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How Bank Branch Grand Openings Can Create Buzz in Urban Markets


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When banks and credit unions open new branches or relocate/renovate existing branches, they have an opportunity not only to evolve the brand’s physical footprint but also to grab market share from competitors. This is especially true in densely trafficked and populated urban markets. This new guide from Media Logic presents a strategic approach to turning bank branch grand opening celebrations into well-thought-out campaigns designed for acquiring new customers – and creating buzz – in the urban market.

Imagery for the guide was sourced from Mintel Comperemedia, September 2018.

Published in: Marketing
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How Bank Branch Grand Openings Can Create Buzz in Urban Markets

  1. 1. Fall 2018 A playbook for bank branch marketing Stealing share in urban markets
  2. 2. Introduction Many financial institutions are opening new branches, relocating branches or renovating existing ones. There are specific challenges to branch openings in densely trafficked and populated urban markets. Differences in the environment and audience must be considered and accommodated. Your FI will acquire customers – consumer, small business, commercial – through “grand opening” campaigns that successfully create awareness, promote products and services, and showcase your technology and human interface. To that end, this playbook will help you: ▪ Start with a high-level look at the market ▪ Explore a surround strategy and campaign tactics ▪ Review a sampler from banks and credit union efforts – local versus urban examples ▪ Consider three preliminary marketing plans scaled to potential investment 2 For purposes of illustration, the exploration of strategies and tactics are based on an FI with plans to open a new branch in a Boston neighborhood.
  3. 3. Target: Urban Market X Consider basic demographics in your geographic target. Your operations team has done the heavy lifting to size the business opportunity before entering the market. Aligning your marketing levers with demographics will help you identify the reasons why prospects should consider banking with you. Relevancy is critical. Example: a Boston neighborhood relies on demographic-based insights to guide which products, services, and brand attributes will attract prospects. ▪ Neighborhood of predominantly older Millennials (35.9 mean age) ▪ $120k mean HH income (2016) ▪ Almost equal gender split ▪ On average, 1.5 people/HH ▪ 16.3% of HHs are married (65.1% of HHS have children) 3Source: City Data Mission critical: motivating an already banked population to engage with you and consider switching the relationship or adding you to the mix.
  4. 4. Reasons to believe You can define areas of differentiation to leverage towards a successful launch. Reasons to believe will guide and inform new branch campaign theme and messaging. The goal is to carve out “white space” for market entry. For example, Bank ABC – a regional player entering an urban market – could examine the competitive set and then focus on the bank’s narrow set of key messages, backed up by proof points. Bank ABC “White Space” Exploration ▪ RTB #1: Satisfied customers - Promote our stellar reputation…Bank ABC is ranked as the “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Mid-Atlantic” – JD Power 2017 US Retail Banking Satisfaction Study ▪ RTB #2: Big Bank benefits with no hassle - Focus on our technology – free mobile banking with fingerprint login, remote deposit from any device, mobile wallet services, and an award-winning app to safeguard debit card information - Promote branch choice – choice of technology and people ▪ RTB #3: Relationship is more than an aspiration - Our reputation, vision, and recognition (awards and consumer ratings) - Baked into our culture 4
  5. 5. Preliminary approach Pre-launch, launch, and post-launch activities should ladder up to a single set of strategic imperatives and serve as guidelines for all campaign initiatives: ▪ Be highly targeted - Reach people where they live…where they work…where they play - Segment specific: consumer, business, banked, unbanked, neighborhood residents, neighborhood commuter; - Existing customers who work in the area will be made aware of the branch through your normal channels ▪ Stand apart and proud - Take a stand without denigrating competitive set - Leverage your reputation (what your advocates say about you) to appeal to those seeking an elevated experience – one that is better, easier, friendlier, comprehensive ▪ Promote good feelings (service) and feeling good (technology for safety, convenience, always on, frictionless) - Technology is attractive especially when it can be personalized - Backed by people remains very important to customers…the ability to get help and support with a human advisor - Easy access to a branch is the third biggest driver of loyalty but as more services migrate online, customers are looking for a branch experience that blends physical and digital seamlessly 5 Customers say responsive customer service and brand integrity – as well as related elements such as conveniently located branches – are key to ensuring loyalty. Accenture, 2017.
