I needed to refinance my house recently. And if you’ve ever refinanced, or taken a mortgage, you know how time-consuming it can be. The bank needs lots of information about you. They need to know you’re employed. They need to know how much you make. Your credit score. Pay stubs. Assets. Statements. A letter from your dog walker. They want it all.
I tried to do it the usual way. I asked a colleague. He told me he had a great mortgage guy from Bank of America. I gave him a call. He was smart. He spoke in hushed tones about how to work the system. He had just the right loan for me. He told me to send him some an email saying I needed a certain rate and that way he could tell his bosses that he fought the good fight. I did. I had a guy on the inside. He was confident he could help me.
Then he handed me off to other people. These were people I hadn’t talked to. They needed stuff. All of the stuff above (minus the dog walker letter) and more. How did they tell me they needed that stuff? Well, they emailed me. And they sent me packages in the mail. This is how it has been done for twenty years, I told myself. I tried to keep up. I really did.
But I have a job. And I get a lot of emails. And I don’t always check my mail when I get home late. So stuff started to slip. I got more emails. I got voicemail messages. I was told I had stuff to do. And it was on me to get it done. I created to-do lists for myself. I stressed. I missed meetings because I was looking for this statement or that one. I sent messages to my HR people asking for the things I still didn’t have. I called banks and brokerages that I had forgotten the passwords to and asked them to reset those passwords. And then I forgot the passwords again.
One day, I got a letter in the mail saying that my loan status was terminated. I called my guy. He said that I had missed some information and the underwriters needed it and didn’t I check my mail? He started the process over again. But now there was a new wrinkle. My credit score had dropped a bit, (possibly owing to the fact that he had been checking my credit?) so he wasn’t sure he could get me the same rate. He would try, though. Expect a call from one of his associates. I had to email him a few times to make this happen.
So we started again. I now had a new to-do list. The old pay stubs wouldn’t do. I needed new ones. And the statement on my brokerage wasn’t complete enough. And could I fax it all to them? Fax? Honestly? As in facsimile machine. A device patented in 1843. But then it was called the Electric Printing Telegraph.
I called my inside guy. I asked why nobody had called me to tell me I was late on things. And what was happening now. He seemed annoyed to have to talk to me. He told me that I had dropped the ball. He wasn’t rude. But he made it clear that it had been incumbent upon me to do the work and if I couldn’t do it in their system then he couldn’t help me much. But he was trying.
I was angry. I told him that I was in a service business, too. And if my client had “dropped the ball” on approving a television spot that had to ship, it would be my job to make sure to get them on the phone. Failure to do this would be the end of my relationship with my client. He didn’t see it that way. There were procedures. I didn’t follow them. In the end, I felt like just another number in BofA’s database. Not the best brand experience. I told him to stop the new loan, refund my money and that I’d be looking elsewhere for my loan.
The next week I got seven (yes, seven!) duplicate disclosures for the new loan. I called my guy and asked if he was pranking me. At this point, I could tell in his voice that I was a problem. He condescended to tell me that that’s how it works. He was looking at different products for me and each needed a disclosure mailed out. This was just how it was done. The disclosures had been sent out before our last conversation. But he had cancelled them all. He had refunded my money. Have a good day.
That’s when I found Rocket Mortgage. I had seen the ads saying you could get a mortgage on your phone. It was fast. It was new. It was to banks what Uber was to car services. I downloaded the app and applied. I expected the same crap. But this time at least I had all my documents ready. I wasn’t going to screw up again. Seriously, I felt bad about myself. Thanks Bank of America.
The first thing I noticed about the Quicken Loan experience (Rocket Mortgage is a Quicken product) was how it was all built around me. I was given one web page where all of my stuff would go. All of the documents could be uploaded there. All of the messages between me and my loan advisor would go there. And if I didn’t check it one day, I would get a text message telling me I needed to go check it out because there was stuff to do.
Somehow, the app knew how much my taxes were. It could even verify my employment by searching public databases (although this feature didn’t work for me, but I easily uploaded the documents they needed to the site.)
It was responsive. If I left a message in the morning, someone would reply before noon. If I had a question that needed clarification, someone would text me. And if I ever needed to know what was up, I could just check the page. There were no ads trying to sell me other things. This was a page dedicated to ME, with the sole job of closing my refinance as quickly and easily as possible.
I closed on the refinance last week. They sent a title company to my home to do it. At 7pm. I didn’t have to go to them. The only mail I got were my closing documents in a box with some fun branding on it that looked like it was top secret documents and said MORTGAGE POSSIBLE and FOR YOUR EYES ONLY on it. Cheesy, yes. But, again, it was the only mail I got from them. And it felt kind of special in a Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego sort of way.
