WaMu Shows New Employees How Well it Knows Chicago
The world’s largest barbecue may have introduced Windy City consumers to WaMu, but the bank needed some quality time with its employees, many of whom were new to the company and knew little about the brand, its divisions, and their fellow coworkers in town.
Mind Opera staged an event last August to introduce new branch employees to the company as well as to other Chicago-area folks working inside WaMu’s various financial divisions. The Rosemont Theatre was secured and transformed into an environment that celebrated the city. Goal: The bank wanted to show that it knew Chicago, and that it belonged there.
Guests were shuttled in and greeted with themed banners, food, and mobile projectionists flashing imagery on walls from backpack-mounted spotlights. The event began with a historical video about Chicago to prove how well WaMu knew the city. “We wanted to make them proud of the city and get them excited about Washington Mutual being there,” says Mind Opera vp of production Tom Schabarum.
As the video ended, four screens dropped one by one, showcasing bank employees opening up their branches. A blues riff came next, then a quick chat with two Chicago Washington Mutual executives. Throughout the event, video bumpers told the stories of three WaMu employees from different segments of the company (so all attendees could relate to at least one of the stories). “You can’t do this sort of thing with an employee manual,” says Cheryl Di Re, the bank’s senior vp-marketing. “This allowed us to bring together a group of people and make them feel like a part of our brand.”
Attendees had a blast, with the event scoring high marks. Case in point, from one attendee: “I am impressed that I work for a company that finds it important to inform employees of business events and chooses to do so in a fun and exciting way.”