African Americans and banks: It's complicated.

African Americans and banks: It's complicated.


It’s how financial institutions refer to consumers who have no checking or savings account. Those who have an account and interact with payday lenders and other alternative financial services are called “underbanked.”

There’s lots of research connecting unbanked and underbanked to poverty. In other words, consumers with stronger financial institution relationships are generally more financially secure. This because they have access to affordable credit, savings products and resources.

At least a quarter of American households are unbanked or underbanked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. And nearly half of African American households are unbanked or underbanked.

Why the disparity? According to CEB Iconoculture research, the primary factors are access, assets and attitudes.

Access, assets and attitudes.

Bank branches are generally less convenient to African American consumers (MagnifyMoney Research on Bank Branch Presentation, February 2016). There are 40.6 bank branches for every 100,000 people who live in majority white counties in the U.S., compared to 32 branches located in majority African American counties.

Then there’s the issue of wealth. African American families on average have less household income with which to work. A study released this year by Demos found that African American two-parent families have half the wealth of white single parents. Specifically,

  • The median two-parent black family had $16,000 in wealth.
  • The median single-parent white family had $35,800 in wealth (two-parent white families had $161,300).

These factors and more prompt African American consumers to be more likely to manage their personal finances with little or no outside help, according to CEB Iconoculture research. When asked why they prefer a DIY approach, African American respondents were more likely to point to the following reasons than the total survey audience:

  • My finances are simple (41 percent of African American respondents agreed versus 34 percent of all respondents.)
  • I don’t have much money to manage (35 percent of African American respondents versus 25 percent of all respondents.)
  • I can’t afford personal financial services (24 percent of African American respondents versus 19 percent of all respondents

Three ways banks and credit unions can help the unbanked and underbanked.

How can banks and credit unions connect to the underserved market? Flip the challenges and follow consumer values.

  1. Promote mobile banking. Mobile banking can help underserved consumers gain more access to financial services, according to an FDIC study. In addition to added convenience, mobile banking can give consumers greater control over finances. Alerts and tracking tools make it easier to avoid fees and track finances. First banks and credit unions must convince consumers that it’s safe to open an account online, which has thus far proven challenging.
  2. Become a trusted advisor. Trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship and imperative when money is involved. When it comes to financial services, African Americans consumers have practical expectations, according to CEB Iconoculture research. They are: do a good job managing my money, provide transparency, security and stick to the products and services that I need. Finally, demonstrate success.
  3. Accentuate the positive. The values most positively differentiated for African Americans compared to all U.S. consumers can provide important insights. They are belief, individuality, ambition and growth—ostensibly individual achievement and growth. African American Millennials tend to be more optimistic than their peers, according to a study by Richards/Lema and the University of Texas, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.

Sign up for the free Brogan Marketing Statement for quarterly news and insights about financial services marketing.

6 ads that won Super Bowl LI.

It's the one night everybody channels their inner Don Draper.

Like the fictional "Mad Men" creative director, we carefully scrutinized the Super Bowl ad lineup, scoring spots based on creativity, memorability and relatability. We'd been waiting months for this very moment.

According to the Burson Marsteller Fan Experience (BMFE), 53 percent of Americans said they'd be disappointed if the Super Bowl went commercial free. They're also not going to watch the ads until the Big Game. Adweek noted that 61 percent of consumers did not plan on watching the commercials ahead of time. In fact, "We found a lot of people who'd prefer to see the ads for the first time during the game," Jason Teitler, BMFE chair said, "They want the surprise factor."

What type of ad do consumers enjoy the most?

  • 82 percent of respondents said humor
  • 10 percent said sentimental
  • 4 percent said ironic
  • 4 percent said racy

Which ads scored big? Let's run the play.

The rookies.

New to the lineup this year were Bai, Airbnb, Hulu, Febreeze, Mr. Clean and National Geographic. Let's take a look at who scored big.

  1. Humor.
    Bai: "Bai Bai Bai."

  1. Sentimental.
    Airbnb: "We Accept."

  1. Racy.
    Mr. Clean: "Cleaner of Your Dreams."

The veterans.

Which repeat advertiser were consumers most looking forward to see? According to Adweek, 39 percent said Budweiser, 29 percent said Coca-Cola and 18 percent said Audi. Honda and GoDaddy also made the list.

