Weber Marketing Group Acquires Boston-based Data Warehouse & Analytics Company BancTrac Solutions

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Weber Marketing Group Acquires Boston-based Data Warehouse & Analytics Company BancTrac Solutions

Weber Marketing Group has acquired BancTrac Solutions, a 16-year-old data warehouse and analytics firm located outside Boston, MA. Weber Marketing Group CEO Mark Weber noted: “with 18 years of data analytics work and 30 years advising some of the nations’ leading financial services institutions, we’re thrilled to acquire an exceptional analytics platform and talented team like BancTrac Solutions to expand our business intelligence offerings to our financial clients and theirs as they evolve their digital capabilities in a rapidly changing environment.”

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Going Local: Is it the Smartest—or Cheapest Option?

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Going Local: Is it the Smartest—or Cheapest Option?

Despite the recent transformation of financial services branches as digital services explode, the need to differentiate the essence of your brand and communicate relevant product solutions remains vital to user experience consistency and revenue creation at the point of sale.

Some would argue that the time spent by financial consumers in branches (especially in new ones) makes the physical environment the #1 choice of all touchpoints in creating a rich user experience (UX) that enhances relationships, grows wallet share and cements your brand, while establishing mission and values connections.

While financial services retailers often seek outside expert consultants to design their brand strategy and initial branch merchandising program concepts, when it comes to the production and ongoing rollout of the brand into the branch, they’re often fueled by a strong desire to use local, supposedly lower cost resources. Imagine Starbucks or NIKE Town handing off their entire brand experience and merchandising systems to a local firm to save a few dollars on a million dollar store rollout.

Is the “keep it local” aspiration really the superior – or even cheaper – way to produce high impact consumer-facing branding elements, digital content, signage and product messaging setting the tone and quality for your brand?

Compounding the lack of local environmental design and merchandising expertise is the absence of specialized skills to carefully engineer staff and client experiences and messaging at headquarters spaces.

Your organization’s most visible public branded showcase shouldn’t be handed off to local amateurs. Frequently we see inexperienced local firms mired in the intricacies of complex environmental HQ design solutions, wayfinding signage, tech demos and brand communications. The result is uninspired design, poor execution, change orders, overwhelmed leaders, and lower quality materials that erode any early hopes at achieving real “savings.” 

This DIY/Buy Local/Save money aspiration has created some prevalent myths. Let’s examine the top 6 most common ones:

Myth #1: No special financial industry knowledge is really required. 

In retail display and visual merchandising design, there is a level of expertise, constant material improvements, and new industry knowledge that only comes from immersion in the fields of custom large format graphics and retail fixture manufacturing for branch spaces. It’s not your fault. There simply isn’t time in the day or people in your resource pool to specialize.

At Weber Marketing, we link our 30-year niche expertise in the retail financial services category and the visual production industry behind our history of installing over 1,600 branch and HQ spaces. With merchandising experts who worked at Starbucks and REI Co-op, we bring an extraordinary combination of visual merchandising creativity, quality production methods, project engineering, and material cost savings that ensure we are always on budget, on time, on quality standards, and that we meet or exceed client expectations. You get exactly what you paid for with no excuses. Our multi-year client references tell our best story.

Myth #2: There are lots of skilled firms who do this.

There actually are a number of local large format digital printers, acrylic fabricators, sign companies, kiosk manufacturers, cable and hardware suppliers, and signage installers out there. The problem is, few integrate all the elements together; and fewer still specialize in financial brand environments (branches aren’t Verizon stores or Burger King). There are only a handful of expert financial industry vendors like Weber Marketing that orchestrate our partner quality standards at every step of design, fabrication, materials integration, quality control, construction management and installation of the highly specialized financial merchandising, digital and environmental graphics that create successful branch spaces. 

Go it alone and you’ll spend time and research locating the few local firms, if any, that do.  Be aware though that if your local resource doesn’t integrate each complex element and material of the retail display system, or work with your construction managers planning installations or remodeling – then your staff hours and risk just went up exponentially. Not to mention consistency, quality control and value delivered on each unique future project – all at prices that hopefully don’t go up. If all systems are not managed under one roof, your own team will spend untold hours managing details, sub-contractors, working shop drawings, and constant critical decisions - as you now become the “orchestrator.” You must now manage multiple complex vendors who don’t talk, don’t link quality standards and won’t own the end product result that sets the visual style and tone of your branch and HQ brand environment. You learn quickly that “results may vary,” and they generally do.

Myth #3: This will save lots of money—and time.

