and abuse imposed on women.

So, how did Johnnie Walker’s VP miss the mark by a mile? In an effort to honor and celebrate women they alienated the audience whose attention they wanted the most. Critical audience segmentation insights were totally absent and created a brand mess. The scotch whiskey maker would have succeeded had they truly understood their audience. How much can a company really know about its target audience if all they have is the audience gender, age, income and geographic location? Not much.

Demographic insights alone limit marketing and brand strategy. Utilizing existing customer data-informed further by lifestyle segmentation with multivariate analyses of consumer attitudes, values, behaviors, perceptions, beliefs and interests provides companies with the deepest and most relevant audience insights. A lifestyle segmentation strategy combined with defined key audience personas would have helped Johnnie Walker accomplish its goal of achieving greater resonance and appeal with not only female non-scotch drinkers, but with women scotch drinkers who currently choose other labels.  

Hats off to Johnnie Walker for the courage and risk they took to adapt and evolve its established brand. The lesson to be learned is not keenly understanding your target audience segments can hurt your brand.

Time will tell if Johnnie and Jane will ever become a perfect match up, right now it resembles more of a mess up.


7 Seconds to Impact: Building a Disruptive Brand for Growth and Profitability


7 Seconds to Impact: Building a Disruptive Brand for Growth and Profitability

Join Randy Schultz, our VP Marketing, for a Breakout Session at the 2018 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Conference in San Francisco.

7 Seconds to Impact: Building a Disruptive Brand for Growth and Profitability

Tuesday, March 13th at 1:15 p.m. and again at 2:45 p.m.

How do we reach the audiences we’re after the way they want to be reached versus how we think they should be reached? To build a journey-centric approach to a disruptive brand that also yields a roadmap to campaigns that blend out, you must look past identifying only channels. To be successful, your efforts should be channel-agnostic, integrating an array of internal processes. Yes, your CRM, HR, IT and marketing must all be involved.

In this fast-paced, interactive session, we'll take a look at  some successful disruptive brands & campaigns – and learn how to make yours one of them. We will challenge “the way it’s always been done.” If you’re looking for a fresh approach…you’ll find it here!  Breaking down departmental silos – why bother? The importance of buy-in & culture integration to your success. Brand Assessment vs Business Model Alignment – what’s the dif’? “How do I implement this at my credit union?”

Learn more and register for the conference here.


The Personalization of Data Builds Brand Loyalty and Profit


The Personalization of Data Builds Brand Loyalty and Profit

Being all things to all people is stifling many financial institutions' ability for achieving market distinction, tailored brand experiences, digital evolution and personalization.

Today, successful marketing results require identifying, nurturing and targeting your fastest growing, most profitable and loyal segments; and then delivering a rich, highly personalized set of content and integrated experiences.

But do you even know who your best members or customers are yet? What are their savings and investment goals? Debt burden and borrowing needs? What about payment and channel preferences? And where will you find these vital targeted prospects out in the marketplace that are regularly drawn to your value proposition?

Driving profitability and enhancing user experiences today requires vital data analytics, big data and behavioral insights: not generic marketing campaigns or low-price product selling. But it starts with a well-integrated database of behavioral information and the building of a robust Lifestyle Segmentation Strategy with clear targets and ways to solve consumer pain points and financial hurdles.

Armed with clear target segments and rich data insights from an array of sources like your MCIF, payments data and channel usage, Persona Mapping takes your marketing a huge step forward. You can help refocus employee knowledge and behaviors; fine-tune personal content and focus marketing resources using behavioral information and user preferences (spending habits, debt profiles, saving and investment challenges, payments), to identify behavioral triggers and buying priorities.

Armed with this base of highly focused target audiences and Persona Maps, everything from new customer onboarding, marketing automation, digital and social media buying and content can be personalized and tailored to the unique needs of individuals with a well defined Digital Content Strategy. These are the keys to driving higher engagement, NPS scores, wallet share, loyalty and profitability in 2018.   

