Matt Andresen

Former mascot, banker, co-owner of web analytics co. and financial advising co. Currently PR, content and analytics marketing dude with Cleland Marketing.


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Customer Service Twits

Bird-Gang-Big

As my grandmother told me often, we have two ears and one mouth, so by design we should listen more than we talk.  I used twitter for a while without ever tweeting anything.  I listened to what my competitors had to say and what people were saying about me.  Then I slowly started tweeting.  The important thing is to decide how you are going to use twitter.

When I was at Banker at Chase Bank , they were pretty early adopters of this type of social media.  I believe they used it primarily to monitor their brand and then started using it  as a more swift customer service tool.  They say that every complaint is a possible opportunity, and Twitter allows you to exploit this.  They started seeing better customer service scores and while bonuses were always based solely on checking accounts open (campaign), they started realize Twitter played a part push branch bonuses more toward service. Every single bank I talk to says that it is their service that makes them stand apart, yet so few are using the ONE tool that can exponentially make this a reality.

Still don’t believe me?  Well, at Chase,  I tested to see if they were paying attention (which previously they were not).  I made a facetious comment about getting moving walkways into branches so it would force the confused customer into more efficiently ‘get in and get out’ strategy.  I was later written up by my boss for inappropriate use of technology because this made it all the way up to Jamie Dimon, the Chase CEO. It was like watching a blooper reel as my boss sat me down to “write me up”; he couldn’t stop laughing.  He was also in disbelief.  I just sat back, smiled and exclaimed, “Wow, they really ARE paying attention now!”

So…if this type of medium can get the attention of the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world, how do you think it will work on your current and potential customers.  Give it some thought and stop being a twit and start with reading a tweet.

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Financial Education: A Bank Do-It-Yourself Project

Me at CV1

Repping my Brass T-Shirt during a financial education discussion at my alma mater, Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, OR

Benjamin Franklin said, “An Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), furthered this sentiment with bankers at the American Bankers Association’s annual convention on Monday, when he told bankers to “push for financial education for young people at the state level in order to bring up a new generation of responsible borrowers.”

This is all well and good, but how many times do speakers stand up in front of a crowd and inspire them, yet only give very general and unspecific solutions?  I would say most of the time.  Here, Cordray went on to say that, according to a recent article by Philip Ryan, an Associate Editor of Bank Innovation; “Financial responsibility, fostered by education, is far better. Bankers should realize, however, that not all participants in the financial system will receive financial education in the home, and that, therefore, an effort must be made to get this education into the schools so that young people learn the virtues of saving and responsible borrowing early in life.” This may still seem general and unspecific, but it’s a start.  The solution lies within the commitment of the banks.

There is a very specific solution, but it only comes from consistent action.  At Brass we have one such solution; the Brass Student Program, but don’t think we are the only one.  If anything it serves as an example of a program that works by creating a stronger relationship between the bank and local high schools. When looking into other programs or when you are looking to create one yourself, make sure you understand that, for a bank, there are NO SHORTCUTS to being involved yourself.  This is not like doing a home project yourself to save money.  Curing this problem comes down to relationship building, something that was stressed every hour of every day when I was a banker. I think millennials are starving for banks to put in more authentic time with them to foster a relationship and to help them with money, as seen in this short case study of 6 young adults.

American Author Napoleon Hill once said, “It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. ” So if you, as a bank, are really serious about relationships, make sure the only shortcut you take is not waiting half your life before realizing the obvious…with help of course.


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SIRIously: Just Type, Read and Follow Directions

SiriToday’s post may be a shorter one as the concept is simple and simply requires the ability to type, read and follow directions.  When I am not working at Brass Media, I work with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Linn-Benton Community College, advising business owners, helping them with most of their online/marketing needs.  When I was first asked to do this; I was confused as to what I could offer, but I quickly found out many business owners didn’t know how to use some of the basic free tools at their disposal.  The most basic: Google search.  Now with the existence of Siri on iPhone, folks are making a game out of asking Siri questions that “she” just turns around and searches for.  For example, my brother asks Siri questions all the time and most of the time I can search for it faster on my phone than he can using Siri.  Apple has been masters of innovation time and time again, but Siri can be more gimmicky than helpful.  Just stop being lazy and type once in a while!

When I meet with a client, here is what happens too often: The client asks me a question, I type in that question into a Google search and send the client links.  I show exactly what I did, but they come back asking me more questions.  It’s almost like they treat Google as a trusted expert that only I am allowed to talk to. Why?!?!

At a Corvallis City Club event, discussing the type, read and follow directions "strategy".

At a Corvallis City Club event several years ago, discussing the type, read and follow directions “strategy”.

A big part of the problem is their past experiences with paid consultants.  I tell them to maintain and cultivate their specific area of expertise, but in some ways…become a jack of all trades.  If you don’t have a basic understanding of a product, tool or task, than how can you assess if the consultant you are paying is doing their job?  I met with someone years ago that was paying a  web/social media consultant $30,000/year.  Thanks to the state and federal funding the SBDC receives, we are able to give clients free advising.  My first piece of free advice was fire your consultant; they have done nothing for your online presence.  I preceded to give them the basic tools that will prevent them from making the same mistake again.

