SMPL Q&A: Britt Bulla and Leesa Wytock talk about our work with Mizuho Americas

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Mizuho Americas is an integral part of the Japan-based Mizuho Financial Group, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, offering comprehensive financial and strategic services. Siegel+Gale collaborated with Mizuho Americas to better position the organization and its offerings by developing a comprehensive brand platform and digital presence, including a dynamic website and user experience at mizuhoamericas.com. In this SMPL Q&A we speak with Britt Bulla, senior director, strategy and Leesa Wytock, director, digital experience, about our engagement.

Britt Bulla, Senior Director, Strategy

Why did Mizuho engage Siegel+Gale?
Mizuho knew that they had something special and unique in the Americas. They had all the ingredients—the heritage in Japan, the track record in all the markets they do business in and a roster of impressive people on the ground here in the US, Canada, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. In their own words, they were the biggest bank you never heard of. They came to S+G because they needed a way to tell their story—to differentiate their offering—to clients and to prospective employees in a clear, sharp, cut-through way. They do world-class, leading work, and they needed an in-market brand presence that reflects who they are.

What role did research play in the brand positioning?
To a large degree, many banks look and sound, from the outside at least, the same—they offer the same services, with the same types of people, to the same types of clients. For that reason, this was more of an exercise in finding their common uniting purpose as a firm. What makes them special? What kind of talent comes to Mizuho? What do they do that is unique? In-depth work sessions and interviews with their senior executives, leaders and staff-on-the-ground, coupled with one-on-one client interviews, gave us the insight we needed.

What made this engagement unique?
While all engagements are unique, the big thing about this one, and its big challenge, was that most organizations would take a situation where each conversation, deal or team had very different and often opposed factors and find themselves either in conflict (i.e., us versus them), in denial (it’s not a problem) or resigned (there’s nothing we can do). Mizuho talent, though, on their best days and in their best moments was turning all this potential conflict into a net positive, actually finding power in the healthy tension. When we realized that was happening, we saw the opening to the idea—And, not or.

 

Leesa Wytock, Director, Digital Experience

How is the digital presence reflective of the Mizuho brand in the Americas?
The digital experience raises Mizuho’s profile in the world by telling their story and, in many cases, serves as their first interaction with a prospective client or employee.

The website’s look and feel is critical in communicating who they are as a company. At first glance, they seem solid. They are confident in their messaging and design. We created the site experience to leave the user with a memorable first impression.

Take another look, and they’re fluid. They adapt quickly to the market when it’s right. They put the user first by being human, service-led and offering up helpful, relevant content. They can do this because of their complementary strengths—knowledge and presence in the Americas—supported by their Japanese heritage of stable decision-making, attention to detail and long-term vision.

The advantage of their differing perspectives isn’t in choosing one over the rest. It’s about finding an equilibrium among them to create a digital experience that is active, temporal and illustrative of the moment—one that shows how they listen, consider and respond.

What were the user goals and objectives?
The site structure and interactions show deliberate transparency and pride in the way Mizuho leads and does business. From the approachable style of their graphics, to the varying perspectives and locations in their photography, to compelling calls-to-action, our main goal was to keep it simple and delight with thoughtful interactions to empower users to act.

 

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