WILMINGTON, DE: After months of preparation, Chase Card Services launched Chase Blueprint on September 15, a new set of features designed to help consumers manage their finances.
The "Blueprint" allows Chase customers to choose a “full pay” option to decide which expenses they'd like to pay each month in order to avoid interest fees, and a “split” option, which helps customers manage their payments on large purchases. It includes tracking features to follow where you're spending. Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is promoting it as a way that consumers can "take charge" and manage their money on their terms, including by paying off balances sooner and avoiding interest fees.
The launch included embargoed stories that appeared in Bloomberg and USA Today on launch day, a launch-day ANR that garnered 350 radio placements, advertising, an e-mail campaign, and inserts in customer statements. Chase also launched a microsite where customers can register for the program, take a quiz, "What's Your Financial Style?," to learn more about their personal financial behavior, and watch videos that describe the Blueprint features.
“This is an aggressive, multipronged approach with the core part being speaking with stakeholders to share the new features we've added and the fundamental shift to predictability, simplicity, and to provide consumers with more control in managing their finances,” said Stephanie Jacobson, first VP of public affairs at Chase Card Services.
Prelaunch outreach to key stakeholders including analysts, bloggers, and media began in July. According to Jacobson, this outreach was critical to refining the Blueprint offering, which has been in the works for two years, and sharing information with stakeholders, who were given exclusive access to the Blueprint site. Collaboration will be part of the company's PR initiatives in the future.
A number of agencies aided the effort, including Edelman, which was brought on as public affairs AOR in May, to help manage the company's brand and reputation, Jacobson said. It also handles media relations and stakeholder outreach, among other duties. Chase works most often with Edelman's Washington and New York offices. Along with Edelman, Chase's longtime PR partner Ketchum, which works primarily on consumer work such as campaigns, and two marcomms firms, Foundry 9 and T3, supported the Blueprint launch. Ketchum helped develop the financial quiz.
Chase is not the only bank to reach out to consumers in the language of the new era of frugality. Following last year's financial crisis, and the subsequent consumer defaults on mortgages and credit card debt – both of which continue to climb – a number of banks began to promote some version of “smart spending” and how their services could aid responsible money management. American Express, for example, recently opened a campaign urging consumers to spend responsibly, carrying the tag line: “Don't take chances. Take Charge.”
“Our industry has traditionally been focused on ways to encourage people to use our credit cards,” said Jacobson. “We're focused on helping people pay down their purchases. The infrastructure that we developed for this product launch will be sustainable. Open dialogue is critical for us moving forward.”