On Monday, the CU Water Cooler Liquid Lunch show featured a conversation between host Carla Day and special guest Jimmy Marks. On the agenda was a discussion about initial thoughts on Wag, The Bank for Dog Fanatics. I was busy during the live show and was not able to dial into the call, but I listened to the replay of the show and wanted to provide a few comments and responses.
Overall, I must say the discussion was very good (from my perspective), and—to be totally honest—did not ridicule Wag nearly as much as I expected. Rather, I felt Carla and Jimmy truly did grasp a good portion of the idea behind Wag and Tribed.
Note: If you listen to the replay, the portion discussing Wag is between 9:00 To 17:45.
1) Jimmy: “You have to be a dog lover to identify with this group”
That is exactly right…and is in many ways the point. When you truly create a distinct brand experience, it should completely turn off and sound ridiculous to those who it is not designed for. In other words, it should polarize.
2) Carla: “You can get your debit card with the dog on it….and learn how to save money.”
These are both true. But the point I want to emphasize is that these two things just barely scratch the surface of the vision for Wag. A debit card dog photo is by itself just cosmetic and doesn’t really make the experience to dog fanatics more relevant than at another financial institution. Rather, what truly defines the experience is:
- Connecting with other members—and all employees—who are dog fanatics
- Members adding to the community dialog on an ongoing basis about financial issues related to the dog-oriented lifestyle
- Products that are tailored to the dog fanatic’s lifestyle, when possible
- The Bottom Line: an experience that is 1000% relevant to a dog fanatic’s lifestyle…and 0% relevant to a non-dog lover
This brings us to…
3) Jimmy: “It’s not that this is just a bank for dog lovers, but is a community of dog lovers that even has its own bank.”
Bam. Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself, and therein lies the core of this business.
4) Carla: A new definition of common bond….
Carla nicely alluded to another key point of Wag and Tribed as a whole: we are redefining what a “common bond” is. Even though we are creating a bank, not a credit union, the principle is same. So much, in fact, that (no offense to credit unions), I expect that Wag customers will feel the “membership” vibe WAY more at Tribed’s banks than at a credit union. And we’ve developed several ways to make sure of it.
5) Jimmy: “Geographical lines are not the only lines we draw, and they’re not the only lines we start to erase.”
Right again. Damn, you guys are really getting this—I’m impressed. (seriously)
Last reminder: as people evaluate Wag, I hope they will actually evaluate Tribed just as much. Keep in mind, Wag is just the first of a large portfolio of banking experiences we are creating. And when evaluating our business model, remember there will be 20-50 Wag counterparts.
Thanks to Carla and Jimmy for their interest in Wag, and for doing a great job discussing several of the salient points.