There’s an interesting phenomenon in the retail display that industry salespeople refer to as “lowballing the first project to win.” It happens all the time. Suppliers drop prices to win in the local new client over with an amazing set of savings – at any cost. Then later they figure out how to deliver a quality, integrated, flawless branch project that makes the new client happy. It’s not sustainable business practice. Suddenly clients realize that quality and materials weren’t quite what you expected. You demand makeovers: prices quickly go up. They didn’t bid working with your sub-contractors shop drawings or your facility teams and branches on planning flawless installations. It was a myth that you could actually save a ton going local.

Unlinked production processes, lower quality materials and mistakes cost money to fix. But the time that mistakes, lack of expertise, wrong decisions, or delays cost your staff and organization is incalculable. The learning curve on producing quality environmental graphics, wayfinding signage and retail fixtures are long and expensive.  With critical construction timelines, a constant flow of puzzle pieces and decisions that must all come together over months on installation day with sub-contractors, it doesn’t take much to derail a project, resulting in costly reworks and an unhappy C-Suite. Delayed or additional install trips, rush fees, expedited shipping and change orders add up fast and supposed “savings” disappear quickly. 

With an expert agency like Weber Marketing to plan, manage, guide, communicate with client teams and construction managers, you get exactly what you expected: on time, without surprise and without unexpected expense. With our manufacturing volumes, we negotiate great pricing up front with our trusted partners. We pass along volume savings that you will not be able to get on your own locally. As a result, we have affordable packages and quality options for any need and budget. Having an expert branding agency leading actually saves not only money, but massive staff time and resources. How do you calculate the value of your staff time? We don’t need to play the lowball game and it’s why we keep satisfied clients for years.

Myth #4: It's not that hard to do.

To do it right inside a high quality professional $1-$2 million branch space; with staff working there and clients is actually pretty hard. Mistakes, inferior quality and the consequences are very visible and messy while people are trying to run a professional financial branch.

We’ve been there: 1,600+ times. Merchandising may be new to you, and the finished installation may seem simple, but do you know how temperature and sunshine may affect each material substrate in your area - and can cause rapid failure? How LED light will affect graphic viewing and change colors? What degree of opacity is needed to achieve privacy or messaging visibility in window graphics? Which acrylic and glues will work best (or fail) on your hardwood laminate and metal kiosks or hardware systems? Who in the heck wants to really learn all that the hard way? We work out every project design detail and material decision with our production team, partners and our install team to manage quality control each step of the way. So your team doesn’t have to make each one of those decisions – and own the mistakes.

Myth #5: Local suppliers mean no crating and shipping costs.

Many local markets lack qualified and experienced environmental graphics, material fabricators or metal and wood craftsman that can deliver a robust and well-linked comprehensive merchandising program. Even in large metro areas, packaging and crating is required to transport elements safely – even a few blocks.

Weber Marketing negotiates annual freight forwarding volume discount rates across the US. In comprehensive test studies of shipping a standard crate of environmental graphics across the country from Seattle to New York, and across one state from Washington to Oregon, our crating and shipping costs were the same or less than shipping from more local or regional suppliers. If they’re across the street and experts at modern retail financial branch merchandising, hire them.

Myth #6: The facilities people can install all the graphics.

Most likely your facility staff (and local sign installers) have never managed the complexities of high quality environmental merchandising programs. Modern quality environmental graphics isn’t like hanging acrylic poster holders on the wall.  At Weber Marketing Group, we have our own internal team of retail installation experts with over 17 years of construction and branch installation experience. They have comprehensive knowledge of the wide array of engineered materials, mechanical solutions, construction issues and wall, window, ceiling and floor mounts they must carefully engineer in our environmental merchandising programs. They’re involved throughout the design and manufacturing process and know every detail of your specific products long before they’re onsite to complete the installation. If we provide a unique custom solution, or work on 25+ branch installs simultaneously, we also have vetted partners across the country under our direct supervision.

The best does not mean it costs more upfront, or over time.

At Weber Marketing Group, our retail merchandising business model is to provide our clients the highest quality, end-to-end, holistic, integrated and affordable retail environmental merchandising and digital design solutions in North America. That encompasses a total quality management approach for design, engineering, printing, fabrication, manufacturing, color matching, crating/shipping and installation. And we own the end product, budget and quality results.

Managing all of this effectively requires a highly specialized skillset. One that is typically not found in-house at most organizations, nor locally in a single retail merchandising or digital graphics firm. Optimism and hope surrounding a DIY localized approach to managing your environmental merchandising and graphics program to save money is not a strategy.

The reality is that going it alone comes with a steep learning curve; a minefield of hidden risks, constant decisions and potential errors. It is highly time consuming for your marketing, branch and facilities teams, in light of other vital priority projects. Travel this road with a highly experienced partner and guide and you will save untold aggravation, time, money and maybe even your reputation.

