Before joining Amalgamated Bank, I spent the bulk of my career working at advertising agencies helping to define and shape the perception of some of the world’s top brands.
My first client was an Ohio-based manufacturing company best known for its fiberglass insulation product used to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The product competed against a few national brands and numerous cheaper store brands. So we differentiated it by dyeing the product pink, paying millions of dollars to license the Pink Panther cartoon character, and spending many more millions of dollars advertising how easy it was to install. When we researched how people felt about the company and the product, the traits that people associated with the brand were defined not by the company or the product, but by the traits of the Pink Panther.
Throughout my career, this has been the norm. I have worked on brands that use cartoons, celebrities, animals, television characters and other tricks of the trade in hopes of creating a brand persona that would make their companies appear smarter, friendlier, cooler, warmer, tougher, or just plain different from who they really were.
So imagine how refreshing it was for me to come here. What’s so unique about Amalgamated is that we don’t have to “create” who we are and what we stand for. For 94 years, we have “lived” who we are: a bank dedicated to helping people and companies make the world a better place.
It is rare in the banking industry – or any industry for that matter – to find a company so dedicated to its mission and to helping the people who need it most. We have developed products, services, policies and programs to ensure the rights of working people, immigrants, women, and the underserved. We adhere to strict environmental standards internally and don’t fund environmentally detrimental projects. We are the financial institution of businesses and organizations trying to make the world better, stronger, smarter, fairer and more compassionate. We only donate to political candidates who share our goal of creating a more just and sustainable society.
We do lots and lots of things - toy drives, food drives, “build days” with Habitat for Humanity, the fight for $15, B Corporation certification, the “Give-Back” program, Donate the Change, non-profit lending, affordable housing initiatives, accepting IDNYC as a primary form of ID to open an account – and they all add up to one thing: our authentic brand.
We can hold our heads high knowing that we don’t need a character or celebrity to define who we are or what we stand for. Our people, our culture, our actions, our clients and our reputation define us.
It makes Marketing’s job a whole lot easier.