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Walmart Steps Into Banking
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are certain industry and brand boundaries that are unstated, yet known by both companies and consumers. There’s a place for a brand to be, a place where it interacts, and certain set of criteria it fills for its customers. So when these lines are crossed and a brand decides it can play in another territory, is it a smart and successful strategy or one that confuses customers and enrages other brands?

The fact of the matter is, if a program or product is beneficial for the customer and becomes successful, then there should be no second-guessing by others. If the customer is happy and an unexpected brand achieved this, then kudos to that brand. Sure, other brands are going to feel annoyed, but they should have thought about that before not figuring out a solution. In today’s world, where many of the industry lines are blurred, there is an expectation from the customer that if it makes sense, it works, and it provides a more fluid pattern for them, then it’s all a go.

Walmart is a consumer superstore selling CPG products. It's a pretty defined market, yet not a brand that is going to stay quiet if something isn’t working. Walmart announced a partnership with American Express known as the Bluebird accounts. This program targets consumers who are annoyed and simply done with fees from bank accounts. That’s right: a brand that sells deodorant and cereal is the one to figure out a solution to the banking dilemma. Why? Because it helps consumers and places Walmart on a list of positive brands.

This isn’t about banking or CPG or even deodorant. It’s about the ability for brands to recognize a problem outside their industry that affects their business and make a change. It’s the foresight to see a change that could prove positive and ultimately always put the customer first. For that reason, Walmart might just sell more boxes of cereal and ultimately create a stronger relationship with its customers.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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