April 2012.

Banking customers in the U.S. prefer localized, personalized services to be at the center of their relationship with their financial services institutions, according to a new international study by BT and Avaya. The study found that despite the growing use of phone and Internet banking in recent years, 66 percent of U.S.-based customers sees their local branch as the most vital link with their bank – second only to ATM machines.

The results indicate to financial services institutions developing multichannel customer service strategies that U.S. customers want the same personalized service that local branches deliver, regardless of whether the interaction is taking place in person, on the phone, using the Internet or a mobile device.

Looking at the next generation of Internet banking for U.S. consumers:

  • 32 percent would like to use Web chat when browsing financial Websites.
  • 24 percent would be happy to use click-to-call.
  • 14 percent would like to use video chat.

Looking at the adoption of Mobile banking by U.S. consumers:

  • More than 27 percent of respondents are already trying some form of it.
  • 34 percent are eager to make mobile payments.

However, the call center remains the preferred first stop for resolving a complaint or issue. The study also found that 55 percent of U.S. consumers have a strong relationship with their bank and of the four countries surveyed, more of the U.S. consumers said good service improves loyalty.

  • 77 percent for the United States
  • 71 percent for the United Kingdom
  • 66 percent for Spain
  • 58 percent for Germany

As an Indianapolis advertising agency with an Indiana community bank as a long-time client, we aren’t shocked or surprised by these findings. We see it in action at Ameriana Bank. Stop into an Ameriana Banking Center and experience personalized service for yourself. See how they approach localized support through their Giving Walls, Community Rooms and photo tributes to the communities they serve. You’ll also discover and enjoy free fresh coffee, Wi-Fi, and a convenient coin exchange machine as well as mobile banking and a new online FinanceWorks™ tool to help you track and manage how you spend your money.

Read more about this international research study: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/17/4420186/local-touch-should-be-key-to-us.html#storylink=cpy

Learn more about Ameriana Bank: https://www.ameriana.com/home/home or https://www.facebook.com/amerianabank

Working for consulting firms and an Indianapolis advertising agency or two, I’ve been fortunate to interact directly with decision makers on the client side. I have been able to hear their vision and understand their philosophies and strategies – firsthand. Taking time to learn about their sacred cows and pet peeves, and being able to challenge their thinking so we could craft and implement their brand, and deliver communications that cost-effectively achieved or exceeded their marketing objectives.

Recently this has been less of the norm. Decision makers are becoming less available and approachable. Being understaffed and overworked appears to be the root cause. Decision makers have to spend more time working in the business, leaving less time for them to work on the business. This leaves all the rich context and invaluable feedback to be filtered through channels and co-workers. Or worst, input and decisions are delegated to and through committees.

Efficiency is the quick and easy justification for these transactional relationships. However, this isn’t actually true. In reality, it causes delays, cost overruns and frustration on both the client side and the agency side due to the lack of information and interaction.

The flow of ideas and thinking is diminished. Sparks of inspiration and fluidity of marketing challenges are lost, as are significant details expressed by the decision maker and by the agency. Collaboration and communications are not only disrupted, but too often key points are misinterpreted or completely brushed aside by the intermediaries. Or, all too commonly misunderstood or misread through email.

It would be great if we could roll back the clock and slow down long enough to enjoy a glazed donut or two. Do you remember when a box of donuts was a staple at meetings? So much could be learned and shared during these sugar-laden sessions. Of course, healthy eating has caused these donut discussions to be replaced by bagels. And more recently, the bagel became the casualty of low-carb diets.

Today, the healthier action would be to reinstate the brain dump and brainstorming meetings with your agency. Level-setting sessions are vital to making sure your agency is on the same page and delivering the creativity and measured marketing you demand. Otherwise, you may be unfairly feeling and saying that your agency doesn’t “get it.” Instead, call them in to share some donuts and deep discussions about your brand and your marketing. You might just thank me.

With all due respect to Euro RSCG, what are you thinking? Even as a parody, the new Woolite “Torturer” commercial is a stretch. You must have conceived the idea and pitched it to the Woolite brand manager in some Amsterdam cafes. 

