Take It To The (Dog) Bank
Are dogs the center of your financial life? If your answer is “Yes”—or even “Huh?—you may want to check out Wag, which explores the intersection of content, affinity and financial services marketing.
With articles such as “Find the Best Veterinarian for Your Budget” and “Fidos and Fiduciaries,” Wag says it plans to become “a complete financial resource for…people who are fanatical about dogs” by providing financial expertise “by dog fanatics, for dog fanatics,” special deals and offers for dog lovers, a directory of “dog-friendly financial service providers” and Internet-based banking services for dog lovers.
By early next year, Wag hopes to link up with an established bank that will offer a wide variety of “dog-friendly” banking services through its site such as deposit accounts, auto loans, personal loans, business loans and the like. Wag hopes to take a cut of the deposits and loans generated through the site. Additional revenues might come through advertising or membership fees.
The company behind Wag, Tribed, is the brainchild of Jeff Stephens who aims to offer banking services “hyper-tailored to the unique preferences and needs of people with similar passions (‘tribes’) … like a love of dogs!” Wag is Tribed’s first venture, but Stephens imagines sites for all different kinds of interests.
Stephens told the Fiscal Times he came to the idea after noting that “most people are rampantly indifferent to banks” because of the “sameness of the products and the services, and the sameness of the experience.” Wag gives financial institutions the unique opportunity to represent something they feel passionately about.
It’s an intriguing idea, if easily spoofed. What is a “dog-friendly” financial service, exactly? Will the loan officer accept Spot as collateral, perhaps? Or perhaps he’ll merely look the other way as Spot works his magic on the carpet.
Seriously, it might be a bit difficult at first to see how a bank could differentiate itself based on dog-friendliness (or beer-friendliness, as another affinity banking site plans to do). The concept risks trivializing the real differences between financial institutions’ products and customer experiences. And seen from a content perspective, Wag is still a little rough – or is that “ruff” - around the edges.
But, you have to give Stephens credit for creative thinking. And some of my favorite thoughts of Stephens’ revolve around content. As Stephens has observed in a blog comment, generic personal finance advice is becoming commoditized. To fight this trend, content strategies should be focused on the institution’s particular strengths and buyer personas.
This doggie eats up that kind of thinking.
Richard Sine writes about business, personal finance and health for magazines and content marketers. He writes regularly for Men’s Health magazine and for brands such as Fidelity Investments, UPS and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.