Own Your Brand: Onsite Coverage
LAS VEGAS - The theme that emerged on the first day of The Financial Brand Forum 2014 was that delivering on your brand is less about budget and more about identifying what makes your organization unique and sometimes, embracing the weird.
Lani Hayward, EVP of creative strategies at the $11.6 billion Umpqua Bank, shared during her Thursday morning speaking session how the Portland firm built its contemporary brand that combines local community with urban chic. What makes the world’s greatest bank tick, she said, is that regardless of size, it’s essentially a borderless community bank with an intentional consumer brand.
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What that means is every interaction, experience and person, whether employee or customer matters, is reflected and supported in the culture.
“Find a sustained value proposition you can rally around. Harness the organization’s DNA and culture to design a purpose built brand,” Hayward said. “When the culture of a company and the outward facing brand align, you have something to market.”
Umpqua has been successfully building a culture around service and innovation, taking cues from retail to form new sustainable strategies on a marketing budget that is far below the industry average.
Read more: Find out what those guys in the photo at top are doing ...
Her best practices advice included early morning marshmallow fights (pictured on previous page) and branches that display and sell products created by local businesses (pictured above), to making ATM vestibules spaces where customers can learn what makes their neighborhood unique.
“We have some people who might walk by and now want to walk into the ATM vestibule to find out what’s that painting and story about,” said Hayward. “If you come in then we want to be the best part of your day and you can’t look at the branch and digital experience from two different silos anymore. It’s about bridging physical with digital until there is no gap at all.”
Read more: Afternoon breakout session features another uniquely branded institution ...
Since Sunova Credit Union in Canada launched a quirky new brand in 2008, its assets have nearly doubled to $1.1 billion, and membership has swelled to 31,250 members.
Sunova credits embracing the weird, and trying new things that support and further enhance strategy. From employing St. Bernards as greeters, to human resources personnel personally contacting all job applicants (as shown above), even if only a few are selected to interview for open positions. Sunova finds innovative, fun, quirky ways that stay true to its brand.
“If everyone else is doing it we go the other way,” said Vanessa Foster, director of marketing at Sunova. “If you are going to differentiate your brand own it and make sure everyone knows it. Great service is not a differentiator but how you define great service is.”
Echoing the theme of most great brands, she added it all starts with the culture.
“Banking is just the beginning; our employee engagement is key to our brand success,” said Alexandra Rachey, marketing coordinator, Sunova. “We invest as much, if not more time with internal marketing of staff as members, because their engagement and buy-in is critical.”