Goldman Sachs partnered with tech giant Apple to launch its first credit card earlier this year – for the bank it was another step in its consumer-facing journey.

Since 2016, Marcus, its consumer investment group, has raised $55 billion in deposits and generated $5 billion in loans, but David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs has described the Apple Card as “the most successful credit card launch ever,” and it has been Goldman’s most prominent move into the consumer space. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Goldman Sachs built a presence in consumer banking)

For a century-and-a-half, consumer marketing was rarely a consideration at Goldman Sachs.

That changed when Dustin Cohn – who currently serves as the organization’s head/brand and marketing, consumer and investment management – joined the company in late 2015. His expertise fed into the 2016 launch of Marcus, which would see the bank adopt a “friendlier” tone.

“I don't think the financial services industry does marketing very well and does brand[ing] very well,” explained Cohn. “And I don't want to create a commodity. I want to create a brand that people want to be a part of.”

Research with over 10,000 consumers indicated it may face a challenge, as it “conjured up a lot of the negativity around Goldman Sachs. People just had no experience with the brand. It was this sort of mysterious entity; they just believed whatever they read about it,” Cohn said.

However, as Cohn’s team began to dig into the research and formulate the Marcus concept, they realised there was a certain respect beneath the scepticism. “They were saying, ‘These guys are financial experts. They've been around for 150 years and I would trust them with my money. I would trust them with my Social Security number. I would trust providing them with information about my income.’

“And so, all of a sudden, it really changed the whole narrative to have something ‘By Goldman Sachs,’ because that signaled something different.”

This type of brand building – even for a new division within the massive enterprise – was a delicate, untraditional step for the Goldman leadership team. However, Cohn noted the company’s trust in their experts. “There is an amazing amount of trust and collaboration at the firm. And there was a willingness to learn and recognize that [advertising] is not part of the company’s core business.”

What’s more, this feeds into Goldman’s capability around its core business. “In terms of being able to market from a B2B standpoint, the world of B2B can learn a lot from B2C and vice versa. That's really how we're thinking about our marketing”.

Sourced from WARC