So…if you have Siri (and especially if you don’t), take sometime to just type, read and follow directions before you just ask an “expert” how to solve your problem.  As my dad used to say, “be careful in asking advice from someone who stands to monetarily benefit.”


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Print is dead? Not when you get down to Brass tacks…

Print is not dead, but it seems to be getting demoted and in the case of newsweek…fired! In a recent article by Kai Ryssdal, Newsweek magazine calls it quits, Kai points out what many are calling the inevitable, but is hesitant in his praise of the move saying, “Newsweek may or may not make it, but what this does is say — more and more and more —  that news and media are going to live digitally. That’s where we have to go.”

I believe print should still exist and folks should transition into digital slowly, or “have a high tolerance for unproven investment,” according to Barry Diller, whose company IAC has a controlling stake in Newsweek Daily Beast. Although some have been saying print is dead since 1984: Egon’s thoughts on print in Ghostbusters.

At Brass Media Inc., the digital transition was happening as I first began working for the 10-year-old company.  At Brass we believe print is important, but it may be better suited existing as  a co-pilot. Brass started out as a magazine and now their secret sauce is in an Exchange of information.  Our target audience are young adults and our goal is interesting topics on the Money side of Life.

Forbes put forth a short article, Print is Dead? Not so Fast., gets to the point better than I do. They talk about some of the advantages of print, like tangibility, credibility, branding, target marketing, more engaging and less print ads and show an example of how QR Codes could play a role in bridging the digital gap.  In the end, as the article concludes it perfectly: “Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.”  So think twice before delving into dogmatic change.


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Bank Spotlight: Middleburg Bank – The Mascot Approach to Marketing

Adopting a mascot at your financial institution could significantly help engagement with your customers, while making your branding efforts easier.  One financial institution, Middleburg Bank, has not necessarily out foxed anyone, but rather out focused other banks in their marketing approach around their “spokesfox”, Mosby.

As Mosby says on Middleburg Bank’s Website: ” I have been associated with the Bank since 1924, when the first office of Middleburg Bank opened across from the Red Fox Inn. ‘Why is a fox associated with Middleburg Bank?’ you might ask. Well, for generations, we foxes have long been a part of the culture of Middleburg and the surrounding areas of Virginia. As the fox is an intelligent, resourceful animal (if I do say so myself), I was chosen to represent the spirit of the bank and I’ve been an integral part of the Bank’s identity for many years. A couple of years ago, the Bank wisely made the decision to feature me as their “spokesfox” and since that time, my role within the Bank has continued to grow. In fact, last month Gary let me take over the Bank’s Facebook page and interact there with our many clients and fans.”

I’m on hundreds of bank websites/social media pages each week and Middleburg Bank really stands out, thanks to Mosby.  In talking to Robert Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Middleburg Bank, he says that without Mosby, their marketing would look very different “with messages built around products, rates and commitment to the community.  While we still touch on some of those things in our
current marketing, using Mosby has allowed us to develop a distinctive identity, voice and personality.  We believe that over the long haul, this approach will drive the brand’s likeability and help separate us from the pack.”

I can identify with this, stemming from a couple of my own experiences.  Universities use mascot’s for the same purpose as banks; to symbolize the identity of the group, school, city or community for which it represents.   I was the Cougar mascot (Butch T. Cougar) of Washington State University.  I was surprised about how much time I had to put in to understand the personality of Washington State’s beloved mascot.  The Cougar mascot before me was Blitz the Seahawk for the Seattle Seahawks and he helped train me.  This may sound silly, but there were three of us all playing the role of Butch T. Cougar and we all needed to have the same walk, mannerisms etc.  They took this serious enough that I was not allowed to tell anyone who I was.   It was to remain a secret until right before I graduated.

Yet another example comes from when I did a couple of appearances as Chase the Dog, while working for Chase Bank.  Now, I was there during the “fun” occupy movement and let’s just say Chase wasn’t seen as the best bank in the universe, yet there was more engagement happening in our branch around a mascot that couldn’t talk then we had prior.  People could identify with the personality of a dog; loyal, happy, loveable and eager to meet new people.

So what’s the point?  Well, so many financial institutions have enough people working on marketing, that it’s hard to find one voice or one personality.  Having one voice and personality is so important and nobody knows what that voice and personality looks and sounds like better than the bank.  There is an Irish Proverb that says, “The fox never found a better messenger than himself.” This is so important because if someone else does all the work, you may have a very different voice/personality and this could compromise your brand.  When asked by folks why I love Washington State so much, all I have to do is describe the personality of the mascot I worked so hard to become; Courageous no matter what, community focused, VERY spirited, kind, and willing to waive the flag anytime, anywhere.  How do you easily describe your bank’s voice/personality without your financial institution just adding to all the white noise? I know how Middleburg Bank does…

Middleburg Bank’s Website Logo