  1. Humor.
    T-Mobile: "#BagofUnlimited."

  1. Sentimental.
    NFL: "Inside these lines."

  1. Ironic.
    Buick: "Big Game Commercial With Cam Newton & Miranda Kerr."

The benched.

Doritos, Heinz, Butterfinger, Taco Bell, Toyota, Visa and many more did not play in last night's game. Why? Could it have been the entry fee. The average cost for a :30 time slot was $5 million. Who's to say? But it did have us wondering what they'll do next year.

What ads topped your list? Tell us in the comments below. For more trends and insights, sign up for the Brogan Weekly Recap.

3 things retailers need to know about this year's holiday shoppers.

How do you feel about holiday shopping? Are you excited? Completely dreading it? Or just adding it to your to-do list. Here are three things marketers need to know about this year's holiday shoppers.

  1. Consumers feel stressed and excited.

According to a CEB Iconoculture survey, consumers were asked:

Consumers feel stressed and excited

While stress does top the list of emotions felt during the holidays, consumers are also excited to participate in holiday traditions with friends and family. Not only are they trying to find the perfect gifts, they are just as excited to spend time decorating, gathering with loved ones for the holidays and celebrating the holidays.

  1. Spending is up.

So how much will consumers spend this holiday season? New reports find consumers will likely spend $656 billion this season. According to CEB Iconoculture research, consumers expect to spend an average of $936 this year during the holiday season. While some try and keep to a holiday budget, 64 percent of consumers said they usually spend more than they should, while 58 percent admit they never stick to a budget.

But it is not all spending for spending's sake. Consumers plan to search for deals. According to CEB Iconoculture research:

  • 46 percent spend a day searching for the best price
  • 33 percent search for discount codes
  • 26 percent travel more than one hour to get a deal
  • 23 percent line up at the doors before a store opens

What's the worst thing about holiday shopping? According to CEB Iconoculture research, 27 percent of those surveying said shopping in crowds while 20 percent said picking the right gift.

What are consumers interested in? Inspiration and practicality. While 27 percent do not like crowds, a fair amount will go in store for inspiration. Whether it is attending in-store events or browsing for gifts for loved ones, consumers will visit stores. Another driving force, practicality. This means immediate product experience and of course good discounts. One in two consumers say finding a good deal beforehand will definitely get consumers to shop in-store.

  1. How will consumers shop on multiple devices.

CEB Iconoculture research noted that 57 percent planned to shop on Cyber Monday. While this figure was noted before the two biggest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday saw one of their biggest years yet. With a twelve percent increase since last year, Cyber Monday saw roughly $3.45 billion in sales this year.

According to CEB Iconoculture research, dollars will be spent across multiple devices:

How will consumers shop on multiple devices

Need more on holiday marketing? Check out 5 things brands need to know about Millennials and holidays.

5 holiday ads going viral for all the right reasons.

The Black Friday deals are (mostly) over and Cyber Monday has officially passed. Now that two of the biggest shopping days of the year are behind us, many brands are shifting gears from sales and promotions to deeper, more important messages this holiday season. But for some companies, blowout deals and doorbuster sales were never the focus of their brand spots in the first place. Five companies have been making a splash this holiday season with ads that center on more positive, impactful messages. Family, cultural acceptance, female empowerment and more, the refreshing messaging of these five holiday ads are scoring big with consumers and turning them into viral spots.

  1. Heathrow Airport – Coming Home for Christmas

You thought you’d seen all the adorable holiday ads in the book, until you see this touching spot from Heathrow Airport featuring two teddy bears flying home for the holidays. Heathrow’s ‘Coming Home for Christmas’ ad centers on the importance of reconnecting with loved ones during the holiday season and has garnered over 4 million views on YouTube in just two weeks.

  1. Amazon Prime – A Priest and Imam meet for a cup of tea

Amazon Prime delights consumers with an ad that rises above cultural and religious differences this holiday season. While Amazon Prime boasts free shipping and speedy delivery for members, the ad gets this message across without ever displaying a deal or promotion. Instead, consumers get a refreshing reminder that while we all have differences, there are more things that connect us than meets the eye.

  1. Xfinity – Hooking up Grandma’s House

Xfinity takes a comedic approach to holiday advertising in ‘Hooking up Grandma’s House,’ a spot that pokes fun at both tech-savvy millennials and their tech-lagging grandparents. Instead of plastering the spot with numbers and promotions about their service, Xfinity uses a unique storyline to show how unifying digital can be. While this ad has received some mixed reviews from consumers, its overarching message of unity and reconnecting with family during the holidays is something to be admired.

