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‘Moments of Joy’: Citi pushes experience in marketing the brand

  • Citi is launching a series of customer experiences through concerts and pop-up ATM gifting machines to appeal to the customer's emotions
  • Citi's experiential marketing is part of a trend among financial brands to engage customers in the evolution of the brand story
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‘Moments of Joy’: Citi pushes experience in marketing the brand

A jump in a ball pit isn’t normally an everyday experience most consumers expect to get from a bank.

But on Tuesday, Citi hosted one in Times Square where New Yorkers could jump into and walk to the “JoyTM” to retrieve a ticket for a prize. It’s a way a Citi is pushing experience to generate positive emotional experiences about the brand.

“Experiential marketing has been one of the key ingredients,” said global consumer chief marketing officer Jennifer Breithaupt. “These experiences that we’re putting together and launching around the U.S. are really about putting together real moments of joy and optimism for customers.”

Beginning this fall, the bank hosted pop-up concerts where artists performed inside bank branches, and the “JoyTM” has made appearances in New York and San Francisco, with plans to deploy it in different locations across the U.S. Tickets were either gold or blue colored, with blue tickets being for small tokens like Metrocards, while golden tickets were for higher-value experiences, including concert tickets, gift cards and airline miles vouchers.

“These activations help us bring this to life by connecting emotionally to customers and eliciting optimism and welcoming what’s next,” said Breithaupt, who added that the experiences are part of a campaign called “Welcoming What’s Next” that includes TV ads designed to evoke emotional reactions from customers against recognizable songs like “Singin’ in the Rain” by Gene Kelly and “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison.

Citi’s recent marketing events are just a few aspects of how the brand markets high touch experiences for customers, which include its Citi Private Pass ticketing platform for customers that offers access to sponsored music, sports and theater events.

Breithaupt said the goal was to engage customers as well as non-customers who had not yet experienced the Citi brand, a move in tandem with similar strategies of other financial institutions like Capital One, TD and JPMorgan Chase. The bank plans to continue hosting events and “JoyTM” pop-up activities throughout the rest of the year and early next year. As for the personal gifts, Celent svp Dan Latimore told Tearsheet in July that it’s about building a relationship with existing and future customers: “These touches reinforce the relationship, so when that infrequent moment to buy a product comes, the bank will get the call from the customer,” he said.

For Citi, Breithaupt said the efforts were a way to fuse the brand’s image with a sense of hope.

“For existing customers as well as folks who may not have experienced Citi, it’s really about creating moments of joy that people just stumble upon, and they tell their friends about and they say ‘hey Citi just did this amazing thing’ — it’s about creating these moments that are unique and special and tying them back to our brand.”

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