Ally Bank, the financial services provider, used a three-pronged formula – based around the notions of “incite”, “improve” and “inspire” – as it sought to get “back to basics” with its brand.

Andrea Brimmer, the company’s chief marketing and PR officer, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Masters of B2B Marketing Conference.

More specifically, she explained that Ally Bank had been a true category disruptor when it launched in 2009 as a digital pioneer that addressed traditional customer pain points, all while established players grappled with the financial crisis.

“Our brand was our secret weapon,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How a “back to basics” approach fueled Ally Bank’s brand renewal.)

But as the economic recovery took hold, the industry’s legacy players began to invest heavily in digital and a new breed of fintech enterprises drove a fresh wave of innovation. “Suddenly, we weren’t feeling so unique,” Brimmer said.

Last year, using a “back to basics” framework, Ally set out to renew its commitment to creative disruption and drive growth from all channels.

The first principle was around the term “incite”, and involved exposing the banking industry’s on-going inadequacies, just as Ally Bank had originally done in its marketing.

Many banks “had changed just enough to make it seem like they cared about the consumer. We wanted to call that out," Brimmer said.

A second guidepost for the brand was to “improve” on stating its value proposition. "We wanted to openly commit … to delivering the most useful products and services possible," she continued.

The third area of focus was to “inspire”, according to Brimmer. “Openly showing our values and demonstrating the purpose that we were born out of as a brand” was a vital aim, she said.

While financial services marketing often defaults to the rational, Brimmer argued more is required. “There has to be useful disruption. There has to be a value exchange if you are going to get people to stop their thumb and pay attention to your brand,” she said.

“This is still a business of the heart," she asserted. “You interact with the brands that you love. You don’t interact with the brands that have the best algorithm.”

Sourced from WARC