When planning our current marketing campaign, we sat in a room and covered all the usual suspects; social media, radio ads, billboards, blogging, guest posting, contests, etc. I think someone even used the term “cross-channel synergy” at one point, but probably not; they fire you for that kind of thing round these parts. Eventually we decided that, as a company long known for its conservativeness, we should try something completely different. Pythonesque, you might say.
“What would grab peoples’ attention and be compelling?” we asked ourselves.
You could hear a pin drop. Not a “cross-channel synergy” or a “take it to the next level” was uttered. I think someone mumbled “ballpark”, but I might have imagined it. Then our eyes collectively misted over, and we went into a marketing grok right there in Conference Room Number Six Hundred and Forty-Two…And when we emerged from the mallow haze, the Comic Strip Marketing Tool was born!*
“You want to target C-suite bankers with a comic book?!?” our CEO, Mark Charette asked, incredulous, but warming to the idea instantly, we could tell.
“Yeah, pretty good, huh?”
“It’s freakin’ brilliant! Where do we start?”
Ya hear that? Where do we start? We start. Where do WE st- anyway, where do you start? This was a good question. And don’t say “at the beginning”, Sonny Jim, or I’ll be all over you like ice water on Facebook. (I know; that was so last summer)
We started by visualizing what kinds of things keep bank CEOs up at night, especially those with under-performing branches. The image of a poor guy, fretting in anticipation of his next shareholders’ meeting, created the scene we were looking for. Some of these floundering CEOs didn’t even know Solidus existed, never mind the single-source solution we offered. And we really wanted to change that.
Thankfully, our own CEO was prepared to take a chance on this concept. Knowing that most gentlemen of a certain age enjoyed Marvel and DC comics as young lads, and ladies too, for that matter, we decided to go for a retro look with a superhero angle.
We then wrote a script based on the fact that this innovative company (Solidus) has pioneered a new approach to design and building, namely integrated project delivery. Our value proposition doesn’t stop at the more efficient way we plan and build though. Oh no. That’s only the beginning. We also had to convey how our creations were designed to save clients money far into the future.
On top of that, we had to characterize the financial services industry as an industry undergoing massive changes. In fact, it was these very changes that were keeping our poor CEOs up at night.
The irony is this: If they would just embrace these changes and let us do the heavy lifting, all their worries would be over.
As we developed the script, we decided to merge cartoons with real photographs of bank and credit union interiors designed and built by Solidus. Our CEO, Mark Charette, makes an appearance, as he guides the insomniac CEO through the IPD experience and explains how we’ll save him a lot of money for years to come.
Like many cartoons, it’s the story of one person facing what he believes are insurmountable odds, only to escape a dark fate by opening his mind to the possibilities.
We’re lucky; our value proposition is truly interesting and different, but having said that it’s difficult to imagine any line of business that isn’t made instantly more engrossing by presenting it as a comic.
“Cartoonifying” our already compelling business model was like giving it a big dose of pixie dust. We were excited.
We decided to package the comics in a transparent envelope. That way, the C-suite recipients would see the quality of what lay within before they even opened it (or dropped it straight in the trash). We used high-end stock, and the cover – well, let me just say we excelled ourselves there (see above).
It showed a CEO, desperately clinging to the façade of his bank, fingernails trailing scratch marks as he slipped downwards, while a “smart” ATM machine mocked him from the ground like a cackling alien robot. The scene was drawn from a dramatic angle, and it was superb. It was hard to imagine any self-respecting financial industry CEO not wanting to read that story.
So…we mailed around 2,700 copies, and waited…Tune in next time, and find out what happened.
*In reality, Fearless Futurist Rex Miller and cartoonist the Mighty Michael Lagocki swooped in with the idea, and we at Solidus thought it sounded like a blast. We think you will, too.