Culture and Ride For The Brand

Bank Branding

First Reliance Bank ($534mm, SC) recently took their strong culture on the road, in a manner of speaking, as they rolled out a new marketing campaign called “Ride for the Brand.” This is an easy campaign to pull off yet only a small percentage of banks do it. The campaign asks employees to put their logo sticker on their back windshield or use one of their rearview mirror hanging tags. To encourage participation, they did a drawing for Roomba robotic vacuum for everyone who displayed the “Arc Logo” (below).  


The bank now has about 145 employees driving around as visible ambassadors for the brand in some of the cheapest marketing a bank can do. By our estimation, that is an extra 2,300 people per day that will visually see that logo and potentially associate it with the bank.


The Cultural Litmus Test


First Reliance, as we can personally attest, has one of the stronger cultures in banking. This was not a big ask of their employees, but this campaign does serve as a benchmark litmus test of a bank’s culture. What percentage of your bank’s employees would willfully want to display the bank’s logo? Would they do it out of obligation or out of pride?  


Bank Branding



Let’s take this a step further. What percentage of your customers would want to display your bank’s logo?


As a thought experiment, or even a strategic planning exercise, consider this question – what would your bank have to do to have customers displaying your logo on the back of their cars? Schools have this type of brand status and pull this off all the time. The military branches easily do this as do professional sports teams, unions, radio stations, music bands, charitable causes, communities and, of course, political organizations. Some corporations also achieve this status such as Apple, NPR, Smith & Wesson, Starbucks, and many sports-related logos (Nike, Cabela’s, GoPro, cross-fit boxes, etc.).


The answer to that question should help you better define your culture and, in the process, maybe a new marketing campaign for next year. Ignore the question, and maybe the window sticker below might be appropriate? 


Bank Branding