  1. Marks & Spencer - Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus

Marks & Spencer takes a unique stance on the story of Christmas Eve by following Mrs. Claus’ whereabouts instead of her husband’s. After Santa leaves for the evening, Mrs. Claus trades in her comfy clothes for leather gloves and a helicopter and takes it upon herself to make a boy’s holiday wish come true. The ad is heartfelt and touching and gives power to the female in a traditionally male-dominated storyline.

  1. Apple – Frankie’s Holiday

Frankenstein can sing? Not necessarily. But that’s not the focus of Apple’s spot, ‘Frankie’s Holiday.’ While many holiday ads suggest spending time with friends and family during the holiday, Apple reminds us that our loved ones may not be the only ones who need comfort this holiday season. This emotional ad breaks through the holiday noise and makes an important message of acceptance and inclusion clear.

So what’s the common thread? Why have all these brand spots been so successful? Instead of pointing out what the ads share, it’s what they all lack that makes them stand out: promotional deals. During the holiday season, focusing on more culturally-impactful messages could launch your brand into the spotlight and gain admiration from consumers who are sick of deal-centric messaging. So forget about 50 percent off and buy one get one, make your brand shine for its creativity this holiday season.

Have any favorite ads that didn’t make the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

See how Coca-Cola, Jet Blue and REI are standing out with their holiday campaigns in How to work the holidays like a brand star.

Blog Category: 

Weekly Recap - November 24, 2016

Is Cyber Monday the new Black Friday? While it may be shifting this way, Digiday wants you to be careful when coming across news stories on Facebook and Google. Why? Some fake news stories are causing quite a stir for PR. But good news, this story (or shall we say Instagram Story) is true: Instagram now has live video and disappearing photos and videos. Take a look.

DETAILS, please

The shifting social landscape of Black Friday. What should retailers expect for this year's Black Friday?

Google is beating Facebook in the fake news PR war. When it comes to purging fake news stories Google is taking the lead (and responsibility). Will Facebook?

Instagram launches new feature to Instagram Stories. Live video and disappearing photos and videos have arrived to the platform.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

Don’t send money this holiday, send them to college. Just in time for the holidays, presents the gift that truly keeps on giving in convenient gift card form. Grandparents take heed.

Everything marketers need to know about paid search. How many times have you searched for something online? How many of those times did you search from your mobile device?

THE Topic of conversation

Instagram. Learn how your business can use Instagram to build brand awareness and increase engagement. Download our free whitepaper "Why your business should be marketing on Instagram."


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Don’t send money this holiday, send them to college.

Just in time for the holidays, presents the gift that truly keeps on giving in convenient gift card form. Grandparents take heed.

You guessed it—plastic 529 gift cards that let people contribute directly into kids’ college funds. Shoppers will find them at ToysRUs and BabiesRUs retail stores.They can be bought in fixed amounts ranging from $25 to $500 that are associated with state-run 529 programs, where education funds grow tax-free. 


The card is redeemed by creating a GiftOfCollege profile that directs the money to their 529 plan. The buyer pays a fee for the service, ranging from $3.95 to $5.95, depending on the card's value. There is no fee to the recipient for redeeming the card.

Gifting to 529 plans isn’t a new idea. The Michigan Education Savings Plan made it possible years ago for family and friends to open and contribute to existing plans. You don’t even have to be a parent to open an account so long as you own it. 

It’s the packaging that makes the Gift of College gift card particularly bright and shiny.

It makes gifting to 529s all the more accessible—especially for the technology averse. And because it’s a card and not a bank account, it’s far more tangible. Now grandma has something to stick a bow onto and proffer properly. She can even hide it in the palm of those mittens she’s been knitting for her little darlings.

It will be interesting to see how this packaging twist plays out. Will the cards sell more 529 gifts or simply shift shoppers from online to check out line?

Got a thing for financial marketing? Sign up for the quarterly Marketing Statement. 

Weekly Recap - November 18, 2016

Is it us or is it beginning to look a lot like the holidays already? Otherwise known as “Christmas Creep,” marketers are already debuting their holiday ads, deals and marketing campaigns for the season. From Starbucks’ red cups to Macy’s “Believe” campaign, HubSpot has compiled the most memorable holiday marketing campaigns that continue to leave an impact on consumers. Speaking of, what will they want in an online shopping experience? Will virtual assistants play a role? Let’s take a look.