To learn more about our targeting strategies and see our client results increasing profitability, loyalty and brand engagement, contact a Weber Marketing consultant to discuss your situation at

Free Recorded Webinar

Join Ben Stangland, Principal, VP and Analytics Strategist, and Charlotte Boutz-Connell, Director of Client Experience, for a deep dive into how a strategic approach to target audience segmentation can position your financial institution for the healthiest growth in your history – and engage your entire organization into deep alignment in the process.


Engaging your digital consumer


Engaging your digital consumer

First impressions are important. From a first date, to trying a new restaurant, one lousy encounter can be the deal breaker for a second chance. This same logic goes for a company’s online experience—a bad user experience, especially on the first engagement, can negatively impact the company’s retention rate.

This is especially true for financial institutions—an industry that for the past few years has been extremely focused on providing a positive and engaging digital banking experience. Yet somehow, many banks and credit unions are still missing the mark when it comes to providing the right online user journey. Which means they are losing a chance to grow relationships with today’s digital consumer.

Mobile & online banking users are more likely than non-mobile bankers to use additional banking products. That means they expect a streamlined experience that makes it easy to bank and open accounts online. However, high abandonment rates—40% or more—continue to be a dark cloud hanging over bank and credit unions and it’s time to address the problem.

Far too often financial institutions online account opening processes require the consumer to jump from one screen to the next and spend time on repetitive steps (not ideal in any case, but more so on mobile). This disjointed and annoying encounter breaks the expected seamless digital journey and adds to higher abandonment rates.

Financial institutions need to take a step back and ask themselves, are we approaching online banking the right way? Do we know our audience? Are we thinking like digital consumers?

One mistake commonly made when thinking about digital banking is that it’s only done on smart phones. Turns out practically everyone uses digital banking not just on their phone but also tablets, laptops and even PCs. Banks and credit unions need to make sure their digital platform is an intuitive, mobile-optimized applicant process that can be used across a variety of devices.

Also, consumers love to save time. Banks and credit unions need to remember this is half the attraction to online banking – the time it saves. One way to make it even easier for the user is to find ways to automate information collection, such as snapping a picture of a driver’s license to pull information via mobile capture to complete applications. Along with quick information collection, another time saver is making the application process one direct path from start to finish. Very few people are willing to spend more than 15 minutes on a digital channel to open an account or fill out any type of application. Banks and credit unions need to set themselves up for success at the very beginning by deploying the right online consumer journey with a laser focus on user experience design—helping to lower bounce rates and attracting and retaining customers.

It’s time for financial institutions to step out from under the black cloud of high abandonment rates and offer online journeys that are seamless and require little time or effort. It’s also important to think about the untapped potential of mobile users and communicate how their digital experience is as good as any name-brand organization and to differentiate themselves by highlighting how their service, pricing and value beats the competition.

Today’s digital consumers refuse to settle when it comes to their online experiences and won’t hesitate to ditch one and go in search for a better one elsewhere.

First impressions count. Banks and credit unions need to make sure their digital experience is one that leads to regular engagement and deeper relationships. 

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Libby Wilson is an Account Manager at Weber Marketing Group.

As a brand ambassador for her clients, Libby helps align their business goals with target audience needs. Her experience includes strategic planning, brand strategy, digital marketing, project management, and social media.


My Top Ten Takeaways from #SIC17


My Top Ten Takeaways from #SIC17

The Seattle Interactive Conference bills itself as “an annual event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities.” This year, several of my colleagues and I, representatives from both the strategy and creative teams, attended. It was a marathon. It was a sprint. It was two days of engaged learning, lively discussions, high octane coffee and information overload.

Now a couple of weeks later, the mental dust has settled and I can see what things actually stuck with me: what challenged me, what truly inspired me, and on a practical level what made me think about my own work differently on behalf of my clients in the financial industry. So I offer to you my Top Ten Takeaways from #SIC17.

