My Top Ten Takeaways from #SIC17

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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. 

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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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Tigers Credit Union goes from campus to community

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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.

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.

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Podcast: Targeting Personas for Growth

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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. 

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How to Create a Growth Map to Build Branch Expansion

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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.

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Building Brand Champions: The Critical Intersection of Marketing and Training

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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.

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Nunulemon: The Reintroduction Of An Old Brand With New Magic

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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

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Sharing Kindred Values Locally and Globally

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Sharing Kindred Values Locally and Globally

Kindred Credit Union in Ontario has joined the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, positioning its historic mission for further impact.  

Becoming a member of the GABV is yet another example of our commitment to inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. Kindred was invited to join four other member financial institutions in Canada working to help individuals fulfill their potential and build stronger communities.
— Brent Zorgdrager, Kindred CEO

Kindred Credit Union has a generations-long history of aligning values with finances. By joining GABV, Kindred is now collaborating within a global movement working to develop a positive, viable alternative to the current banking system. 

GABV is an independent network of banks, banking cooperatives, and credit unions, using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social, and environmental development. Founded in 2009, GABV includes over 43 financial institutions and seven strategic partners across the globe. 

Weber Marketing Group partnered with Kindred Credit Union, formerly Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, in 2015 to guide its strategic renaming process. At a time of declining net membership and other key metrics for the organization, this effort positioned the credit union to attract more like-minded members of the community desiring to make intentional financial decisions according to values such as peace and mutual aid. Within a year of its successful name change and brand repositioning, Kindred was more profitable than ever and experiencing historic best loan, deposit and mutual fund growth - proof that banking with purpose is not only good for the community, but a mission that draws passionate engagement from the community. 

The whole Weber Marketing team is enormously proud of the leadership demonstrated by our friends at Kindred in using finance as a tool to build a better world.

News of joining GABV comes in addition to Kindred's recent recognition as one of the 2017 companies that is Best for the World Overall, which considers positive impact on workers, community, customers and the environment. More information about the Best for the World lists, and Certified B Corporations is available at bthechange.com.


Read Kindred Credit Union's press release here.

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Free Panel Discussion: The Opportunity in Social Media Advocacy for Credit Unions

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Free Panel Discussion: The Opportunity in Social Media Advocacy for Credit Unions

Charlotte Boutz-Connell, Director of Client Experience at Weber Marketing Group, will participate in a panel discussion and live Q&A on Wednesday, September 27th, at 1:00 pm EST on how credit unions can embrace social media to modernize their advocacy efforts and attract new members.

What the panel will discuss:

  • What advocacy means to credit unions and why it's important.
  • How to reach and attract the next generation of credit union members.
  • Why employees play a critical role in credit union advocacy.

Click below to register for this FREE live session.

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Merchandising is essential to a profitable branch

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Merchandising is essential to a profitable branch

When used strategically, a branch merchandising program can establish a powerful, personal, and long-lasting relationship between your organization and the member/customer.

In best practices, merchandising can be one of the most powerful marketing tools, one that communicates with members in a multi-sensory way. The more you can reach people through sight, sound, touch and interactivity, the more relevant you become, resulting in the opportunity to establish a strong emotional connection with your members.

Merchandising brands the retail environment as your space. Your branches become uniquely yours and they stand out amongst the sea of sameness found in many of your competitors’ branches.

Branch networks, for most financial institutions, are a patchwork of legacy locations, acquired locations, freestanding buildings, in-line spaces and a full myriad of sizes, shapes and interior design.

Merchandising is the common denominator that can tie your network together, building brand experience consistency and continuity across the entire spectrum.

When viewing the branch as a marketing medium, there’s perhaps no better place to deploy well-targeted and well-timed messages to people that have already taken the first step to a meaningful conversation; they made the choice to come in.

The opportunity to deepen the relationship, cross-sell, provide advisory referrals and to increase share of member/customer wallet is all fueled by a holistic and integrated merchandising program. The metrics and KPIs for your branches can be more readily achieved with a comprehensive plan for branding, marketing and messaging at retail.

The messaging elements themselves need strategic guidance to establish a hierarchy of storytelling as branch visitors navigate the space. There are opportunities for brand articulation, product and service features, promotion, technology demonstration and education, community engagement, heritage celebration and more.

The right merchandising program can be the difference between profitable branches and languishing ones.


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John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy

John Mathes directs our brand strategies and brings nearly 30 years of senior branding, branch design, advertising, and innovative marketing experience to the table. He honed his skills at some of the nation's largest ad agencies, strategic consulting, branding, and branch strategy firms, including Brandpartners. Read more...

Original article published here on cuinsight.com.

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7 keys to selecting the right naming and branding partner

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7 keys to selecting the right naming and branding partner

Changing the name and brand identity of a well-established financial institution may be the most critical strategic decision and enterprise-wide project your organization will ever undertake.

The risks of picking an inexperienced agency for renaming, or attempting it internally, can be staggeringly high on many levels.

Based on our 25 years of naming experience and work on renaming over 65 financial institutions, we have identified the 7 most critical criteria for evaluating and selecting a skilled agency partner as part of a professional name evaluation or successful renaming process.

Submit the form below to request a copy of the position paper "7 Keys to Selecting the Right Naming and Branding Partner."

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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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