Weber Marketing Group has been selected as the MAC Agency of the Year two times in a row. The Financial Brand sat down with Mark Weber, the firm’s CEO, to discuss this historic accomplishment.
TFB: What does this award signify to you personally?
Mark Weber: We have been a part of MAC for over 20 years and love the intelligent work MAC has put into raising the national bar on creativity, marketing impact, innovation and results. So being chosen by the credit union industry marketing attendees at MAC for this agency award is really an honor that makes me incredibly proud of our whole team and the hard work and creativity they bring to our clients — with no compromises on generating great results. This is an honor that we share very closely with our clients who partner with us to push the bar on differentiating their brands to stand out in a highly competitive market, focus on growth amidst a brutal economy, and drive bottom line results.
TFB: What do you think is the secret behind the agency’s success?
Weber: The depth of my team’s thinking, the freshness of ideas we build together with our clients and our own core values is what drives us. Some of our clients like to say they call us when they have an impossible project, or a major challenge they are facing like stagnant growth, or getting their credit union more visible in their markets.
With the recession, some needed to ‘re-engage” their staff in a positive cultural shift to drive richer brand experiences via online, mobile, social media or branch channels. We tackle the most difficult projects facing credit unions like growing market share, designing new strategies for product innovation, interactive marketing to drive new member growth or growing mortgage and small business loans.
Our diverse background over the last 25 years working with well known brands like AT&T Wireless, Sharebuilder and Seafirst Bank has shaped a comprehensive view of enhancing and evolving brands to stand out in a crowded market place and driving meaningful results. We thrive on tackling the tough challenges.
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TFB: Weber is known for producing some pretty daring campaigns. How do you keep up the creative pace?
Weber: Our Creative Director Josh put it best when he said you can’t do great creative work without great creative clients willing to push the bar and innovate. I think the relationships we have forged with our clients long term to understand their goals and challenges, and then tackle them both strategically, operationally and tactically with consistent and yet innovative brand strategies, cultural training and evolving marketing programs focused on results. That means sometimes you have to take some creative risks that pay off big; that is what fuels our agency’s growth and success. It really is about people working together focused on clear and common goals that move the bar.
TFB: So are you saying that great creative is impossible without the right kind of client?
Weber: We were at the MAC Conference with some of our great clients like OnPoint, Elevations and Redwood who received a number of awards, and got to celebrate their achievement and share in their success. That is what drives our team, is the relationships and partnerships we have forged over years of hard work and creativity to evolve and grow their business. I am so thankful to the great clients that have entrusted us for 25 years to work closely with their senior management teams, sometimes their board and often their entire staff to build, nurture and evolve their brands and names, the evolution of their branch and online distribution channels and their marketing to a level that helps accelerate their growth.
TFB: No agency has ever won this kind of award two years in a row. What do you think this accomplishment says about your firm?
Weber: We’re not a traditional agency in the sense of focusing mainly on campaigns, posters, collateral and DM — the tools of creative shops. We’ve built a unique ‘learning agency’ driven by major strategic projects our clients need to drive growth, like rebranding, renaming, branches of the future and online marketing. We have focused on shifts in consumer trends and had to be nimble to adapt to the brutal recession our clients and their members have faced.
We’ve worked hard to learn and built some very unique and integrated brands – both internally among staff in enhancing cultures, and externally in the marketplace. To do that, we’ve developed very robust processes, deep levels of unique market research, a high level of engagement working closely across many departments with our clients to dig deeper as a trusted partner to drive big results and compete to win, that we and our clients define as “transformational shifts” I think that’s a fundamental change in what today’s agency needs to evolve towards.
I can’t say winning this national agency award for the 2nd year in a row isn’t exciting for us, but it’s also quite humbling — because it just raises our own bar. We’re thrilled that our body of agency work and measurable results has been recognized as making a difference. It’s funny, but it doesn’t give us a moment’s pause to bask, we just dove right back into the challenge of each campaign, new brand or renaming project or branch prototype we have — all of which we take very seriously.
We are motivated by a constant drive to seek new, innovative and distinctive ways of pushing the creative envelope forward. We want to make credit unions cool for the next generation of consumers and small business owners. But we don’t believe in great creative work, unless it generates the results our clients need, like new members, market share growth or higher brand awareness among their targets like younger savvy borrowers, many of whom aren’t familiar with credit unions. Our client’s can’t afford to not see marketing driving results and enhancing their brand in the market.