The experience I had with Rocket Mortgage from Quicken was the best ad they ever could have made. I have since learned that they worked for five years on the coding. Thousands of engineers touched the final product. Putting thought and effort into customer experience is an Inspiring Action. It made me feel modern. (Nobody mentioned a fax machine.) It made me feel personal importance. (I had my own page.) And it was all so seamless that even I couldn’t screw it up.
How are you building your brand around your customers? What elements of experience design can you use to make the sales process more modern, personal and seamless? Or are you too busy making an ad that will get more people into the funnel, where they will have to do all the work?
At some point, it happens. The consensus begins to build that your campaign is a bit long in the tooth. Your attempts to freshen it up and tweak your way to ever-higher levels of ROI are yielding smaller returns, or worse. Plus, let’s face it; the people you work with are sick of it.
Do you take your “old friend” out to the back of the barn and shoot it in the head? That’s the way most advertisers do it. They work up a new campaign, either with their current agency or through a pitch process. They “test” it using a couple of focus groups and then roll it out. Unfortunately, this process yields more suffering than success.
Take a page from the direct marketer’s playbook. Test your new campaigns for real using matched sets of geographic markets. Identify two, three, or four similar markets and run an entire test campaign in 1 to 3 of them while you run your current/control campaign in one. Then track the results. When you have a clear winner, roll it out nationally. Yes, it takes a bit longer. But, remember that tortoise…
Today’s Google Doodle says it all. Alice Paul, a leader in the Suffragette movement of the 1910’s, was born today in 1885. The Suffragette movement can teach us a lot about Inspiring Action. People had been talking about a woman’s right to vote for decades. But these brave women knew that talking was not getting them anywhere. So they took action.
They did all the conventional actions that protests are known for. They marched. They organized. It got them some press. But it also got them ridiculed. Indeed, the name “Suffragettes” was first used in a derogatory way by a journalist, adding “ette” to the word suffrage to feminize the idea of freedom and thereby make it oh so cute. “Look at these adorable little women pretending to want to choose their leaders! Bless their pretty little heads!” But instead of fighting against that ridicule, they embraced it. They even hardened the G and began pronouncing it “suffraGETs” implying that they intended to GET everything they were asking for.
In 1909, Alice Paul and Amelia Brown took a brave action that they knew would land them in jail. They disguised themselves as cleaners at a banquet for English Prime Minister Asquith and other cabinet ministers. When Asquith stood up to speak, Paul and Brown threw their shoes and broke stained glass windows, screaming “Votes for women!” They were arrested and put in jail, where they began a hunger strike. Their jailers force-fed them with tubes.
The movement began selling a board game based on this story. It was called “Pank-A-Squith” (based on the names of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and Prime Minister Herbert Asquith). The goal of the race-style game was to reach the Houses of Parliament, the pinnacle of achievement for the campaign for Woman’s Suffrage. But first you had to get through the dark stuff. Like going to jail. And being force-fed. And laughed at. The game was sold in shops and could be ordered by mail. The proceeds went to the movement.
Board games were the social media of the time. Imagine daddy being forced to sit and play a game of “Pank-A-Squith” with his wife and two daughters. “Oh, poor Daddy! You’ve been thrown in jail for asking for your rights again!”
Next time you think your brand is too serious to make something fun or to engage in social media, remember Alice Paul and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. What would they do? Roll the dice. You might just win.
You trek to your local Sleepy’s. You bounce around from bed to bed, testing each out, all under the very ambitious belief that the 3-5 minutes you spend lying down will provide an accurate depiction of what a year’s worth of sleep will be like. Based off of that assumption, you proceed to spend roughly $1,000 on a mattress that you will inevitably have to haul up three flights of stairs, and somehow, some way, manage to fit through your tiny apartment door.
“Maneuver to the left!”
That doesn’t work.
“Tilt it to the right!”
Nope, that doesn’t work either. Eventually, with sore arms and an aching back, you get your overpriced mattress settled in its new home in your bedroom. But your precious Saturday afternoon? That has come and gone.
Enter Casper. An online, direct-economy mattress company that’s waking up a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Adopting the online retail model made famous by eyewear company Warby Parker, Casper is bypassing the middleman and delivering mattresses straight to your bedroom. The mattress, designed with cutting-edge technology, can be folded to fit inside of a box, providing Casper with a delivery capability unrivaled by competitors. Why is that significant? Well, by eliminating the 3rd-party supply cost, Casper can sell their mattress for a much cheaper price, increasing its value and putting smiles on customers’ faces.