  6. 6. Foundation: create “Urban Buzz” The campaign must attract attention, pull in traffic, and start conversations to convert prospects to customers. Given the urban nature of prospects, carefully evaluate and implement a campaign with Look, Tone, Feel and promotional offers that meet the sensitivities of your targets. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you can “lift and shift” past neighborhood grand opening campaigns to the urban environment. All foundational concepts and campaigns should be extendable to small business and commercial efforts when appropriate. Any drive-to-branch promotion could feature giveaways matched to the demography – the buzz should be tied to relevancy versus monetary value and avoid the clichés seen in many FI marketing examples. The promotion itself would be overlaid onto branch opening communications and branch merchandising: ▪ ATMs, resting screens for PCs located in branch ▪ Branch signage (solo and product signage with promo snipe) ▪ Take one/insert ▪ Staff accessories (e.g. buttons and themed tablet screens they utilize in branch) 6
  7. 7. Sample surround strategy 7 Three-touch consumer direct mail stream Local partnerships and “ambassadors” BRANCH B2B campaign targeting employers (SBO and Commercial enterprises), employees Social “Experience” landing page Above the line – OOH and Print Foundation: Buzz-worthy, urban marketing drives to branch Mobile using WiFi network
  8. 8. Tactic: Drive to “Experience” landing page All communications should drive to a landing page for a branch preview, as well as to invite prospect to the branch. The landing page can be a simple, but powerful, destination for housing content designed to pre-engage and preview the new Branch Experience: ▪ Affords a glimpse into the branch and preview of new services and technology ▪ Features a short video - Messages from key stakeholders (President/CEO, Branch Manager, etc.) - Architectural renderings with voice over “walk through” ▪ Provides timeline for branch opening and celebration ▪ Previews opening “urban buzz” event ▪ Promotes offers ▪ Facilitates online scheduling to set appointment/consult during first month 8
  9. 9. Post-launch Tactic: three-touch direct mail stream 9 Key Messages: Get ready Brand amplification Call-to-Action: Drive to “Experience” landing page/video Visit the branch on <date> Key Message: We’re Set Brand amplification Call-to-Action: Visit branch (with offer promotion) Urban Branch Opens Key Message: Go Brand amplification Call-to-Action: Visit branch Targeted product offer Launch-15
  10. 10. Tactic: evolve and elevate targeted DM 10 Proposed Three-Touch DM stream used in integrated strategy Examine existing new branch campaigns – targeting, acquisition offer, product focus, sweepstakes promotions or other drive-to- branch promotions. Communications may require a more contemporized and urban LTF (look, tone, feel) plus new execution tactics and channels. Move to a multi-touch targeted direct mail campaign that will build upon best practices and contemporize and amplify your brand. ▪ Uses frequency and timing to build awareness and excitement ▪ Belongs to a campaign and reflects theme – the thread of steal – designed to engage and move desired prospect segment to action ▪ Drives to “Experience” landing page ▪ Promotes compelling reasons to switch including ▪ Promotes limited-time offer ▪ Geo targeting of neighborhood residents (ideally with overlay to identify most desirable targets) Branch Opening DM is typically the work horse of campaign Imagery sourced from Mintel Comperemedia September, 2018
  11. 11. Tactic: two-pronged B2B campaign Outreach to surrounding business to (1) introduce your brand; and (2) engage them as advocates with their employees ▪ B2B: Communications to Finance (versioned for SBO/Commercial enterprises) promoting your bank, including business facing sell-sheet and new business customer tool kit ▪ B2C: Communications to HR to be used with their employees - Pre-launch sponsored “take a break” – hospitality delivered to business, new branch promotion – with your representative onsite - Multi-purpose insert (mailbox stuffer, HR handout, paycheck insert) and breakroom posters - E-mail (distributed by employer) or direct mail to employee base - All content aligns with key messaging – benefits, services, offer, promotional buzz - Ideal timing in advance of branch opening - Could explore any ongoing opportunities after the launch timeframe 11
  12. 12. Tactic: awareness advertising Carefully use “above-the-line” media to drive awareness, promote attractive offer and create “urban buzz” at branch opening Overall goals: ▪ Accomplish the task in an efficient way through smart selection of media channels ▪ Reach two key segments: Population residing in neighborhood and commuter population ▪ Secure placements in neighborhood to touch residents and commuters using ad impressions proximal to retail, restaurants, entertainment venues and transit ▪ Be disruptive (e.g., billboard roving the downtown streets) ▪ Ideal timing would allow for pre-launch and launch support 12