1. Quit calling cooperation collaboration. We all pay lip service to the idea of collaboration when in reality we are simply cooperating with one another in order to get things done or helping to accomplish a task. Collaboration is key for successful brands and organizations, but it means shifting our perspective on what it means to collaborate.  True collaboration occurs when all parties work together, everyone has a voice and opportunity to make a real, active contribution and together shares the responsibility and ownership for the outcome. Collaboration builds this shared knowledge and it’s what allows teams to function without disruption. The analogy presented by Adam Pearson of Substantial was that the larger the number of team members that need to be hit by a bus in order for the project to come to a complete stop is an indicator of the degree of team collaboration.  So when it comes to brand stewardship, is your team collaborating or merely cooperating?

2. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their brand relationships without human interaction.  The future is not about the device, but the data and what we do with it.  Chat Bots, Intelligent Personal Assistants, Smart Speakers, Intelligent Bots and Augmented Reality are all changing how we interact with data.  Smart brands will access data in real time to make smarter connections with their consumers, but the real opportunities exist in humanizing the data and technology to deliver a better consumer experience. 

3. Use the “Swiss Army knife” of digital advertising to find your audience. No longer is click, share or like the holy grail for Facebook metrics.  Savvy marketers can utilize Facebook to upload and match customer profiles to leverage digital advertising efforts as effectively as possible.  By using retargeting, segmenting lists into types of buyers in order to serve different messages, and remarketing to website users and targeting brand connections to “social engagers” who may have viewed only some of your video.  As marketers, we know that finding your audience is often difficult and expensive. Is your digital strategy taking advantage of the Facebook utility tool? 

4. Building trust is essential.  Say what you mean, mean what you say, and deliver on what you promise. What I love about this lesson is that no amount of data intelligence can buy trust or loyalty from a customer -- trust is earned based on our actions. With all of the access we now have to customer behavior data, it comes down to how we use and apply the data to actions that are authentic and enhance the customer experience with our brand. This is especially true in the financial industry where customer expectations for trusted banking relationships have been rocky and tumultuous in recent years. Now, more than ever, it is critical to deliver on the brand promise.

5. Messenger will use Chat Bots to initiate consumer conversations. In the next 3-5 years, Facebook will be able to serve up an ad, and then start a conversation with a Chat Bot using Messenger.  Facebook can then use the AI gathered from the conversation to incentivize consumers for ongoing conversations that can be continued later.  Of paramount importance will be the ability for the technology (the Chat Bot) to personalize the consumer connection in a way that enhances and adds value to their experience. This will be a game changer for how digital strategies are built and executed. 

6. “I see you” is key to audience connection. Individuals want to be seen and recognized for their authentic self and see that mirrored back to them in advertising.  Companies that can make an emotional connection to their audience by being real, relatable and authentic will build love, trust and brand loyalty. This is the intersection between data and the transparency of how it can be used.

7. The Lesburu:  niche audience marketing not segment exploitation. Subaru was able to build a strong and loyal brand following within the LBGT community because not only did they identify and build a genuine connection with the lesbian audience in their marketing efforts, they aligned their outward actions with their internal culture to create an authentic connection to their audience.  Subaru sponsored events like gay pride parades, partnered with the Rainbow Card, a credit card that instead of cash back offered donations to gay and lesbian causes, offered domestic partnership benefits to their employees and hired Martina Navratilova, a lesbian and former tennis pro, to appear in their ads.  All of these efforts combined created a brand for lesbians around a product that they already loved, but that saw them for who they were & loved them back.

8. The buzz over building brand community. The central premise is to build a sense of affiliation and belonging by identifying with a group of people who become the “community” and building a connection between these groups to create relationships on a deeper level that create brand value.  Airbnb’s Super Host program is a model for this vision of connected relationships. Hosts within Airbnb that meet specific benchmarks are part of the “superhost” community within Airbnb. They have a special community space online to gather for meet-ups and conferences, share a common vision in that they are “passionate about making your trip memorable” and as their community grows and flourishes, the overall business of Airbnb prospers as well.

