Anatomy of an Ad Campaign: A quirky approach to banking

23 June, 2015 (12:11) | Blog | By: admin

By Leslie Collins with the Kansas City Business Journal

The Kansas City Business Journal continues a series, Anatomy of an Ad Campaign, to highlight area ad agencies and their work. This week features BYM Agency, an Overland Park-based advertising agency, and the “Bank Happy” rebranding campaign for Mazuma Credit Union.

Client relationship: Agency of record

Target audience: Tech savvy, aspiring 18 to 49-year-olds living in the Greater Kansas City area.

BYM designed “swag” for Mazuma customers, like this plastic tumbler. Instead of numerical measurements, the tumbler uses increments of “Feelin’ good…” and “I’m invincible!”

Here’s a closer look at some of the T-shirts Mazuma employees now wear to work. One says, “Going through withdrawal? We missed you, too.”

T Shirt Back

The challenge: Mazuma Credit Union was preparing to open its new headquarters in Overland Park and had recently expanded its membership services to serve its first Kansas area: Johnson County. The rebranding initiative needed to appeal to both sides of the state line and resonate with aspiring adults. BYM, which also rebranded last year from Beyond Marketing LLC, needed to define Mazuma’s niche in order to differentiate it from the myriad banking options in Johnson County.

Through focus groups and surveys, BYM learned that the credit union’s brand awareness “was very low,” BYM COO Kat Anstine said.

“Essentially, they weren’t on the map,” she said.

Those who had heard of Mazuma believed it only catered to the low-income demographic, since its previous headquarters was off of Troost Avenue in Kansas City, said Jeff Birnbaum, BYM account and content manager.

BYM needed to get Mazuma “on the map,” so it led the credit union through a discovery process to define the brand essence. Key traits and values emerged, such as “quirky,” “fun” and “aspiring.” It eventually led to the tagline “Bank Happy.”

“It really was, ‘What can we own that nobody else here can own?'” Birnbaum said. “Somewhere along the line, being fun and happy in banking had become taboo. You had to be serious. … Nobody in this market had claimed, ‘Bank Happy.'”

“Bank Happy” reflected Mazuma’s revamped internal culture, where the focus became making Mazuma a more enjoyable place to work, Anstine said. The bank had adopted a more casual atmosphere, and employees participated in dance breaks in the lobby and invited customers to join in.

“We wanted to make sure we took that to the next level,” Anstine said.

The plan

BYM’s Bank Happy campaign included a number of initiatives: brochures that took a lighthearted, conversational tone; quirky business cards; a new website; a revamped blog; the “Mazuma Mike” spokesperson; and TV commercials – a first for Mazuma. BYM also created colorful wall graphics with clever statements for Mazuma’s branches.

Prior to the rebranding, Mazuma employees wore traditional business attire. Now, they don jeans and BYM-designed T-shirts with quips such as, “Without you, we’re just a bunch of loaners” and “Super human? Nah, I’m a Mazuman.”

As for Mazuma Mike, Birnbaum thought of the initial concept in the shower. Other area banks didn’t have a spokesperson, and BYM wanted to add a human element to the campaign. He envisioned a character that was quirky and misunderstood — a hybrid of Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family” and Michael Scott from “The Office.”

“He was just a playful, fun-loving guy who just didn’t quite connect things right,” he said.

In one TV commercial, Mazuma Mike says, “I bank at Mazuma and I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t. First, they keep calling me a member, like I’m in some sort of club. I hate clubs.” The commercial flashes back to his clubbing experience, where a woman poked him in the eye on the dance floor and he kept botching the names of drinks when ordering.

The commercial ends with, “A few reasons not to join, but clearly no good ones.”

Mazuma Mike now has his own Facebook page and a video blog on YouTube. It’s all about creating brand awareness and giving the brand a personality, Birnbaum said. And Mike now is a hardcore fan of Mazuma.

Mazuma’s blog capitalizes on the Bank Happy theme by “delivering smiles.” It resembles BuzzFeed and features locally-driven content, such as “8 times thunderstorms in Kansas City looked like an alien invasion,” and “7 weird foods you should try slathering in Jack Stack BBQ sauce.”

Campaign outcome

Following the rebranding campaign that launched in April 2014, Mazuma saw record growth in membership numbers. It also broke records in loan volume. A post-rebranding survey showed brand awareness jumped 7 percent over the pre-rebranding survey. Mazuma’s blog also saw growth. The previous blog had 2,300 views in one year. The revamped blog scored 240,000 views over the course of a year. The posts on why MTV should film the “Real World” in Kansas City and “21 signs you’re a Kansas City hipster” went viral and garnered a combined 33,000 views in one week.

BYM’s work earned multiple awards, including Best in Category for Brand/Corporate Identity, Best Website and Best Social Media in the Credit Union National Association’s Diamond Awards. It also won three Marketing Association of Credit Unions Awards during the national conference in San Francisco. BYM earned gold in broadcast/video and social media and silver in the website category.

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