‘Do It Right’: 5 Questions With Ally Financial Services CMO Andrea Riley

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Ally Financial Bank drone 2017 Charlotte NC

Ally Financial isn’t resting on its laurels as a leading U.S. digital financial services company and a top 25 U.S. financial holding company. Serving consumers, businesses, automotive dealers and corporate clients with a legacy dating back to 1919, the company rebranded from GMAC in 2009. As of June 2017, Ally had approximately $164.3 billion in assets.

Its Ally Bank unit is delivering on its brand promise to ‘Do It Right for its Customers’ by celebrating National Online Bank Day 2017—held each year on the second Monday of October—with a ‘You’re in Charge’ giveaway and brand activation.

The banking subsidiary of Ally Financial delivered phone chargers to consumers via a customized drone at the Carolina Place mall in Charlotte, North Carolina—a significant setting as the brand’s (expanding) corporate headquarters.

In line with Ally’s commitment to do “Seriously Anything” for its customers, the bank staged the innovative experience to highlight the importance of helping consumers stay connected and make banking easy and stress-free.

Andrea_Riley_AllyFinancial squareFor more insights, we spoke with Ally Financial Services Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Riley (right).

Andrea, what is the significance of National Online Bank Day to the Ally brand?

This past Monday marked the third annual National Online Bank Day, which was established by Ally Bank in 2015 to raise awareness of the convenience of online banking when traditional banks are closed for Columbus Day.

Ally is known to be disruptive when it comes to how we reach consumers, so this year we commissioned Swiss company Aerotain to build a giant, plum-colored, helium-filled drone to surprise and delight consumers at a local mall in Charlotte where our bank’s corporate center is based.

Part balloon, part quadcopter and 100 percent crowd-friendly, the Ally drone whizzed around the mall atrium, hovering in front of unsuspecting shoppers—from children to grandparents—to safely deliver free phone chargers.

We had lots of interaction with the drone and people loved it. The idea behind the activation is simple. You can’t do online banking if your phone is dead, so Ally is providing a tool to keep your phone charged—and consumers in charge—of online banking.

It continues our approach around clever wit and being disruptive, and it shows Ally is willing to do—seriously—anything to keep our customers connected.

Kiplinger recently named Ally best bank for millennials, along with the best Internet bank, in America. What do millennial customers want, and how is Ally delivering that to them?

Millennial customers expect a convenient, frictionless and simple banking experience that allows them the flexibility to bank on their own terms, while making their money work hard for them.

Ally understands what Millennials want, so we’ve created straightforward and competitive banking offerings which provide strong mobile and digital features this generation expects, including mobile banking with electronic check deposit: Popmoney, which allows you to send and receive money electronically, and Ally Assist, a virtual assistant that enhances the Ally Mobile Banking app user experience. Ally has a strong presence on social media too, which is key to reaching and engaging this demographic.

The brand is a relentless “ally” to customers of all ages and demographics. What are some examples of products or features that show how you stay customer-centric?

Lots of financial services companies talk about being customer-centric, but for Ally, it’s at the center of how we emerged as a brand–the first online-only bank, allowing consumers the convenience and ease to take control of their banking experience. We solved for many pain points at that time—including ATM fees and access to customer service—and we continue to improve our services with the customer in mind.

We take many opportunities to talk with our customers and make improvements based on their feedback. This is evident in our user interface and intuitive mobile experience. We also do things to simplify things for our customers. For example, we created the “dejargonator” tool which breaks down complicated financial terms on our website. If you come across a term that’s confusing, you can hover your mouse over it and we’ll explain it in plain English.

What are you doing internally—in terms of diversity, women’s leadership, women in tech—to make sure your culture matches what you’re promising externally?

At Ally, we think of our brand at the heart of our value proposition. We are not just a company that delivers products and services—we are 8,000 people that truly care about our business, our customers and our communities—and that is a critically important business asset. We believe the only way that you can have a strong brand is with a strong culture, and a focus on making sure that employees represent the brand every day.

“Do It Right” is our brand mantra, and applies to how we aim to serve customers, and how we do our work and interact internally. To ignite our brand internally, we dedicated a whole “Do It Right” week, where we went on the road and talked to employees across the country about the campaign and the importance of living up to the brand promise.

“Do It Right” is also at the core of how Ally is run as a business, including the way that we think about the different services and benefits we offer employees. For example, Ally is one of the first companies to launch a practice where we don’t ask for salary history and instead focus on the role itself, and the experience, talent and cultural fit of the individual.

We also offer mentorship programs and career rotational programs to help our employees reach their full career potential, as well as progressive policies and benefits that focus on the modern family, such as medical coverage for same-sex and domestic couples and parental leave for both new mothers and fathers.

As a purpose-driven company, we are also integrating “Do It Right” into our CSR initiatives and giving back to the communities in which we work and live.

You pioneered chatbots with Ally Assist. Where else is Ally showing up in this world of connected, smart devices?

Consistent with our focus on enhancing the overall banking experience and customer journey with disruptive technologies, we are exploring new connected, smart device offerings and will make announcements soon.

Get more insights in our Q&A series and suggest a Q&A via editor@brandchannel.com.

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