When is the last time your bank offered you free music downloads for opening a new account? - And when is the last time you put on headphones at a listening station to hear new music - at your local bank branch? Well, this is exactly what Umpqua Bank is doing as part of their new "Discvoer Local Music Program."
In fact, Umpqua Bank has released the first compilation album “Local Music: Vol. 1: Sacramento to Seattle” as a result of this program which highlights various local artists from Umpqua's markets; the album is in its branches, on its new website: www.UmpquMusic.com, and through iTunes.
The idea is simple, yet unexpected from a bank - and that is why it works. Umpqua Bank is supporting local musicians in its markets (which include areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington), by selling the artists’ CD’s in Umpqua Branches and selling songs on the Bank’s website. The program seems to be a win-win: It exposes Umpqua Bank customers to new local music, and more importantly for the Bank – It exposes fans of the artists to Umpqua Bank.
This “Discover Local Music Program” is one of the many innovative marketing initiatives that the Bank has undertaken – and it is this type of innovative thinking that has allowed for the Bank to grow into a $6.6 billion institution.
Oct 27, 2006
Posted by Brady Walen at 2:16 PM
Oct 26, 2006
Take a look at how First Independent Bank of Southwestern Washington is approaching its customers by lifestage. The Bank has defined four unique lifestages that it uses to classify its customers:
- Ready, Set, Grow!
- Ready for Anything.
- Ready to Explore.
- Ready for Rewards.
First Independent has designed a quiz that allows customers to determine their own lifestage - which is extremely easy to use, and is only six questions long. The link to the quiz is on the homepage, which makes it that much more of an effective tool. Most importantly, once a customer's lifestage has been identified - First National Bank's website displays a series of questions typically asked by customers in that segment, financial considerations for that segment, and how First Independent can help.
Packaging products by lifestage is a great tool for the customer and for the front-line staff. It exposes customers to products that they should consider, gives the staff members an idea of what customers may be likley to purchase - and sets the stage for the successful cross-sell.
Posted by Brady Walen at 2:55 PM
Oct 23, 2006
Whether it’s the red backlit ATM storefronts or the branches popping up at some of the most visible intersections in the city – Bank of America is certainly taking Chicago by storm. And Chicago isn’t the only city seeing red; this weekend’s Wall Street Journal included the article: “Branching out – Bank of America Uses Retail Tactics to Raid Manhattan,” profiling B of A’s aggressive strategy (discussed below) – which has included the building of 41 Manhattan branches in the last two years.
While the banking giant has an extensive branch network and marketing budget to match, it still manages to focus on the customer experience – or “customer delight,” a difficult task for many financial institutions. The article sites the “‘Bank of America Spirit Program’ – welcoming everyone who walks in, cleaning up clutter and measuring ‘customer delight’ by calling people each night who were in the branch that day for feedback. Bank employees were not assigned offices, but instead were told to wear comfortable shoes – because they were expected to spend significant time in the lobby greeting customers.” The Bank of America customer experience is undoubtedly enhanced when a follow-up call is placed to inquire about the branch and quality of service.
In addition, Bank of America’s branch officers are well equipped sales people. The WSJ article also sites: “its branch officers learn scripted sales pitches and the company mantra, ‘concentrate to dominate.’ They carry laminated pocket cards listing key points of company philosophy. They start each morning with ‘Daily Connect,’ a huddle in every branch to receive a sales-motivation message from Charlotte, N.C. headquarters.” Each of these initiatives suggests a strategic focus and a clear message that has undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Bank’s aggressive branching.
While deploying a team of 200 people in branded t-shirts to pass out 82,000 packs of branded M&M’s and Starbucks gift cards is well out of reach for most financial institutions, some initiatives undertaken by B of A are certainly worth consideration:
- Welcome everyone who walks into your branch
- Clean up clutter throughout the day
- Call customers to thank them for coming into your branch, and inquire about their experience – take their comments seriously
- Create a “cheat sheet” for bankers with your bank’s strategic messages
- Hold daily meetings to motivate your team to sell
- Reflect your brand in your marketing, don’t be afraid to be bold
Posted by Brady Walen at 1:05 PM
Oct 19, 2006
Targeting the younger generations is an issue facing financial institutions across the country; as a result, we are constantly asked: “How do we market to Generation Y?” One tool, which seems to be gaining popularity in every industry except financial services, is the Podcast. When we suggest that a client use Podcasts to educate and attract younger customers – we are usually met with blank stares, utter confusion and the question: “Podcast? – What is a Podcast?”
Essentially, a Podcast is an audio file that you record and post online for others to download; the goal is often times to educate, inform, entertain and/or answer questions as audio – rather than as simple text. This allows your audience (customers and prospective customers) to download the file and listen to it at their convenience.
American Banker recently featured Financial Center Credit Union as an example of an institution taking action to target Generation Y - using Podcasts. FCCU has developed a Podcast series called “Talkin About the Benjamins” which addresses issues important to Generation Y, and is reported to receive over 1,000 hits a month – primarily from the younger generations.
The Podcast is just one of the many changes in marketing media and avenues. While Generation Y commands attention, the most successful institutions are well aware that this segment deserves attention, and are willing to take on new initiatives, like Podcasts, to serve them.
Posted by Brady Walen at 8:51 AM
Oct 17, 2006
This fall, Park Avenue Bank plans to unveil a truly unique point of differentiation. Business Wire reports: “Charles J. Antonucci, President and CEO of the Park Avenue Bank has announced plans for the construction of a museum quality art gallery within its first retail branch in Manhattan at 350 Park Avenue.”
American Banker - Community Banking Magazine recently published an article titled: “Staffing a Branch: Tellers, Managers and a Curator.” The magazine quoted Antonucci as saying: “In New York, there are branches on every corner, and every bank is doing the same thing. We wanted to create something unique” In addition, they reported Martin Mullin, the director of the art gallery, as saying: “the idea behind the gallery is to promote the museums, enhance the neighborhood – and, of course, attract more potential customers to the bank.”
Community Banks should take note of this example. Park Avenue Bank understands its competition and is committing to a true point of differentiation, one that is truly different from the highly competitive landscape of New York City. In addition, the Bank obviously understands its customer base and its market; its efforts will compliment the other galleries and museums in the area that already exhibit art from around the world. Perhaps most important, Park Avenue Bank understands that in order to attract new customers to the bank – they must go above and beyond providing good customer service and a wide variety of products; the gallery concept will attract PR, appeal to existing and potential customers – and allow the Bank to stand out from the rest.
Keep an eye out for this type of thinking – and we’ll see what kind of results the “Art Effect” will have at Park Avenue Bank’s new branch.
Posted by Brady Walen at 8:48 AM