Launching a New Kind of Bank

 Monty Wyne

We were contacted by the new leadership of First Bank of Tennessee, a community bank that had been successfully serving a loyal group of customers for generations. Their market, however, was changing. Customers were getting younger. New technology was changing banking services and the way people banked. It was time to reposition the bank’s brand.

Brian May, president, and executive creative director called for a Day One, which is an extensive brand review we conduct with clients and members of the agency account and creative teams. The idea is to build an entirely new brand platform. A platform that captures the brand’s essence, including its unique voice and brand personality, the culture it represents, and somehow distinguishes it from its competitors.

We completed a thorough review of the competitive landscape, which included First Bank of Tennessee’s in-market rivals, as well as the regional and national players who provided virtual services. For years, the bank had prided itself on personal service and day-to-day contact with its customers. Today, people interact with their bank through their computers and smartphones. They can do business with their bank without ever paying them a visit. We asked ourselves, “How does First Bank compete in this environment?” The answer? “Redefining what a community bank is today.”

Everyone agreed that maintaining the “personal touch” and feeling like a “bank from around here” were important. However, forward thinking was called for when it came to virtual services and the changes taking place in banking today. It was also important for the bank’s success to be closely tied to the community’s success. Regional or national players lacked the local roots First Bank offered, and they weren’t tied to the success of local communities. Plus, our virtual options came with an added advantage. That” personal touch & simplicity” they wouldn’t find at the big banks.

Following these findings and recommendations, our next step was to rename the bank. Brian and Monty Wyne, senior copywriter, began a detailed name exploration. The name had to support the idea that First Bank of TN was friendly, accessible and available. It made banking more straightforward and easier. And even though life could be complicated, banking shouldn’t be.

With these established benchmarks, a list of some 150 possible names was generated. The list was narrowed to four favorites. Each was evaluated by the client and the agency utilizing our “Naming Criteria Evaluation Worksheet,” which ranks the names on a scale of 1 to 10, measuring attributes like the first impression, credibility, and more. Our finalist was Simply Bank, which not only redefined community banking but offered customers the advantage of simplifying their financial lives.

Maycreate built the bank’s identity package, which included the bank’s new colors, typeface, and brand standards guide. Each element represented a friendly, accessible, and personable brand personality. Each said that something new and better was going on at Simply Bank. We wanted customers to (re)think what it meant to do business with the bank.

We also generated several new taglines that supported the name and emphasized the fact that the bank was there to uncomplicate your financial life making banking easy. The chosen tagline... Money Uncomplicated.

From there, we had a long list of deliverables: a new website w/original content, outdoor, print, collateral, digital ads, direct mail, on-hold phone audio with scripts and voiceovers, stationery set, and working with the bank’s interior designers...and each came with tight deadlines.

Grant Little, senior art director, and web designer designed the new Site. The contemporary design showcases a new way of banking. The real-life photos depict happy couples, working people, small business, those enjoying life and the services and resources they’ve found at Simply Bank. His attention to page content and site structure also allows users the advantage of quickly getting to the information they’re interested in. Click here to visit the Site

Monty found a new voice for the bank in the Site’s content. Copy that was conversational and friendly, engaging the Site’s visitors and connecting with them one-on-one, making each visit a personal experience. The end result was the Site’s visitors felt at ease and in touch with the bank. A bank that offered service with a “personal touch” and is tech-savvy .

The bank and its customers are very happy with the end result. Simply Bank, formerly First Bank of Tennessee, is well positioned to not only compete in the ever-changing virtual marketplace of banking but does so with something very few competitors offer these days...a “personal touch.”