AltaOne uses curiosity to create buzz about opening

Bank branch openings typically don't grab attention. So when AltaOne Federal Credit Union was expanding into Bakersfield, CA, it wanted to intrigue residents. "We wanted to give people a reason to care," says Wendy Cleveland, VP of marketing/business development at AltaOne.

Bank branch openings typically don't grab attention. So when AltaOne Federal Credit Union was expanding into Bakersfield, CA, it wanted to intrigue residents. "We wanted to give people a reason to care," says Wendy Cleveland, VP of marketing/business development at AltaOne.

AltaOne wanted to build suspense by not announcing its name initially. After issuing an RFP, it selected Bouchard Communications Group to help give a dose of excitement.

Strategy
AltaOne knew that in order to make a bank opening pop, it needed something innovative.

"We didn't want to do something typical," says Kristy Garza, account executive at Bouchard.

So the agency created a can't-miss, 6-foot red question-mark statue to position around the area, as well as an accompanying Web site, to build curiosity.

Tactics
Bouchard placed the statue at three locations in Bakersfield for a week at a time. The statue directed people to the interactive site, http://www.guesstheanswer.com/, where residents received clues about what was coming and were able to submit guesses to win weekly prizes. It also streamed interviews with locals about what they believed was coming to Bakersfield.

The team sent question-mark cookies and advisories to local media. In addition, it sent four mailers to residents to build buzz, and an invitation was sent out four days before the opening.

Bouchard also had local country radio station KUZZ stream live at the opening to help promote.

Results
More than 800 people attended the grand opening, where AltaOne signed up more than 40 new members. AltaOne opened 133 accounts in February.

Also, the Web site garnered more than 18,000 visits, with 200-plus guesses entered.

Future
Bouchard and AltaOne continue to promote the Bakersfield location.

PR team: AltaOne Federal Credit Union (Ridgecrest, CA) and Bouchard Communications Group (Roseville, CA)

Campaign: GuessTheAnswer

Duration: August 1, 2007-February 9, 2008

Budget: $170,993

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