Origin Bank took advantage of many of the services we provide at Adrenaline – branding, advertising, retail environment design. In 2014, when Origin Bank was known as Community Trust Bank, the institution was having a brand identity problem. More than 236 banks and credit unions in their market had either “Community” or “Trust” in their name. In addition, Community Trust Bank was growing and moving into new markets; it needed a name and a fresh look to introduce itself to potential customers.
Meet Community Trust Bank
Community Trust Bank was a community bank that had reached peak market share in their base market of Ruston, LA. In 2014, it was one of the region’s fasting growing banks with nearly $4 billion in assets.
The bank started moving into new markets in Texas and Mississippi including large metropolitan areas such as Houston and Dallas.
If you’d asked anyone in Ruston, they could tell you exactly who Community Trust Bank was. The bank was known and fervently loved in its hometown. But in Dallas or Houston, it’s a new brand with no equity and very little name recognition. And after expanding into three states, “community” felt limiting to the consumer and commercial growth they hoped to achieve.
Getting to Origin
Community Trust Bank was founded in 1912. The bank remained open through the depression years of the 1930s and, while many regional banks suffered during the 2008 recession, Community Trust grew. By 2014, the brand had generations of equity; the newly developed name needed to pay tribute to this rich history. The bank’s senior leadership explained the new name and new brand as an evolution, not a revolution.
“Changing our name is a strategic branding decision that exemplifies our core values of innovation, flexibility and forward thinking,” said Origin Bank CEO Drake Mills. “In the banking industry, if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
From our perspective, the financial space is in a sea of sameness. Banks tend to walk, talk and act alike. Most banks think twice about climbing out on a limb and claiming to be unique – because deep down, they know they’re really not.
But for Community Trust, uniqueness isn’t lip service. Long before the Googles and Zappos of the world awakened the business world to the benefit of culture, Community Trust championed culture. Every year, the bank held a Culture Celebration, where employees assembled to learn and celebrate the company vision, mission and values.
Through an ideation session with the bank’s key stake holders, Adrenaline’s strategists and creatives developed the brand positioning that would guide Community Trust Bank’s new name and new brand: Unique from Within.
From its elite financial talent to its progressive philosophy on culture, Community Trust Bank is genuinely Unique from Within.
Thinking in that space, Adrenaline started brainstorming new names. After exploring hundreds of names, Origin Bank was the perfect fit. An “origin” is the starting point of beginning or creation. It is the source or cause of something. The name Origin exemplifies uniqueness from within—their core strength and brand position—celebrating the past while stepping confidently into the future.
“This brand change and what we went through, was exactly what we needed to create an identity that everyone bought into,” Mills said.
A Look and Feel Both New and Familiar
There are four pillars to the Origin Bank mission statement: customers, community, employees and shareholders. When making any decision of consequence, the bank’s leaders consider how it might affect each pillar. Internally, the bank communicates its mission statement with the following graphic, which inspired the new logo.
“A lot of clients come to us and they want a total redo,” says Senior Art Director Tex Grubbs. “Origin Bank wanted to build on where they’d been. They were really proud of their history and culture.”
Origin’s leadership wanted their identity to be a natural evolution.
“There was so much strategy in why we did things for Origin that carried throughout every piece of the brand,” Grubbs says. “We had to find a way to keep that connection and also make an attractive and modern mark.”
A Brand Launch in Three Parts
Rolling out a new brand is a sensitive operation for an institution like Origin with more than 100 years of history and a beloved reputation in their hometown market. Adrenaline segmented the launch into three parts: internal, customer and market, and created a strategy for each step of the launch.
The employee announcement came from Drake Mills, the bank’s longtime CEO, in a launch video shown at the annual Culture Celebration. Adrenaline created a video explaining the brand’s evolution.
Origin Bank branded promotional items got employees excited about the new brand.
The next day, Adrenaline’s Director of Culture, Rebecca Doepke, led a training program to educate and motivate the employees on the new brand. Adrenaline designed a culture handbook that acted as a guide book for the Origin Bank brand ambassadors:
The customer launch was a little trickier. With employees, Origin’s leadership could take the time to explain the details of the rebrand, why it happened and what it would mean for the future. For the customer launch, it was critical to explain Origin Bank had not been purchased or taken over, and was the same institution they knew and trusted.
We helped the client maintain control over the customer’s perception of the new brand. We created a series of communications, including direct mail, a website landing page, in-branch communications and a video for the web and social media channels. We wanted every customer touch point to reinforce the message that Community Trust was now Origin Bank.
Now that the employees and customers were aware of the new name, we had to launch the brand to the market in a big way. The campaign concept, For the Original in You, focused on the originality of Origin’s customers and how the bank puts in the effort to serve their individual needs. The opposite of a cookie-cutter bank for cookie-cutter customers, this campaign embraces everyday originality.
Launching a new brand requires conversion of every customer and potential customer touch point—and the branches are no exception. Origin Bank had more than 40 financial centers in its network. The task was to find everywhere Community Trust Bank existed and convert it into the new Origin Bank brand. Like many banks, they had diverse branch formats throughout their network. We created a “kit of parts,” which helped to standardize how the brand is applied across the various branch formats in a tiered format of application.
We tell our clients that this is going to be a long journey. Once the client sees how the brand comes to life in branded elements, communications, and finally the branch environment, they start to realize why Adrenaline as a company is designed to do the things we do.
It all starts with a strategy that acts as a guiding post throughout every step of the process. We must truly understand the client to craft an appropriate strategy for them. As Ryan Kilpatrick, Origin Bank’s SVP Business Development and Director of Culture Strategies, stated, “you feel like Adrenaline is a part of your team, and that is what ultimately made our launch and our rebrand so successful.”