Co-authored by Ruth Kapcia.


John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy

John  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...

Ruth Kapcia, Director of Retail Experience

Ruth has over 25 years of experience in retail design and visual merchandising. At Weber, Ruth designs, plans, and develops some of the most innovative retail financial prototypes in North America, including a new branch model for Canada’s largest credit union, Vancity. Read more...

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Beyond ROI: Measuring future brand success in more than dollars and cents.

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Beyond ROI: Measuring future brand success in more than dollars and cents.

Why ROI may be the wrong measure of success.

There is no standardized metric or database in the financial services industry today that measures and quantifies the brand value and ROI of community banks (non-publicly traded) or credit unions. Yet many executives desire to know the ROI before acting on needed improvements and investing in their brand, logo or name.

Financial leaders who have completed strategic rebranding programs point directly to their significant investment in an enterprise-wide rebranding effort and attribute a range of direct and substantial impacts ranging from higher client acquisition rates, increased lending, higher employee engagement and NPS scores and market share expansion.

Interestingly, the same desired standard for ROI is rarely used for many other capital investments leaders routinely make in technology, branch automation and operational projects. Brands are a less tangible asset compared to online banking system upgrades that enhance user experience, yet there is no standard ROI for tech investments. However, a weak or poorly differentiated brand can stifle market awareness, diminish prospect interest and slow market share growth (including new branch investments). Few leaders ever ask the question: What is the risk, or lost “opportunity cost” of an ineffective brand, a confusing name or a dated logo and brand image?

Your financial institution’s corporate brand and image is arguably far more valuable an asset, and more visible than a $2.0 million investment in one new freestanding neighborhood branch. Your brand shapes market and consumer perceptions and defines your competitive market positioning and reputation. Many leaders know their brands are ill-defined, or even impossible to articulate clearly. Their brands are inconsistently linked across channels, not understood among their employees, and randomly communicated across marketing, channels and social media.

While leaders understandably love to see the marketing ROI metrics of loan campaigns, email and digital marketing, these are short-term measures—and while vital to driving revenue, they are not the most important strategic measure of a high-functioning organizational brand program with competitive market distinction. These are larger and significant measures that influence growth, market image and cultural alignment.

Why "ROO" is a better long-term measure of brand success and cultural alignment than ROI alone.

Should the lack of a tangible ROI stop your organization from tackling a transformative branding process to articulate the current equity (good, bad and ugly) in your brand, name, branches, mobile and channel experiences today, so you can make badly needed improvements?

Is it possible that ROI might actually be the wrong primary measure of investing in your corporate brand, logo or your name to improve your competitive distinction? Targeted market growth planning, successful brand differentiation, high NPS scores, cultural alignment and employee satisfaction can all be part of a wider set of vital signs of a thriving and well-focused organization—beyond ROI.

Organizational improvement factors that help you increase your competitive market differentiation, raise market awareness of your unique value proposition, and bring positive shifts in consumer perceptions that lead to accelerated growth, plus market share and retention are what we call ROO (Return on Objectives). Collectively, ROO can drive market share, wallet share and long-term performance gains.

In our work with large credit union and community bank clients across the US and Canada, we have quantified a wide array of organizational growth metrics, multi-year trend patterns, and consumer and leader anecdotes, cultural shifts and stories that unequivocally demonstrate that their brand investment drives measurable organizational improvements.

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“We’ve learned that making data-driven market decisions and growth forecast planning, combined with understanding our target member’s preferences and behaviors, has led us to make more intelligent and far more accurate decisions that have helped increase Logix’s bottom line performance and to deliver rich and distinctive member brand experiences.”
-Phil Hart, COO, Logix Credit Union, CA, $5 billion

Why global brand leaders understand the value of their brand.

Sophisticated public companies with measurable stock values like Amazon and Starbucks don’t ask what the ROI of branding is before they invest major resources in managing and evolving their brand experiences, market perceptions and internal brand culture. They actively manage, design, reinvent and proactively work to keep their brand evolving, relevant to consumers and “best in class.”

The most successful corporate leaders know that a strong brand image, superior brand experiences online, in-store, via mobile channels, and design and product innovations yield huge payoffs in ROI, growth and stock value.

"Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination."
-Sir Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin

The most renowned measures of the economic value (and ROI) of public company brands is a decade-long program developed by Kantar Millward Brown called BrandZ. Each year they identify the most successful brands in the world by industry, including financial services.

Their formula attributes stock performance, increased revenues, market share growth and consumer survey perceptions to quantify an organization’s brand value.

In 2017 BrandZ valued the VISA brand at $111 billion; Apple at $235 billion and Chase Bank’s brand at $14.3 billion. Google was ranked the #1 brand in the world, valued at $246 billion. 