Yeah, we get it. You’re cool. Rob Zombie and his macabre style scream to women. We all know women are the biggest fans of slasher movies. It’s the new chick flick.

This all reminds me when Fallon used sophomoric boy humor to encourage women to shop at Simon Malls. Like this commercial, I was left shaking my head and asking what the hell!

“Some detergents torture your clothes. Save them with Woolite. Long live your wardrobe.”

The premise. The footage. The editing. The supers. The sound track. The creative team must be running the asylum. This commercial is so off target and off brand. The real fear and pain hits you during the transition to the product hero. It is so hard to stomach and so foreign that it feels like you created another Frankenstein. Complete with incompatible parts digitally mastered from unsuspecting donors.   

How many brand managers, brand consultants or even Indianapolis brand strategists would have put a axe through this idea? I suspect I’m not alone.

View Woolite “Torturer” TV Spot

Be the brand.

I’ve recently read some postings lamenting that brands used to be built by memorable TV moments. Back when life revolved around your favorite TV series, three network channels and brand campaigns dominated the timeslots. Before microwaves, digital recorders, cable and the Internet changed our viewing habits and behaviors.

According to national and Indianapolis brand strategists as well as some market research gurus, gone are the days of sitting down for a family meal before gathering around the TV for the evening. Now, our lives are fuller and busier. We are on the run and eat out more, record our favorite shows and watch them at our leisure while fast-forwarding through the commercials.

We can even watch our favorite TV series or program by ourselves on our smartphone or tablet – anytime and anywhere. And the Internet gives us news, information and entertainment at our convenience.

So where does this leave branding?

Same place, same brand channel. If you want to build brand value and preference, you still need to invest in relationships with your customers. You need to find ways to help customers relate to your brand.

And yes, it still takes time. It takes aligning customer touch points to build brands moments – in person, on the phone and online to create lasting customer relationships.

For the most part, you couldn’t rely totally on TV branding campaigns anyway because if people didn’t have the same experience with the product or service then the advertising was useless. Likewise, you can build the most incredible brand experience on the Web, but if people don’t come to it then it is useless.

The brand connection is different on the Web. It’s more than having a quality Web design, Facebook or Twitter page. People are interested in a series of interactions, created by questions and answers. We see something. We discuss it. We try to find out more information, from mostly independent advice. The combination of searching online and seeing banner ads works together with the aim to create what is called “conversation with the brand.”

We learn by repetition and experience. And people who engage with your online ad or video, seek it out online and share it with friends are actively interacting with your brand and investing real emotional involvement.

The beauty of online branding is when it drives offline conversions. The more your digital marketing seeks to be compelling and emotional, and make customers feel something for the brand over just tracking each click through, the more success you will experience.

But remember, like TV advertising, digital marketing is only one channel and one touch point. You and your employees have to represent the brand attributes and be the brand.

Move over NASCAR, here comes the NBA. In an attempt to generate more revenue, the NBA is pondering the idea of placing product and company logos on the jerseys of every player from the 30 teams. European basketball teams have worn ads on their jerseys for years, as does the WNBA.

The transition could create approximately $31.18 million in revenue in TV exposure alone. The NBA Board of Governors will meet this month to discuss the possibility of adding advertising to the jerseys.

Surprising, it was reported that the idea has been met with support from players and coaches. Not surprising, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said it’s an idea whose time has come. Cuban said, ‘If someone wants to give us $10 million, I’ll make it happen.’

If it happens, it will be interesting to see what advertisers elect to associate their brands with the NBA’s brand. As an Indianapolis advertising agency, I wonder if any local companies will get a spot on the Pacers’ jerseys or will this new channel be dominated by national brands and corporate sponsors.

Besides consumer goods, organizations engaged in healthcare marketing and financial marketing solutions might want to give it some careful consideration. That is, depending on the proposed expense and projected positive exposure.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/27/3840484/nba-considers-selling-advertising.html#storylink=cpy