DETAILS, please

150 years of the best holiday marketing campaigns. The holiday season remains one of the more influential times of year to launch a campaign and seal it into holiday memory for years to come.

Infographic: What consumers want most in an online shopping experience. The holiday shopping season is upon us. Is your brand ready?

Will virtual assistances assist consumers this holiday season? Consumers are frequently turning to virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to help with a variety of things. Is holiday shopping one of them?

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

Flu season driving you nuts? There's an app for that: #UberForHealth. The campaign was designed to deliver flu care packages and flu shots for up to five individuals from a registered nurse through Passport Health, for free. 

Millennials are sticking with pediatrician into adulthood. From 2002 to 2012, pediatric office visits by patients 19 and older grew from less than a million to 2.4 million.

How to work the holidays like a brand star. How can brands leverage the holidays to win shoppers? Easy on the Christmas creep, skip Thanksgiving sales and campaign with purpose.

THE Topic of conversation

Authenticity. Discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups. Download our free whitepaper “3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand.”


Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

How to work the holidays like a brand star.

Apparently, we’ve been won over America. Or we’ve just been worn down.

A recent survey by RichRelevance finds that American shoppers are becoming somewhat more tolerant of the appearance of Santa Claus and tinsel before Halloween, otherwise known as “Christmas creep.”

Of the 1,054 U.S. consumers surveyed this year, 63 percent reported being “annoyed or very annoyed” to see holiday merchandise on shelves before Halloween compared to 71 percent in 2014. What’s more, 55 percent of the participants said they were annoyed or very annoyed about stores being open Thanksgiving Day versus 65 percent in 2014.

But they prefer those stores that make the decision to let their employees eat turkey with their family and friends. In this year’s survey, 73 percent of respondents said that decision would make them feel more positively about a retailer and 53 percent said they’re more likely to shop at a store that took that day off on Thanksgiving.

This leaves retail brands furrowing their bushy, snow white eye brows. Go all in, like the quick oil change shop up the road, wrapping the garage in thick strands of faux holly garland. Or ease into the merriment, Advent calendar cool-like.  

Take a cue from some of the big brands that have been stoking the Yule log for seasons, visions of an early Black Friday dancing on their ledgers. 

Coca-Cola’s answer to holiday place cards. Last season, Coca-Cola pitched drinkable “place cards.” The company launched the personalized cans and bottles in 2011 as part of its umbrella “Share a Coke” campaign. The place card promotion brings the beverage to the table in its full commercial splendor, rather than incognito splashing around Aunt Margie’s Waterford crystal goblet.   

How to work the holidays like a brand star.

JetBlue shares a few of its favorite F words. “Family, friends, food & flying—all our favorite F words!” This was the subject line of the airline’s 2015 Thanksgiving promo email. The campaign shifted from alliteration to a pun-packed infographic with a dozen tips on how to be a thankful traveler.

Don’t shop believin’. REI closed on Black Friday last year and invited shoppers to opt for the outdoors instead of the mall. “Will you go out with us?” the retailer implored, suggesting healthier alternatives to retail therapy like hiking, biking, skiing and more. A microsite offered inspiration and a pledge to socialize with family and friends.

These campaigns work because they sync sensibly with their respective brands and the holidays. Coke almost naturally squeezes in between the candied yams and cranberry Jello mold, while JetBlue ladles a generous helping of natural brand humor over hectic holiday travel. Meanwhile REI aims for a Christmas miracle, taking a corporate stand that rests firmly upon its brand ethos.    

So, go ahead. Capitalize on the holidays. Don’t just be a Christmas creep. 

Starbucks is feeling the holidays again this season, branding prime real estate to cheer the caffeinated masses. Learn more.

Blog Category: 

Weekly Recap - November 11, 2016

Scroll. Tap. Click. Shop? Yes, it’s true. Instagram announced they will be rolling out a new feature to let brands and businesses tag their products in posts, linking them to the product page and onto the retailer’s website for purchase. Need to do some product research first? Search engines are updating how they will serve results and content. And is brand loyalty still a big deal? For multicultural Millennials, it is. See here.   

