Union Bank Tests New Branding Campaign By Going Big In San Diego

Union Bank is a small bank that wanted its new branding campaign to make a big impact.

So the West Coast-based regional bank will test new messaging in a single market – San Diego – where it can buy enough advertising to match bigger banks.

“The four large banks dwarf everyone else in terms of share of voice,” said Maha Madain, head of enterprise marketing at Union Bank. “In order for us to gain appropriate attention, we needed to test the campaign in a market where we felt we could do a decent spend.”

In September, it’s launching a full-funnel campaign spanning local TV, radio and geotargeted digital ads that will run through the spring.

The messaging, “Your Details Matter,” came from surveys and focus groups that showed consumers wanted banks that listened to them, had their best interests at heart and didn’t treat them as an “average” customer.

After learning what customers wanted, Union Bank investigated how well it met those needs. The bank hired mystery shoppers to gauge how its employees responded to its top three consumer requests. Luckily, the customer service teams excelled – setting the stage for the brand campaign emphasizing the bank’s strengths at a personalized approach.

Union Bank is capturing data wherever it can.

To measure how the new marketing changes brand perception, Union Bank commissioned a baseline study of how consumers perceived the bank before the campaign started. Then it will do “pulse” checks every two months to see how brand perception is changing.

“With any brand campaign, you need 12 to 18 months to really see it take hold in the market. We are not going to wait until the end – there is no patience,” Madain said.

Existing customers will also be asked to fill out net promoter score surveys to see if the campaign affects their feelings about the bank.

Union Bank is also armed with precise data about how the San Diego market has performed in the past. It monitors referrals for products like mortgages and new household acquisitions for accounts.

The geotargeted campaign will allow Union Bank to track if the San Diego market is improving compared to past benchmarks. But Madain’s team can also determine whether San Diego outperforms other markets that aren’t exposed to the new marketing message.

To drive performance, Union Bank is weaving its new message through all touch points a customer experiences before using the bank.

Consumers who visit Union Bank’s website after viewing or hearing an ad will see a completely new look, designed by the same creative agency that made the “Your Details Matter” ads. When they visit a branch, they’ll be greeted by employees who have received new sales training and even hew to different dress codes.

The San Diego branch is Union Bank’s “innovation lab,” where it tests new ideas and approaches to banking. That made it a fitting market to test its new media approach, Madain said.

Within six months, Union Bank will consider expanding the campaign to other markets depending on what it learns in San Diego. Of particular interest to Madain is how digital audio and digital video perform, since they offer an attractively less expensive option in larger markets like Los Angeles.

“How much we get out of digital, in particular, is important – and we will rely heavily on the learnings from this campaign,” she said.

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