9. AI is disrupting how we search and get answers. The way in which we interact with our device to get information, research product decisions and/or purchase items is changing with the advances in AI.  AI allows marketers to gain a better understanding of their customers through more natural forms.  Search queries and voice chat is becoming more conversational in nature, i.e. “Show me today’s news” or “Where should I go for breakfast?” Intelligent personal assistants, like Cortano or Alexa, will soon be able to use speech recognition to real-time translate to other languages. Chat bots are being used on mobile devices by companies, like Sephora, to make purchase recommendations.  Intelligent Bots are being taught “skills” to connect voice search with an action. This will enable the bots to ask questions and then take actions on the answers they receive. For example, when you call the insurance company, the bot would recognize the car you drive, can tell you the insurance rate and then access the CRM system to ask additional questions like “would you like your 16-year-old to be added as a driver to your plan?”  With this type of data intelligence, financial institutions will truly be able to tailor and deliver personalized services to their members.

10. Stand up to Stand Out. Yesterday’s chaos is eclipsed by today’s crises, but as consumers, we crave stability and look to brands to give us a purpose to connect with them.  Millennials, in particular, look to align their purchasing behavior with a purpose-driven brand, like Toms or Patagonia. These companies stand up and have a purpose that drives their business.  The driving motivator is not if we should do it, but HOW we do it, and what we do to stand out. 

In today’s big data world, now more than ever, it remains critical for brands to uncover what motivates their customers and find authentic ways to connect and engage with them.  Delivering a better customer experience comes down to how brands use and apply data to build stronger and deeper brand connections.

So while much of our attention is focused on big data and the future of artificial intelligence, at the core of everything is the customer experience. And no matter how you go about using the data and tools available, a strong brand experience is still driven by authentically cultivating relationships based on affinity, purpose and connections. 

Hat tip to the outstanding speakers I got to see, including:

  • Christi Olsen, Microsoft
  • Carrie Jones, CMX
  • Meredith Chase, Swift
  • Christian Folk, Outdoor Research; Alvin Gray, Wahoo Fitness; Laura Swapp, REI
  • Chris Witherspoon & Alan Brown, DNA
  • Melissa Waggener Zorkin, WE Communications
  • MJ DePalma, Microsoft
  • Chris Okroy, Add3
  • Adam Pearson, Substantial
  • Rob Schapiro, Brunner
  • Byan Moffat, National Public Media
  • John Lee, Nordstrom; Jani Strand, Redfin; Pooja Vithlani, Expedia

Lisa Rauliuk is a Sr. Account Manager at Weber Marketing Group. Lisa has over 20 years of experience in marketing and account management. She expertly guides bank and credit unions through naming and branding projects, and integrated marketing campaigns, with her marketing and account management skills. Lisa also facilitates staff brand training programs for clients. 


Three tactics to best utilize data and behavioral analytics


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.


Tigers Credit Union goes from campus to community


Tigers Credit Union goes from campus to community

In college, students fear showing up late to class, but don’t want be first to show up at a party. Many financial institutions have struggled in a “pioneering” effort to appeal to the unique emotional bond that a college town niche can present for differentiation and growth.

For financial institutions trying to find unique ways to market to a rapidly growing millennial or college population, aiming for relevance is hard to grasp. Whether their brand is in need of a transformation, or just in need of articulation to reach this younger generation, the thought of diving all in to overhaul a struggling brand is intimidating.

Sometimes a company struggling with growth needs a complete overhaul to build a successful brand. Sometimes logo adjustments, a new color palette, identity, and a renewed vision are all it takes to unearth new opportunities, and reach the unique target they’ve been aiming at.

Tigers Community Credit Union, a subsidiary brand of West Community Credit Union (WCCU), had tried for years to focus their niche brand to the University of Missouri (Mizzou). WCCU created the sub-name (Tigers) after the school’s mascot and out of a desire to better relate to college students and faculty, a valuable part of the Columbia, MO population. The Tigers brand and branch would hopefully help truly connect to the Mizzou community and lifestyle, attracting the sought-after college market.

Tigers Credit Union operates in the highly competitive market among scores of credit unions and community, regional, and national banks. Some marketplace confusion was created due to a saturation of similar sounding organizations using the “Tigers” name. So the opportunity to differentiate the brand with a new identity could set Tigers apart.

A dated on-campus branch was struggling to grow business or traffic, as it was only accessible to students and faculty. Togrow membership, the branch was moved off campus to a high visibility central location to reach a larger community audience including young professionals. West Community reached out to Weber Marketing to design a new transformational branch and provide members with an experience, building off of a new Tigers brand.