DETAILS, please

What Instagram's shopping update means for influencers. Instagram is finally letting users shop what they see in their feeds.

Topics over keywords: A simple framework for more effective content creation. Content marketing has seen a lot of changes over the past few years, particularly around the way that marketers have went about actually developing their content.

Infographic: Multicultural Millennials take brand loyalty seriously. Multicultural Millennials make up nearly half of the demographic. And new research sheds light on media, tech and shopping trends coming from this segment.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

Starbucks’ holiday red cup is back and cheerier than ever. For the first time ever, the Starbucks holiday red cups feature designs created by customers. Take a look.

Healthcare marketing: Do celebrities still sell? As we’ve recently seen in the latest Cigna TV spot, celebrities definitely capture our attention. But, does this marketing tactic still resonate?

THE Topic of conversation

Authenticity. Discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups. Download our free whitepaper “3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand.”


Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Starbucks' holiday red cup is back and cheerier than ever.

Starbucks' holiday red cup is back and cheerier than ever.

For the past few weeks, customers have been teased with messaging on boxes in stores that said “no peeking.” While some designs were leaked, Starbucks has kept a tight lid on this year’s design. Or shall we say designs. For the first time ever, the Starbucks holiday red cups feature designs created by customers.

In a tweet posted early Nov. 10, Starbucks revealed that “last year, we made the red cups,” but customers “made them the holidays.”

While there was much to say about last year’s design, Starbucks found customers were “using their red holiday cups as a canvas,” to create truly inspiring and intricate designs. Taking note, Starbucks hosted the #RedCupContest on Instagram. Within the first few days of the promotion, Starbucks received thousands of submissions from several countries.

The Starbucks team had the artists send in their cups to be evaluated for future production. Which brings us to this year’s designs. From nature inspired themes like magnolia branches, snowy landscapes and winter scenes to whimsical graphics that capture the magic of the holidays, this year’s cups are truly inspiring and all about the consumer.

Have you gotten a red cup yet? Let us know in the comments below, what your favorite design is.

Healthcare marketing: Do celebrities still resonate?

As we’ve recently seen in the latest Cigna TV spot, celebrities definitely capture our attention. (Especially when Dr. McDreamy is talking to us.) But, does this marketing tactic still resonate? The answer: Yes.

While there has been talk about marketing with digital influencers (reality TV stars, YouTubers, bloggers, etc.) vs. marketing with celebrities, the idea is the same. Advertisers are still using familiar faces to bring awareness to health issues, ultimately creating an emotional connection with their audience.

Let’s take a look:

  1. Eyelove – Jennifer Aniston
  1. Prolia – Blythe Danner
  1. Halls – John C. McGinley
  1. CoorDown – Olivia Wilde
  1. CDC – Meryl Streep


For more on healthcare marketing trends, sign up for our monthly edition of the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Weekly Recap - November 4, 2016

Let’s take a poll…are you prepared for Black Friday shopping? A. Yes. B. No. C. I’m still eating leftover Halloween candy. Don’t fret, Mashable has four things every customer should know, well in advance. And if you think you’re going to post your post-Thanksgiving shopping experience to Vine, think again. Twitter announced last week that it is shutting down the six-second looping video platform. Where’s a Viner to go? Snapchat apparently. Take a look.

DETAILS, please

How to use Twitter Polls to engage your audience: 13 examples from real brands. It’s been a year since Twitter polls became an option. And HubSpot wants to know, “Are there any brands out there that are really using Twitter Polls well?

4 things you need to know about Black Friday. Many of the deals are legitimate bargains, but others are nothing more than ordinary sales wrapped in shiny packaging. How can you tell the difference? Let’s look.

With the closure of Vine, Snapchat may see an influx of creators. Lack of innovation? Challenges with monetization? Let’s face it, it was a combination. RIP Vine.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

It's no tricks and all treats from Facebook this year! Facebook released limited-edition Halloween reactions to help you get into the holiday spirit. 

Microsoft's Surface Studio: A world of pure imagination. Last week, the multinational technology company announced the debut of their first-ever desktop computer. And it was epic.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care. The young women’s breast cancer movement has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products that help friends diagnosed with breast cancer get through the tough time ahead.

THE Topic of conversation

Millennials. Discover who Millennials are, why it’s important to market to them, and how you can increase brand loyalty and engagement. Download our free whitepaper “8 Rules of Marketing to Millennials.”


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