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BACKGROUND

Founded in 1954, CharterBank has grown through acquisitions to 14 locations in primarily college towns across Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Their impressive $1 Billion in combined assets have allowed the brand to deliver hands-on banking that’s equal parts big bank flexibility and hometown service.

CharterBank has always been a champion of handshakes and straightforward banking solutions. But when it found itself needing to change the conversation – this time to target Millennials – it chose Adrenaline as its creative partner.  What they found was a campaign that not only targeted this younger generation, but resonated with customers of all ages with consolidated, repackaged checking accounts, and a sweeping organizational culture shift.

CHALLENGE and RESEARCH

In reviewing CharterBank’s existing Millennial-targeted campaign, “Student Banking 4.0,” Adrenaline’s strategy team – including Scott Hickman, Eduardo Alvarez, and Gina Bleedorn – sought to answer the question, “What does this bank do to better my life?”

charter-beforeWith that in mind, Adrenaline did some in-house research to find out what Millennials really wanted:

With the Millennial perspective in mind, Adrenaline turned to face CharterBank’s challenge head-on.

Objective 1: REVIVE THE BRAND

The CharterBank brand had seen itself become diluted over time, scattered in both product offerings and resonant messaging. To connect with key Millennials while retaining, and not alienating, their Baby Boomer customer base, it needed to create new meaning surrounding banking as an exercise in independence and freedom.

Furthermore, the CharterBank brand offered over 7 different checking account products that needed to be streamlined into 4 highly targeted products. In addition, a revived brand message could turn regulatory changes into positive added value.

Objective 2: CONNECT WITH MILLENNIALS

The conversation between banks and Millennials has flat-lined. Faced with a web of fees and minimums, Millennials want straightforward, ubiquitous service. Even in the face of major college debt, they remain optimistic about their ability to live life unfettered by the burden of finances.

“In consolidating our suite of checking accounts, we were faced with a choice: we could tell customers we were changing their account, or we could weave it into a bigger story about finding happiness. We turned a potentially negative experience for customers into a positive one.” – Donna L. Goodwin, SVP, Director of Marketing, CharterBank

We could tell customers we were changing their account, or we could weave it into a bigger story about finding happiness. We turned a potentially negative experience for customers into a positive one.

- Donna L. Goodwin, SVP, Director of Marketing, CharterBank


THE UNIFYING IDEA

A CULTURAL CONNECTION
Millennials embrace the authentic spirit of Americana and the freedom of mobility. As cultural remixers, Millennials look back to a nostalgic past where people were connected to one another, and anyone could achieve the American Dream. These technology-driven do-it-yourselfers are quick to adopt and invent new ways to connect banking to their active lives.

A BRAND FOR ALL AGES
Look Young. Be Smart. The new brand campaign would speak to the visual language of Millennials while maintaining the integrity of the bank’s 60 year history. Each element designed to start a conversation with young and old, with product literature catering to a specific demographic.

A NEW BRAND PROMISE
With cumbersome rules and limited hours and locations, banks are seen as obstacles to modern consumer lifestyles. Unable to rewrite the regulations, CharterBank decided to rebuild its brand around simplified choices and individualized benefits. The unifying idea positions the bank as an empowering force in the lives of its customers.

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EXECUTION

Step 1: ACTIVATE THE PROMISE:

The first step was to activate the brand promise. Messages such as, “The Pursuit of Happiness / How You Get There is Up to You,” illustrate a bold freedom that is key in CharterBank’s new banking experience.

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Also, newly packaged checking accounts provide meaningful choices that prove “bank” is a verb again:

  • Targeted toward the New IndependentBank Free with Online Statements is “Happiness Free of Charge,” offering a free checking account with no minimum balance, monthly service fee, or per check charge.
  • For the Young Professional, Bank Simple is “Happiness Simplified,” providing a convenient checking account for banking made simple.
  • For the Family BuilderBank Rewarded “Happiness with Rewards,” offers the best value to earn a great interest rate, as well as ATM refunds.
  • And for the Empty NesterBank with Interest is “Happiness Multiplied,” for high balances with high rates of return.

ADR_CharterBank_1500x750Step 2: EMPLOYEE LAUNCH
CharterBank knew that its new efforts at meaningful engagement didn’t stop with its audience. It unveiled a branded employee launch, complete with an intimate event and promotional takeaways. A wearable brand is an ownable brand, which is why the brand also offered up new items like t-shirts, travel mugs, and travel bags that served as a rallying cry for the refreshed, all-American identity.

Step 3: CUSTOMER LAUNCH
Because of the bank’s direct communications with its customers, the brand has to translate well both online and offline. Adrenaline’s design team delivered CharterBank a customized set of branded print templates to launch the account conversions of its customers, consolidating 7 different checking account offerings into 4 streamlined products.

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Step 4: RETAIL ROLL-OUT
Next, the Adrenaline creative team jumpstarted the retail roll-out through a variety of posters, wearables, and print collateral that attracted the attention of customers looking to believe in banking.

Step 5: DIGITAL MARKET LAUNCH
Finally, Adrenaline focused its branding efforts on the interactive space by designing for digital channels to open a dialogue between Millennials and their banks. Through surveys and contests to influence social engagement, animated display ads to illustrate the power of personalized choice, and strategically placed ads that generate intrigue and awareness, Adrenaline created immersive brand experiences that once again reflected the 4 A’s: awareness, activation, adoption, and advocacy.

 

Step 6: OUT-OF-HOME MARKET LAUNCH

Strategically placed advertising was created for public venues, displaying different definitions of “freedom” and “happiness.” The advertising strategy connected a deeper emotional appeal to the brand, which shows that no matter what your dream is – home ownership, having a family, or owning a motorcycle – it’s possible with CharterBank.

CONCLUSION

“What began as a campaign to capture Millennials’ attention evolved into a powerful rallying cry throughout our organization about what it means to bank in the modern age – to trust, engage with, and believe that a bank can help customers achieve their dreams. The campaign breathes energy into who we are now, and who we aspire to be in the future.”  – Donna L. Goodwin, SVP, Director of Marketing, CharterBank

The campaign breathes energy into who we are now, and who we aspire to be in the future.

- Donna L. Goodwin, SVP, Director of Marketing, CharterBank

The Adrenaline team knew that its goal for CharterBank’s Millennial-focused branding efforts was threefold: create bolder brand awareness, give Generation Y the opportunity to join the banking conversation, and affect behavior by delivering a creative experience that invigorates the industry status quo.

Harnessing the power of strategy and insight-driven creative, Adrenaline provided CharterBank with a completely refreshed brand image that resonates with customers young and old. See it live at www.pursuemyhappiness.com