“Our initial brand and marketing assessment provided valuable insights into overcoming the credit union’s growth challenges,” said Ruth Kapcia, Weber Marketing’s Director of Retail Experience. Immediately, a big hurdle identified was a vague brand promise that few staff could identify, let alone share. Additionally, a lack of target audience definition significantly hindered West Community’s growth potential and progress. Tigers was trying to be everything to everyone. Not a spot a brand wants to be in.

 Newly designed marketing collateral supports the brand essence of "believing in members."

Newly designed marketing collateral supports the brand essence of "believing in members."

Once the credit union’s challenges and goals were defined, they led to building a brand articulation project. West Community expressed a desire to focus on the link, or gaps, between the internal organization and its target market and brand, so Weber Marketing developed a tangible set of recommendations for improvement.

The Tigers brand strained West Community’s resources, brand consistency, and budget. To alleviate this pressure, the brands were unified more closely, while still maintaining distinct personalities.

In order to appeal to distinctly different target audiences and articulate a shared brand identity between West Community and Tigers, the logos were redesigned with a more consistent look.

The new logos unified the two brands, while maintaining a separate and creative identity. 

West Community’s old brand tagline — ‘More Than You Imagined’ — was also not working hard enough. It was missing the opportunity to link every interaction between the employees, communities, and members. The new tagline – ‘Banking On You’ – is not only more clear and concise, but captures the credit union’s brand essence to support people in pursuit of their dreams.

The new Tigers branch prototype included everything from revamped merchandising to a refreshed organizational brand. The newly designed merchandising material helped the credit union reach out to prospective new members in the wider surrounding markets.

 Old, disjointed  logos.

Old, disjointed  logos.

   Weber Marketing Group 
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  Unified logos bring the two brands together while maintaining their separate, unique identities.

Unified logos bring the two brands together while maintaining their separate, unique identities.

“The design of the branch has allowed us to staff very efficiently, which has helped us achieve a faster break-even on the location. We were able to get into positive earnings territory in just under three years, which is a bit faster than normal for a new branch location. Overall, the branch has a modern appearance that seems to align with the university culture but also helps us connect with the broader community in downtown Columbia,” shared West Community President/CEO, Jason Peach.

Transforming the brand identity and merchandising gave the Tigers Credit Union branch a new look and a fresh start, appealing to its new target audiences.

 The community gathering space is the perfect opportunity for brand storytelling.

The community gathering space is the perfect opportunity for brand storytelling.

Image 5.jpg


Podcast: Targeting Personas for Growth


Podcast: Targeting Personas for Growth

If your strategic plan includes healthy membership growth and deepening member relationships, this 40 minute conversation will fuel your thinking about what's possible, and provide practical tips for action. 


How to Create a Growth Map to Build Branch Expansion


How to Create a Growth Map to Build Branch Expansion

Last fall, The Wall Street Journal spoke with two e-Commerce-driven retail brands, Warby Parker and Bonobos, about their expansion into physical locations as showrooms for their products. Both brands see a future that includes more brick-and-mortar locations.

Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal revealed that he envisions more than 800 physical locations, and Bonobos founder Andy Dunn plans to have at least 100 stores by 2020. Dunn said he expects a “tidal wave” of e-Commerce companies making similar decisions.

But how can you ensure that shifting from online-only to more costly brick-and-mortar storefronts is a strategic move? The best way to answer this question is by linking your marketing customer data with Big Data to design a long-range growth map. A growth map allows you to use data analytics, market intelligence and market scoring methods to find the ideal audience for physical locations.

Determine Effective and Ineffective Locations

The high capital cost of storefronts and staffing is a challenge for nearly every business. It must pay off with new revenues and distinctive brand experiences. By building a long-range strategic growth model, organizations first establish the criteria most important for success. Using sophisticated psychographic targeting of lifestyle segments, companies can uncover unique needs and buying behaviors to tailor profitable products and services, balancing new digital technologies to deliver savvy experiences (like Amazon’s new Go stores, which use remote scanning and sensors instead of a traditional checkout, with plans for 2,000 retail stores).

