Capital One Makes Bank With Disruptive Marketing

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Peter Horst, SVP of brand marketing and CMO, Capital One
Peter Horst, SVP of brand marketing and CMO, Capital One

What does it mean to be courageous in marketing today? According to Peter Horst, SVP of brand marketing and CMO of Capital One—it takes being unique and true to your brand. Certainly Capital One's ongoing “What's in your wallet?” series of campaigns exemplifies this.

Horst, Caples 2013 Honorary Judges Chair, shared his 5 keys to disruptive marketing during Caples Reveal 2013.

1. Be strategically brave. Make an “all-in commitment” to building your brand. Spend in the right channels for your brand; mix in high-impact, low-cost channels; and use analytics to track it all and make informed decisions.

2. Stand for something. Take a position on issues relevant to your business that are important to your customer and stick by it. Carry that messaging through in your marketing and content so customers understand your shared values.

3. Know thyself. Create and communicate a concise definition of who you are as a brand; what's your brand personality and brand voice. Capital One's brand personality is “authentic, credible, and trustworthy,” Horst said. That means being a customer advocate and an innovative leader that drives change for the industry. Its voice is about being engaging by clear, conversational, compelling, and “Capital One clever.” Once you define your personality voice, you need to “bring it to life everywhere,” he said.

4. Earn share of heart. Mind share and wallet share are important, but once you have the former, earning share of heart will help increase the latter. What will customers love about your brand? Use it to make an emotional connection with your customers.

5. Go where the puck is going. Borrowing from hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Horst advised attendees to understand marketing and consumer trends and take action early. For example, brands should engage customers in social on topics that matter to them. “Customers don't want to tell stories about their savings accounts,” Horst said, “but they love to tell stories about travel.” So Capital One talks to customers about the destinations on their bucket list (and helps some customer get there, he said).

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