Chase is making a play to get into the music and ticketing business and may use its Chase Pay product to interact with customers in new ways and get more of their data.
The largest U.S. bank by assets inked a multi-year endorsement deal with Golden State Warriors’ star player Steph Curry in March of 2016; on Monday, it was named the official bank of the Warriors and it also has naming rights sponsor to the future home of the NBA championship team, Chase Center, opening in 2019.
“[Chase Pay] is not only a different way to pay; there’s a lot more information on you as a customer that will help us be more targeted” that Chase can gather through the app, said Frank Nakano, Chase’s head of sports and entertainment sponsorships. Nakano said it will “allow us to know that if you’re at a game five times in a month, we should push a special reward to you because we know you indeed were in the building and what you bought. It’s on us to make [Chase Pay] more enticing to the customer.”
Until now, it hasn’t been clear what Chase’s plans are for its Pay product. It hasn’t published any user numbers and it’s not obvious why customers should use it instead of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or the mobile app of one of its quick service restaurants partners that probably offers them some kind of rewards or loyalty incentive. Chase seems aware of this; it sponsored a research report conducted by Forrester Consulting that says for mobile payments to take off, retailers need to offer value beyond the actual payment at the point of sale that will bring more convenience to the customer or make them feel they’re getting something out of it.
Nakano said the Chase Center experience for Chase customers could borrow from that of an airline in the sense that people entering the arena will be able to upgrade their experiences upon checking in — upgrading their seats at a show or a game, offering a chance to visit the players after the game, getting to arrive through a special Chase entrance, being hosted in a VIP-like room, pushing more discounts on more things.
“You’ve checked in, you’ve been there, you’ve been spending money, so we’ll know you are a fan because of your presence in the building,” Nakano said. “You might get there and not realize you want something until these offers pop up. It makes it feel like we know you better. I think people expect that now — partners being more additive and not getting in the way of the experience.”
Citibank has staked its brand on that, making music and entertainment access through its longstanding partnership with LiveNation and sponsorship of the Global Citizen music festival part of its strategy. Chief marketing officer Jennifer Breithaupt has said that music is “part of Citi’s DNA” and that having these initiatives as part of its brand has forced bank marketers “be on the front lines with consumers” as customer banking relationships are deepened more and more in digital channels than physical branches.
A year ago it might have seemed like an ambitious marketing pursuit to get everyday people to think of banks as go-to resources for shows, sports events or even restaurant reservations. But the evolution of digital and mobile channels allows big old financial institutions like Chase to compete in that space if they want to.
“Digital and mobile has allowed us to be more timely,” Nakano said. “Part of the reason we do this is it’s something else to connect with our customers on rather than just product.”
To celebrate the their new deal, Chase and the Warriors are sending a giant golden basketball around to different spots in the Bay Area beginning this week for fans to take pictures, meet some players and cheerleaders and participate in small giveaways (think T-shirts and tickets). The “Golden Ball” will travel around until the first game of season, when they’ll celebrate last year’s championship. It’s all part of the build-up to the opening of Chase Center.
“Part of our philosophy is that we’re part of the community and were part of the team before Chase Center opened,” Nakano said. “We are present in the Bay Area we’re just showing that more.”
As much fanfare as there is around the Warriors, however, Nakano maintained that the real value for Chase comes from the nightly engagement with a community of passionate, loyal sports fans at a venue that hosts 200 events a year. When asked how Chase measures the return on investment of a sponsorship like that of the Warriors, he said the analytics team has created a “score card” to identify the value of an engaged customer — a collection of all of a customer’s touch points with the bank, from charge volume on tickets to concessions.
It also accounts for “brand lift” and community effect. There’s a community component to each of the bank’s sponsorships, he said.
“Sports and entertainment gives us an opportunity to engage customers with something they’re very passionate about,” Nakano said. “We use that passion as the core of everything we do and then we try to look at it as a fan.”