With clear goals and metrics established, it’s time to gather data from existing customers, analyze the marketplace and psychographics and survey potential customers. Taking the resulting data and scoring it against the criteria your organization has deemed most important will help create a tailored model for your future growth map.

Establish a Five-Year Plan

Great real estate is costly, competitive and dynamic. By building a five-year plan, you can focus on priority expansion, find ways to close or move underperforming locations and redefine future priorities. You can move quickly on securing ideal site locations without thinking about key real estate decisions one at a time.

To effectively use a long-range growth map, use these six keys to get started:

1. Evaluate performance and behavioral trends.

Your customers’ buying preferences, behavioral data and actions should be at the forefront in determining your store or branch locations and investments. To gather that information, you’ll need to mine branch and store trends, analyze a range of existing customer data, and model market analytics and Big Data trends. These will showcase patterns and insights to help you discover ideal store or branch locations and forecast growth and performance.

2. Use target customer lifestyles.

For future branch and site planning, it’s important to identify the target lifestyle segments that are currently most profitable and were most recently activated. Using demographic and psychographic profiles to build segmentation strategies, you can greatly enhance your data decision-making. Segmentation and Big Data have advanced; they can now be geocoded and tied to your customers’ and prospects’ households to provide behavioral data patterns that can focus expansion and future growth.

3. Access generational concerns and channel usage.

Segmentation data allows you to analyze consumer patterns, purchasing, channel usage and behaviors, especially across generations. By establishing your target growth segments, you can utilize data insights to determine the distinct channel preferences of select Millennial or Gen-X targets, such as where they cluster and which channel mix to prioritize for onboarding and deepening relationships.

4. Use algorithms to score and model future location priorities.

Once targets are identified and prioritized, essential scoring criteria can be established to weight and rank markets, including competitor saturation, household incomes, debt and wealth, relevant small businesses and target segment concentrations.

These scoring algorithms and forecast data allow you to tailor a unique approach to market options over the next five years, both at a regional and micro level. Your priorities will identify possible profitable segments, and you can predict target population, job and retail growth for strategic site placement.

5. Focus on future business model design and integrated technologies.

As mobile and online experiences continue to improve and grow, brick-and-mortar delivery must shift to align with richer user experiences. At the right times, advice, expert guidance, problem-solving and peace of mind will remain a part of the experience mix many consumers still prize in physical branch locations and in relationships with your employees.

Designing your organization’s growth map to align with your business goals effectively guides deeper consumer experiences and engagement. Customers need to trust your business, employees and products — not only in person, but also via mobile and online experiences. Integrating new technologies and reworking complex processes to simplify buying for your consumers — like allowing them to schedule appointments via an app or providing them with online chatbots and help — will ultimately enhance satisfaction and engagement.

6. Provide a differentiated brand experience.

Traditional retail practices are giving way to positive brand experiences. It’s vital that your in-store or branch strategy engineers every detail of the customer’s experience from the moment he sets foot in the door. This is less about the furniture and physical space of your store or branch and more about your staff engagement, design staging, product awareness, digital messaging and brand focus.

Your long-range planning must include reimagining and redesigning a totally new experience your targets value. By simplifying cumbersome account opening or onboarding processes, reducing space inefficiencies, incorporating cutting-edge technology improvements and developing new cultural behaviors, everyone wins. Allow your staff and customers to participate in a fresh brand experience that will increase engagement, retention and referrals.

A data-driven growth map, a five-year plan, and the reshaping of your cultural talent and user experience designs are the best tools for determining your future performance. By reimagining your future business model and reinvigorating your experience, culture and growth goals, you’ll find greater success in creating a unique consumer experience and higher brand engagement with your customers.

Original article published October 17, 2017 on Retail Touchpoints.

 Mark Weber, CEO, Weber Marketing Group

Mark Weber, 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.


Building Brand Champions: The Critical Intersection of Marketing and Training


Building Brand Champions: The Critical Intersection of Marketing and Training

Weber's culture and brand expert Karen McGaughey will speak at CUNA's Experience Learning Live! Conference in Seattle in October.

