Andrea Brimmer

Our business mindset is marketing disruption—but disruption with a purpose.  How can we not only engage, but educate and entertain at the same time?  We try and add value to every touchpoint with the consumer, but in a way that is highly differentiated.  

What has always made us different, aside from being all digital, is that unwavering focus on doing right by the customer no matter what. And the coronavirus crisis has intensified our mission to be a true ally to our customers, employees, and communities.

There has never been a more critical time to deliver on our promise to ‘do it right.’

In mid-March, I asked my whole team and our agencies to do a complete inventory of everything we had in market to make sure that it didn’t sound tone deaf to what’s going on in the world. We reallocated our media to places where people are spending their time these days – gaming, social, digital and broadcast. To make sure customers can find the help they need and answers they’re looking for quickly and easily, we’ve increased email and on-site communication—making sure those communications are clear, empathetic and use a human, real voice.

Our relief program is the most comprehensive in the industry and is focused not only on our consumer customers but dealer customers as well.  It’s inclusive of payment deferrals for auto loans, home loans, suspension of fees and many of the business loans dealers take through us. Additionally, we are donating $3M to respond to critical needs identified by our community partners, with a focus on our hometown locations of Detroit and Charlotte.

To ease the burden of these trying times, we are also rolling out some fun content that shines a light on the things people are doing for one another, using SeeHer Advisory Board Member Katie Couric as our narrator. We are also using our social channels to answer financial questions people have right now, and giving customer awards out for the best “stay at home” versions of many things to add some levity to people’s days. 

I’m also exceptionally proud of the way Ally has stepped up quickly to ensure our people were working from home, safe, and well taken care of. Culture and purpose are inextricably linked in my opinion, and if you cultivate a strong culture, your brand purpose will thrive.  

For me culture is about deeds, not words. It means showing up when it’s important to your team, and ensuring they know you are there with them no matter what.  It’s about surrounding yourself with good people that value the same things and while their approach may be different than yours, their focus is the same.  It’s about truly caring about people.  

Ally is a family for me, so many of the people on my team and among my peers are my closest friends in this world.  Culture is precious, you must work at nurturing and protecting it consistently, whether it’s taking time to mentor, having regular all hands meetings, acts of gratitude, or simply being there to listen to someone.  

I am exceptionally proud of our culture at Ally. You really see that strong culture manifest itself in times like now when we are facing unprecedented challenges as a country as a result of this pandemic. We are showing up big time for our people, our customers and doing the right thing not because somebody told us to, but because we are bound by a strong purpose. 

That belief, in fact, also motivates our partnership with SeeHer. 

Our CEO, Jeff Brown, has six women on his executive council, a number that has doubled since he took the lead. My leadership team is also 80% women, so we drive a female point of view through everything. We all recognize that we work in a category that hasn’t always been welcoming to women customers, and we do our best to break those “traditional bank” stereotypes. Further, women in general are more apprehensive about making financial decisions, so we work hard to ensure we take a real, human approach in everything we do   

I feel lucky to work in an organization that takes gender equality, and other facets of equality, very seriously. I’ve worked in two industries, automotive and financial services, that aren’t known for taking gender equality seriously, and I’ve seen a lot of that change for the better over my career.

I have a stepdaughter who I adore and it’s more important to me than ever to model the behavior of a strong woman so she knows nobody can ever tell her what she can and can’t do.  And as the mother of two boys, and one stepson, it’s important to me that they are raised as open-minded men that have fierce respect for women’s equality.