It wasn’t WaMu’s fault
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 March 2010
At least, it wasn’t the fault of the WaMu brand
Reports today that the head of a congressional panel charged Washington Mutual with being a “mortgage bomb” made me chuckle a bit.
That’s because most thought the reason WaMu failed was due to its branding and marketing, which was different (and more focused) than anyone else in the category. WaMu scared the industry because it was taking market share by being different and better than the competition.
“WaMu represented a true brand face – a reflection of a target audience that thought banking was too complicated and stuffy for its own good – that stood out from the competition.”
It was, as Senator Carl Levin of Michigan noted, shoddy loans with little documentation and shaky paperwork that doomed the bank.
It wasn’t WaMu’s marketing approach, which was easily dismissed but actually quite effective. If you can’t remember, the bank positioned itself as kind of hip and even silly, and even had a slightly different model in its branches. One spot showed a huge man dreaming of being safe by wearing pajamas and playing with puppies. Another showed a couple residing inside a kangaroo’s pouch.
In the world of bank marketing, where everything looks like Bank of America, it was a series that was often mocked by just the folks who were losing market share. WaMu represented a true brand face – a reflection of a target audience that thought banking was too complicated and stuffy for its own good – that stood out from the competition.
I bring this up because we have been doing a lot of work with clients in the financial sector recently, and many unfairly see the failure of WaMu as a marketing story.
I agree with Sen. Levin. It was operational failures that doomeed them. WaMu’s marketing was a prescription for success its former competitors should take heed.
ESPN+ Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 23 January 2019 UFC sets the future of ESPN+ UFC fans are ushering in the future of streaming television, and ESPN+ is reaping the rewards. The streaming app collected more than a half million new subscribers after...
Great British Bake Off Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 22 January 2019 Turn off Hell’s Kitchen, tune into The Great British Bake Off For years, my wife and I dawdled with lackluster cooking shows. Gordon Ramsey, whose brand now reeks of cliche, leads a litany...
Chevy ads Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 21 January 2019 Toyota calls BS on Chevy ads Ha ha ha. It’s about time someone (other than me) called bullshit on the Chevy ads that are insipid at worst, outright deceiving at best.You know the series of ads. The...