  13. 13. Tactic: reach prospects through mobile Use Mobile WiFi delivery of promotional messages to prospects ▪ Geofencing can define the marketing area (e.g., a radius around the new branch) ▪ Ads can be served up to targets as they pass through the geofenced areas and are dynamically generated based on location and analytic data ▪ Your campaign can then activate mobile content to a series of apps/mobile websites ▪ Can be used in conjunction with OOH at the same location 13
  14. 14. Tactic: build cross-brand advocates Informally strike short-term partnerships with businesses serving the neighborhood with the goal of engaging prospects where they live, work, play ▪ Look into possible relationships with smaller (but high traffic) businesses such as fitness clubs or restaurants ▪ Gain exposure via promotional collateral – tent card, static cling, inserts at their front desks, POS, check presenter folios, etc. ▪ Ideal timing would allow for pre-launch and week of the opening ▪ These venues may also, themselves, be targets for a commercial account – combine partnership solicitation with a customized offer for the business itself 14
  15. 15. Tactic: social promotion Utilize your owned social channels – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for business purposes – to build awareness and drive traffic to branch ▪ Utilize social paid advertising using Digital Custom Audience (FB, Twitter) ▪ Use programmatic targeted ads (reach audience through third-party targeting of prospects,as available) ▪ Flight posts across campaign with relevant content customized against timing (pre-launch, day of launch, ongoing) 15
  16. 16. Exploration: advertising opportunities Explore available media in the surrounding neighborhood including: ▪ Outdoor Media – bulletins, walls, digital bulletins ▪ Bus Media – outside display and interior ▪ Street Furniture – bike share, digital urban panels, metro lights ▪ Subway Media – platform posters, dioramas, station signage ▪ Specialty Media – windows, elevators, car park domination ▪ Mobile Network – geofencing delivery of promotions (Outfront Mobile Network) 16
  17. 17. Branch opening marketing examples 17
  18. 18. Drive-to-branch sampler 18 The challenge: conceptualize a strong promotion with high appeal to an urban audience. Capital One has the most sophisticated promotion facilitated by their “café” concept as seen in their Austin Grand Opening Sustaining branch visits through ongoing weekly offers is a sound strategy Contests/games are typical of new branch promotions – consider appropriateness to urban audience Imagery sourced from Mintel Comperemedia September, 2018
  19. 19. Drive-to-branch sampler 19 Typical neighborhood branch promotions feature gifts for visiting and chance to win higher value prize The challenge: conceptualize a strong promotion with high appeal to an urban audience. Imagery sourced from Mintel Comperemedia September, 2018
  20. 20. Drive-to-branch sampler 20 Regions Bank uses video to introduce new locations where customers and prospects can “Experience Modern Banking” The challenge: conceptualize a strong promotion with high appeal to an urban audience. Wells Fargo brought in its iconic stagecoach (the perfect photo op) for a Minneapolis branch opening. WFB contributes stuffed ponies – also identified with their brand – to local children’s charities Imagery sourced from Mintel Comperemedia September, 2018
  21. 21. Campaign at-a-glance 21
  22. 22. 22 CAMPAIGN MILESTONES (EXAMPLE) Month One Month Two Month Three Urban Branch Opening X Campaign planning and development X X X X Concepting/campaign creative development X X X X Video, print, digital production X X X X Media and partnerships secured X X X X X X Direct mail – three drops X X X Landing page launched/ongoing X X X X X X X X B2B and B2C campaigns (businesses) X X X Social posts/advertising X X X X OOH/print ads (above the line) in market X X X X Mobile digital advertising X X Branch merchandising (grand opening focused, not BAU) X X
  23. 23. The information contained in this presentation is copyrighted and may not be distributed, modified, reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written permission of Media Logic. The images from this presentation may not be reproduced in any form without the prior advance written consent of Media Logic. The Media Logic logo is a trademark of Media Logic. All other trademarks are acknowledged as being the property of their respective holders. Proprietary and Confidential, © 2017 Media Logic. All Rights Reserved. 59 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205 t 518.456.3015 f 518.456.4279 Media Logic specializes in financial services marketing and counts among its clients some of the largest and most well-known brands in the world. With over twenty years of financial services marketing experience, we have the knowledge and expertise need to deliver strategically-grounded, breakthrough solutions that rive results and optimize marketing effectiveness and efficiency. From branding and product launches to acquisition and retention campaigns…we’ve done it all and we know what works. Learn more about Media Logic at and subscribe to our financial services marketing newsletter Jim McDonald, Director of Business Development 518.456.3015 x274