Karen will speak about the critical intersection between the Marketing and Training Departments. For many organizations, one or both of these departments are blowing through stop signs and missing high impact opportunities to drive greater organizational success together. Karen will help some credit union trainers identify opportunities to proactively partner with their Marketing Team and truly leverage their most impactful resource—employees— to deliver a unique, branded experience that is connected to corporate goals and marketing initiatives.

Session attendees will unlock ways to align, inspire and direct their entire workforce to deliver greater results by living out their brand in bold, fresh ways.

CUNA Experience Learning Live! is your chance to discover best practices, breakthrough ideas and perceptive insights into modern credit union training.  Learn more here.

Karen McGaughey, VP Client Services | Principal

With over 20 years experience in marketing, advertising and branding, Karen brings clients a depth and range of knowledge in creating effective strategies that leverage the uniqueness and strength of each client. She has earned the role of trusted advisor to many financial institution executives, having expertly guided their teams and Board of Directors successfully through name, brand and cultural transformations, and successful execution. 

Read more.


Nunulemon: The Reintroduction Of An Old Brand With New Magic


Nunulemon: The Reintroduction Of An Old Brand With New Magic

Reintroducing the name and brand of a 20-year-old company may seem like an unnecessary task, and if this particular company is widely well-known, some may ask, “what’s the point?” But just like humans and society, brands evolve – and need to in order to stay relevant. So how do you successfully reintroduce your name without losing the long time pillars your company has stood on for years? You take a step back to discover a compelling story you could be sharing but hadn’t realized you had it.

The campaign started with a burning question: What does this moment need that we are most qualified to deliver?
— Duke Stump, EVP of Brand and Community

That is exactly what Lululemon did when they partnered with Virtue, Vice Media’s in-house agency, when they set out to reintroduce their name to the world earlier this year through a global ad campaign. For their first global ad campaign, it was important that the campaign reflected Lululemon’s purpose, values and what they want to stand for in the world moving forward. Together, Lululemon and Vice set out to tell the story that yoga (what Lululemon is known for) is more than just yoga pants, poses and mats – and that Lululemon's brand isn't just for yogis. 

Lululemon believes that the philosophy and practices of yoga influences culture in everyday settings. So instead of focusing on traditional yogis and showing studios with mats laid out and people in poses, the focus is on a diverse group of people who aren’t considered yogis but all have one thing in common – in some way each uses a yoga practice in their life.

For 20 years, this company has been built on how the heartbeat of yoga influences culture.
— Duke Stump, EVP of Brand and Community

Through documentary-style glances into the lives of each character, the main anthem spot demonstrates the inclusivity of yoga. Each character makes up one practice of yoga and, when combined, the group illustrates its philosophy. In the spinoff mini series that completely focus on one of the individuals, the audience sees a glimpse into each practice.  For example, one of the characters is three-time Olympic gold-medal winner Kerrie Walsh Jennings, one of my favorite athletes and one of the reasons this campaign initially grabbed my attention. Her spot focuses on self-discipline and how she practices it on the beach volleyball court by showing up everyday. Or the practice of trust by professional surfer Maddie Peterson, who has to trust the ocean and that it will bring whatever she needs.

The anthem spot and the more focused mini documentaries do the unexpected – take you off the mat to show yoga in all its raw forms and unique environments. Through this approach, Lululemon’s goal is to share how expansive the idea of yoga is along with its accessibility. This will ultimately create a deeper understanding of their brand, purpose and values. 

Today, brand authenticity is more important then ever. And finding it isn’t always easy. On this path of discovery, Lululemon and Vice created a empowering, energetic, and extremely authentic portrait of their brand by sharing how yoga influences culture in ways we might never have recognized before. This global ad campaign is a dramatic way to grab attention for the reintroduction of Lululemon’s name. Through captivating storytelling, the mini series shows how the brand is revolutionizing how we think about yoga & its affect on our culture.

Hi Lululemon, it’s nice to meet you again.

Anthem Spot

mini series