Katelin Cwieka, AVP – Social Media and Brand Communications Manager at Avidia Bank, is set to speak at the Massachusetts Marketing Summit on December 13. The event, which is held at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, is a great opportunity to leading marketers at powerhouse brands.

How long have you been with Avidia Bank and what was your experience prior to joining the company?

I have been with Avidia for about 4 years. Prior to coming to Avidia, I worked at a Marketing and Web Design Agency as their Content Marketing Manager.

What drew you to participate in the Massachusetts Marketing Summit with the Boston marketing community?

It’s a great opportunity to share and learn what local businesses and organizations are doing in Massachusetts and how they are using their locale to do their marketing.  This is a big part of my job as we are a community bank and work closely with businesses and nonprofits in our area.

Can you describe one major challenge you and your team faced in the last year and how you overcame it? 

Last year (2017) we built not one but two new locations.  That’s a big undertaking for a community bank.  Our challenge was to try to create awareness in our markets in the new locations through traditional and nontraditional channels and also work to differentiate ourselves among every other bank in our market area.  As you know, in Massachusetts, there’s a Dunkin Donuts, a CVS and a bank on every corner so it’s a tough market!

During the process of building these new locations, we also wanted to integrate our digital presence with our physical presence which is also difficult to do. First, we decided to do a lot of things that normal banks would do.  I refer to this as “Stunt Marketing” something that will catch people’s eye, create buzz and keep the conversation going, in person and online.

We did things like – hosted a live t-shirt printing night for exclusive t-shirts for our community, gave free coffee to commuters on the Framingham Commuter Rail with a local food truck, hosted a farmers’ market in our parking lot, had a concert and party in our lot with local bands and food and even brewed our own beer with a local brewery.

Additionally, each of these new locations and events had their own presence online and we encourage employees and customers to participate.  Many of which did and helped generate a lot of organic buzz to make us a success!

Time to brag! Can you tell us about one project or campaign that you are particularly proud of?

Our beer collaboration with Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company is probably my favorite moment.  I’m a craft beer lover, so I really enjoyed the outcome, of course, but it was great to work with such fun people to do something that would have a positive impact on our community! We created a beer recipe together that we sold during Demo Tape Fest – which is a celebration of local music.  The beer and the festival benefited the Rise Above Foundation, which provides funding and experiences to children in foster care.  We were able to fundraise over $1700 for the organization and we had a great time doing it!  Now we are known as the “the bank with the beer” but even better, we are continuing that relationship with Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company and launching a new beer on Dec. 1!

The beer and the fundraising weren’t the only things that we got out of the campaign, but we wanted to integrate our digital and physical presence with the campaign.  So, we created blogs, got a lot of press coverage and a lot of UGC (User Generated Content) out of it.  People were posting where they were enjoying our beer.  We saw an increase of 17% organically in our social media engagement and 20,000 impressions of our content over the course of 6 weeks (compared to our normal 600-800 weekly impressions).

You’ll be speaking on the Optimizing Customer Experience panel at the Massachusetts Marketing Summit. What unique challenges does Avidia Bank face in your industry and how do you work to overcome them?

Financial institutions are often slow to keep up with technology and digital marketing and struggle to integrate it into their customer experience.  While we, as FIs often think that customers compare us to other FIs, they aren’t.  They actually are comparing us to their customer experiences at other places like the supermarket, online shopping, apps etc.  For example, if you’re a bank and you think your branch is super cutting edge because you have an iPad stuck to the wall, you might be wrong.  Who is engaging the iPad, what kind of content is on the iPad, is it current, relevant, memorable?  Does the area around the iPad in the branch, match with the technology?

When someone leaves the branch, will they remember that experience and be able to experience it at home and get the same look and feel (like on your website, portals and social media?)

This is where you need to merge your in-branch experience with your online experience.  We know more and more people handle their banking online and rarely visit a branch but when they do, they should have the same experience.  For example, your branding on your website and Instagram should match what your branch looks like and they should be tied together.  It should be the same look and feel, the same colors, the same experience.

When we built our newest locations and as we are renovating our current locations, we are doing just that.  Our new locations have our colors, branding, community imagery all throughout their design.  Additionally, there’s digital experiences like our touch screen, social media feeds on screens, and places to snap a selfie and share that you’re “going from #homebuyer to #homeowner”.  We are probably one of the only banks that also has hashtags on the walls.

This has made for an impressive customer experience and in those newest locations, that’s what we hear from our customers.  One of our customers has even said “it’s like your website has come to live in your branch!”  and that’s exactly what we want to hear.


  • Bob Cargill

    Bob Cargill, who was named the New England Direct Marketing Association's "Direct Marketer of the Year" for 2009, is an independent social media director, content marketer, copywriter, storyteller, creative director and public speaker...available for hire. You can follow Bob on Twitter at @cargillcreative.