For Casper, it was simple. Find out what your consumers are struggling with and provide a solution. By tackling the customer experience issue that has forever been associated with mattress shopping, Casper isolated itself from industry competitors who are still using outdated tactics. Casper put the customer first, and the customers have responded.
With a $55M investment this past June, Casper solidified itself as a pioneer of the direct-model revolution.
Retail giants like Sleepy’s cannot afford to sleep on Casper any longer.
For more on Casper, read our Inspiring Action Case Study HERE.
from: Shontell, Alyson. “There’s A ‘Warby Parker Of Mattresses’ That’s Shipping Fluffy, King-Size Beds In Boxes As Small As Golf Bags.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Sometimes we say, “actions, not ads,” but what if you find yourself working on an ad? What do you do?
Do you feel inspired to see your assignment as an action, not just an ad? Or do you feel like your company doesn’t value what you’re doing?
Does the challenge to make the ad not just creative, on brand, on strategy and effective, but also an action, feel inspiring? Or does it feel like we are freighting a banner or print ad brief with a standard that can only ever apply to a minority of what we do?
I think that sometimes inspiring action means inspiring actions. But sometimes it means ads that inspire action rather than just manipulate or motivate it.
For any given brand, we are likely to do both.
Instead of brand ads and direct ads, we’re doing inspiring actions and we’re inspiring action. Too often, brand ads just tell people what the brand claims to be about. And direct ads just try to bribe or manipulate people into responding.
The same brand could say one thing in its brand ads and act like a completely different company in its direct ads.
We say everything represents the brand. Even a selling email is an action that the company is taking. So, we don’t say, “No emails.” But we do say no brand-killing, manipulative soul-sucking emails.
We are not against ads. We’re against just ads. We’re against the idea that an ad is ever just a means of transmitting the information on the page or screen. Because the very fact of the ad as an action the company is taking speaks volumes about the company.
Are we saying that people think this deeply about ads.?Of course not. But it’s exactly because they react rather than consider, instinctively rather than rationally, that they judge this way.
When we say, “Actions, Not Ads,” we’re acting in a provocative way, hoping to provoke you to higher standards whenever you inspire, write, inform or work off of a brief.
Starting a new job can be a very exciting time in your life, but the process often leaves you feeling uneasy and intimidated. You’re the new kid on the block, doing your best to navigate your new surroundings and make a good impression. Most of us will quickly try to find allies in the office, but that isn’t always easy to do. It doesn’t help that stressful situations, back-to-back meetings and timely deadlines are not the ideal ingredients for relationship building.
In September 2015, Fast Company published an article breaking down the importance of having friends in the work place and why it is crucial to our happiness. The article claims that even though we spend most of our days at work, we are less likely to have friends in the office now in comparison to past years. Although this seems like a problem most directly affecting employees, it is also a troublesome problem for employers looking to maintain a positive, productive work place where they can groom long-term talent.
Since our mission at DiMassimo Goldstein is to Inspire Action, we set out to find a solution to this growing problem in the hopes of increasing employee happiness, productivity and motivation. The solution was to start a two-month lunch program that gives employees the opportunity to go to lunch with one another. Each lunch you get thirty dollars to spend with your buddy and the only guideline is that it should be with someone you don’t know very well.
Being one of the newer employees at DiGo, I wanted to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. My work life was very separate from my personal life when I first started in May, and although I loved my new role, I wasn’t as friendly with my coworkers as I had been at previous jobs. This new company program gave me the confidence and opportunity to reach out to coworkers in various departments including creative, strategy, operations, media and production. This also opened the door for me to reach out to senior staff members that I didn’t otherwise interact with on a regular basis.
There are so many reasons I have enjoyed this program, aside from my love of free food. After speaking with different people from different departments, I learned more about how each department functions on a day-to-day basis and ways the account team can better work with them. Having a reason to get out of the office and get some fresh air helped me focus better in the afternoon and increased my productivity level. I noticed I feel much more comfortable walking around the office, chatting with people before meetings or even bumping into them in the kitchen. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to ask advice from people with valuable experience which will not only help me grow at DiGo, but also as young person in the advertising industry.
When introducing this program to the company, Mark DiMassimo explained that the goal was for everyone to be able to say they have at least six friends in the office. After speaking with some of my new lunch buddies, I can confidently say that many of us have accomplished that goal and then some.
And they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch…