We know community banking. Using our deep insights into the emotional needs and financial goals of traditional community banking prospects, plus the growing number of people disenfranchised by regional powerhouses and national megabanks, we can increase your deposits.
It's an aggressive goal, but one our experience shows can be achieved with a more strategic use of technology that fosters more self-directed, personalized tools that emphasize security.
ABC Bancorp was a holding company for a handful of small town community banks located in rural sections of Georgia and Alabama. After years of acquiring banks, the company wanted to pull 12 different identities into a single brand that would capture everything the bank was and had been, as well as position it for expansion into more and bigger markets. They also wanted the brand to connect to their symbol on Wall Street, which they were not keen on changing. After diving in and discovering what it was that so many customers liked about these local banks - in many towns these banks were doing quite well, despite the fact that national megabanks claiming to be 'community' banks were popping up left and right. We centered in on the customer service and local decision-making that made people feel like they were being heard. Cliché as it sounds, our banks were built around people you know helping people you know - instead of distant Wall Street bankers denying anything that didn't directly benefit a shareholder.
We developed a brand that the bank could own both literally and figuratively speaking (it's tough staking out turf on the Internet these days). Ameris is a derivative of the Latin word for Friendship, and also a subtle interpretation of America. American values and the American dream are always right at home at Ameris Bank. Launching the brand wasn't without risk - internal and external stakeholders were pretty connected to the straightforward-styled nomenclature that defined their bank for upwards of 50 years. But, the distinct uniqueness of the Ameris brand that we developed struck a chord and produced immediate benefits - loans and deposits spiked almost immediately after we unveiled the brand to the public.
52 years after being founded to serve North Florida's military families, Jax Navy Federal Credit Union got a new charter that let them serve North Florida's entire five-county area with or without having a history of family military service. In order to overcome the "I-can't-join" perception that existed in much of the community, Jax Navy decided that a new brand was in order. There was some concern that the name switch might alienate some of their longtime members. In the end, after a strategic internal launch and the credit union's first ever television campaign, the new brand was an instant success. The first promotion netted $96 million in loans and attracted 6,000 new members.
We knew one of the biggest strengths VyStar Credit Union had to offer was one of banking's biggest weaknesses: customer service. To help VyStar Credit Union generate more loans, we decided to hit banks right where they were hurting themselves. In order to hammer home the point of difference, we put a simple twist on the warm-and-fuzzy, slice-of-life approach favored by many financial institutions: instead of addressing one another by names, people addressed one another by their account numbers. The campaign delivered the message - at VyStar you're not a number, you're an owner - and spiked loan applications by 38%.
When the already successful Florida College Prepaid Program partnered with Robin Shepherd Studios in 2001, we began an aggressive direct marketing, public relations, advertising and web campaign. The results were unprecedented growth in enrollment: 25% in 2002, soaring to a 39% increase in 2003.