Soto also believes issue-oriented activism marketing can work well if done authentically. “Corporations are trying to get into activist trends while, at the same time, consumers are savvier than ever. Consumers can identify when this is done because it’s a part of the company’s brand and when it’s done just to gain some relevance.”
Some of Vantage West’s members raised the issue of big banks and their role in Tucson and Phoenix communities. After realizing that even some of its own members didn’t fully grasp the differences between credit unions and banks, Vantage West embarked on a bold, full-market campaign dubbed “Banks Own You, You Own Us.”
Vantage West had already laid the groundwork as an institution that values building up the communities it serves, so the campaign is seen as an authentic, natural outgrowth of the brand, not an afterthought.
“It talks about the power a credit union gives the consumer to say, ‘I’m not going to bank with a big bank anymore. I’m going to go somewhere that’s committed to financial well-being for me and the community,’” Soto says.
The multichannel campaign kicked off with a 30-second awareness video emphasizing key aspects of the difference: ownership and control. Audiences could then filter through a series of 15-second videos hosted by a local media personality.
“Once we’ve identified an audience that shares our values, the incentives we offer to overcome the friction to switch are more effective,” Soto says. “Trust me, nobody wants to go through switching their financial institutions.”
The campaign also illustrates the care needed in telling brand stories in multiple languages. Vantage West translated some of the campaign into Spanish, but the word “own” doesn’t have an exact English equivalent.
The print ad, translated from Spanish back into English, reads, “Banks own you. At Vantage West, you are in charge,” emphasizing the control aspect of ownership.
Soto says it’s important to be inclusive when approaching multicultural marketing and avoid focusing too narrowly on one multicultural market segment.
“I’ve seen a number of brands, both in financial services and other industries, blatantly say something like, ‘We’re reaching out to you because you’re Hispanic.’ That means if you don’t happen to be part of that group, you can disregard the message,” Soto says.
“It’s important to create marketing that’s inclusive and reaches out to diverse audiences but doesn’t alienate others.”