Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Original

What comes to mind when you think of the letter V? I naturally think of Verity, and I’m pretty confident that most of my coworkers do as well. The big orange V is part of our culture here at Verity. We get pleasure and a sense of pride from seeing it displayed larger than life on our headquarters building at Northgate.

I also think a lot of us here feel a connection to what we call Verity orange -- the specific PMS color we use on our website and marketing materials. I’ve heard coworkers use the term “Verity orange” in every day conversation, to describe the color of a flower or a t-shirt or even a car. I know a few of us around here (I won’t name names, but you know who you are) feel a certain sense of ownership over that color, like we invented or created it. It shocks us to see the color used in places that aren’t related to Verity. Don’t they have to get our permission to use that color? How dare they!

I’ve noticed lately that the color orange has been used a lot more in marketing and advertising. Think of Vonage and WAMU. Yes, WAMU is using orange now! Also, the letter V is becoming more popular. The other night I saw a commercial for Viactiv, a nutritional supplement for women. The commercial draws attention to V-shaped things: a peace sign made with two fingers or a pair of open scissors. I went to the Viactiv website and they have a “V Spirit” club you can join to get email updates and newsletters about nutrition. I have V Spirit already, thank you.

A couple years ago, it seemed like Verity had the market on orange and Vs. It looks like the trend has caught on. Everyone wants to be vivacious, victorious and full of vitality. But there is one thing we will always be that these others won’t – the original orange V!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

From Dull to Brilliant

As a marketer, I pay close attention to marketing and advertising campaigns. I scrutinize television commercials and glossy magazine ads and I make mental notes about them: how do they make me feel, what do I like or dislike, what design techniques are used, who are they targeting? I take note of billboards that catch my eye and of radio commercials I listen to the whole way through. I even read my junk mail!

I have my favorite ads that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like Volkswagon, Target and Dove. Then, there are ads I always seem to notice, like Nike, Got Milk and Absolut Vodka. Somehow, just watching or looking at a Nike ad gives me a sense of strength and confidence, like I could walk out the door and run 10 miles with no problem. Finally, there are ads that I just cannot watch or listen to without feeling uncomfortable or annoyed. A few that come to mind are most beer, Old Navy and McDonalds commercials, and up until recently, Tom Shane radio ads.

It wasn’t long ago that I used to turn the station on my radio as soon as I heard Tom Shane’s monotone and nap-inducing voice. I especially disliked the commercials where he gave advice to people about picking out jewelry. The following is not an actual transcript of a Tom Shane commercial.

    Woman: “Tom, I want to make sure my fiancé picks out the ring I want, not the ring he thinks I want.
    Tom: “hmmmm”
    Woman: “But I don’t want to be bossy and tell him what to do. I want him to think he knows what he’s doing.”
    Tom: “uh-huh.”
    Woman: “But if he picks out the wrong ring I will be very upset and just might call the whole thing off.”
    Tom: “oh?” And then Tom explains to the woman how to drop hints to her fiancé about how to pick out the right rock, without making him feel emasculated.
For the longest time I never even heard a complete Tom Shane commercial, but a few months ago I caught the very end of one with the new catchy tagline, “He’s dull, but he’s brilliant. Shane.” Did I hear that right? Is this a joke? Is someone making fun of Tom? Well, it turns out someone was, and that someone was Tom!

Now I love Tom Shane commercials, especially the television ads where you never actually see his face. They are funny and endearing and make his personality much more accessible. I would actually consider buying jewelry from him now because I feel like I know him, like I’d be giving my hard-earned dollars to a friend, not just some guy on the radio.

And that's the power of good marketing. When you take one person's perceptions about a certain product or company and turn them completely around. All it took was a catchy tune and a sense of humor to make me a Tom Shane fan.

I have to note that the above is only my personal opinion and is not based on any kind of scientific research or public opinion surveys.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Extrodinary Feats in Service - February's Winner

At Verity we have four vision statments which provide the direction for the type of instituion we want to be as we grow into the future. The first of these vision statements reads that "We will set the standard for quality of service and innovation for financial institutions." The winner of this month Extrodinary Feats Award is not a single individual but instead an entire branch, who is helping push our credit union towards the acheivement of this vision statement.

What makes this nomination even more impressive is that it came from an actual member. Here is what they said about their banking relationship with our Alderwood Branch.

Dear Mr. Hayes (that is our CEO),

I am writing to let you know about your wonderful employees at the Alderwood branch. I have never seen a bank or credit union with this kind of rapport with it's customers. Specifically, I am referring to Katie Aderhold, Mindy Manning, Summer Johnson and Jason Bui.

I have been a member of Verity since December of 2004 and right away I was very impressed with the very comfortable home-style atmosphere created by them. It is very unusual.
Last Year, Summer Johnson was extremely helpful in helping my wife and I secure a mortgage loan during our move from California to Washington. I really commend her for her work, professionalism and very friendly manner during that time. She helped to make our transition here easy and very painless.

All this past year, Mindy and especially Katie have been very helpful in taking care of my banking needs, setting up my bill payment plans, dealing with my previous bank, all other necessary transactions and most recently, setting up an emergency auto loan.

Jason (and his supervisor Allen Mendoza) were particularly patient and thoughtful in taking care of all necessary paperwork in a very timely manner to get that important loan, with Mindy's help too.

These folks actually make going to the credit union a very enjoyable experience. Most of the time (with my previous bank), I thought of going to the "bank" as a necessary task. But it is very different with the folks at the Adlerwood branch of your credit union. I have recommended it to my "new" co-workers and to others I have met here in Washington. My recommendation to you is to reward them and keep them as happy employees. Thank you very much. Knowing them, I'm sure that they maintain the same level of warmth, courtesy and professionalism at that office. I look forward to working with your credit union for a very long time to come (thanks to them).

Best Regards,
A Very Happy Member