I went to Washington Mutual today, depositing a few checks. While I was filling out the paperwork, a voice boomed through the Intercom: “It’s noon. Everbody: 3,2,1…” All employees got up and exclaimed “Whoo Hoo”.
Now does that get you excited and don’t you just want to rush out and do more business with Washington Mutual? Actually, I almost closed my account on the spot.
Besides the association with Homer Simpson and a possible missspelling (Homer says: Woo Hoo!), the Whoo Hoo campaign is a good example (Or a really bad one!) for a brand that doesn’t listen. A brand is the most important asset of a business. It tells people what you are, who you are, what you stand for and what people can expect from you when they interact with you.
Washington Mutual explains in a press release that “through ongoing brand tracking, we know we always outperform our peers when it comes to being emotionally relevant to people. Whether it’s been in focus groups or surveys, we hear that WaMu is a bank that truly cares about the consumer.”
How does the new campaign show that they care about the consumer? How does a person feel when they are debating loans or opening business accounts and the employee jumps up in mid-sentence and screams “Whoo Hoo?” How does this brand experience retain or even generate customers? What does “Whoo Hoo” stand for? Does this mean we’re going to have a great time while banking at WaMu?
People have serious business to take care of when they go to banks. They want the best advice, the best rates, the lowest fees and quick service. They want to be taken seriously, want to be treated as important customers. “Whoo Hoo” just shows people how self-indulgent and removed from real people WaMu is. It shows that they don’t care about the needs and desires of people. Instead, they pushed communication out that might have played well in a boardroom but doesn’t connect with any of us.
WaMu should take a hard look at the ING brand. Their brand promise: “a commitment to providing the financial services solutions our customers value.” Their advertising promises the experience they’re providing: Simple, easy, customer-centric. And ING delivers on that promise throughout each and every touch point.
Now that’s worth a hearty Homer “Woo Hoo”.