Strategic branding programs that become an enterprise-wide focus strongly influence and ultimately improve growth and ROI. But like many major strategic growth initiatives, they are better defined as ROO investments that must be made to evolve, compete, retain and inspire people, resulting in sustained performance and consistency. 

Following a 2014 rebranding and name change program to attract a younger audience and badly-needed loan growth, Jim McCarthy, CEO of Trailhead, a Portland, Oregon-based credit union, attributed the bulk of their financial success metrics to their enterprise-wide, transformative brand process initiative. McCarthy shared, “We don’t have the budget to do large ad campaigns, so I’d say we’ve attracted that millennial audience through our new and distinctive brand image. Employees feel a new sense of pride in our brand.” The results have been staggering, and record growth trends continue three years later in 2017: 

  • In the first year, lending increased 18%; Loan to share ratio increased from 59% to 78% and website traffic increased 28%.
  • New account growth increased 367% to 131 accounts a month.
  • Trailhead achieved it’s highest earnings in 10+ years: NIM increased 71BP; Net Worth grew 54BP.
  • Net member growth went from 7 years of negative growth to +18.9% the 1st year; then averaged 15.7% growth annually the next three years (2014–2017).
 Read a case study on Trailhead Credit Union  here .

Read a case study on Trailhead Credit Union here.

While Trailhead’s performance numbers are not about ROI alone, no one could argue the direct value, payoff and residual benefits of the investment in a comprehensive rebranding and renaming program. It moved Trailhead from seven years of stagnation to accelerated growth, financial health and a staff culture on fire with renewed enthusiasm and newfound focus. Trailhead has also successfully acquired a critical and elusive younger Millennial target audience. Millennials aged 25–34 grew 173% from 2014 to 2017, reducing their average member age by an incredible 8 years in three years.

So why can't you measure all brand projects with an exact ROI?

Some financial leaders believe marketing, advertising or branding efforts must show an ROI or they have no value to the organization or bottom line. Branding and marketing are held to a higher standard of ROI tracking. Yet few would argue that investing in your organization’s brand, culture, channel design and reputation among clients, prospects, stakeholders and your communities is crucial to future success. 

Some CFOs use pat formulas to show a breakeven or ROI for a handful of projects, such as building a branch. Quantifying brand (or name change) ROI is nothing like showing a branch breakeven analysis or an ROI for a $2.0 million freestanding brick and mortar branch investment that is simple to forecast. You can model ROI assumptions of fixed costs, chart predictable growth assumptions, new client growth, deposits and fee income against overhead costs and net interest margin.

Unfortunately, most historical branch ROI methodologies vary widely today in accuracy and true “attribution” (especially as branch transaction volumes are declining annually an average of 3-5%). Branch ROI relies solely on the new branch itself, ignoring direct marketing, staff cross-selling, business development, public relations, events, rate specials or targeted media efforts. Those factors and resources rarely make it into the ROI or break-even calculation of branches.

As your organization faces critical investment scenarios beyond technology alone to evolve and innovate your brand, name or logo to increase relevance to your markets (or targets like younger professional Millennials), consider using ROO in making wise decisions that balance risk against driving sustainable growth, market expansion, cultural focus and enhanced competitive performance. 


Original abbreviated article published here on The Financial Brand.

Mark Weber, CEO, Weber Marketing Group

Mark is a marketing consultant, brand strategist, and data analytics expert. He advises clients on strategic growth and transformational initiatives. He is a national speaker and author, and blogs on brand strategies, business intelligence, and consumer behavior trends. Read Read more...

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Take your digital strategy to the next level

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Take your digital strategy to the next level

Mark Weber will speak at the first CUNA Digital Marketing School, June 4-6, 2018 in Nashville.

Digital trends are changing the way consumers engage with their financial institution. It's vital that marketers evolve their strategies and help lead their organizations' brand and marketing forward. Many marketers are missing out on opportunities to improve their organizations' performance through more integrated marketing strategy.

Mark Weber will be speaking at the first CUNA Digital Marketing School, at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5th in Nashville on linking digital transformation & data analytics into brand and marketing strategies.

Learn more here.


Mark Weber, CEO, Weber Marketing Group

Mark is a marketing consultant, brand strategist, and data analytics expert. He advises clients on strategic growth and transformational initiatives. He is a national speaker and author, and blogs on brand strategies, business intelligence, and consumer behavior trends. Read more.

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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

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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.

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Strategic Leadership: The Art & Science of Navigating Digital Transformation

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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The Personalization of Data Builds Brand Loyalty and Profit

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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 info@webermarketing.com.


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.

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Engaging your digital consumer

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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.

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