How Great Bank Brand Stories Are Built


Few bankers doubt the power of great storytelling. Instead of advertising, many banks have evolved into showcasing a customer, employee, or creative narrative that walks the reader to some point of conflict and then tells of a resolution. A story gets the reader or listener emotionally connected to the bank in ways that traditional, single message advertising can’t. Over the past three years, banks have learned that it is not just about telling a story but how to construct marketing around the story that makes a difference. In this article, we explore best practices for delivering your bank’s stories to the market.


The Single Dimension Story – Effectiveness Through Repetition


The old way of using stories in bank marketing is to create the narrative and then blast it out using video or turning to a print or digital campaign. Here, the story was short and singular in delivery. Effectiveness is through repetition.


The problem comes from the fact that seeing the same creative material over and over again can be annoying and often results from your audience tuning you out. The audience may know the bank’s name, but they likely will not internalize the story enough to create a deep connection.


Almost as bad, there is no catalyst here that causes interested parties to seek the story out.


Great Bank Stories Aren’t Just Told – They Are Built


Bank marketers have an unbelievable number of options available to them. More important, bankers now have a rich trove of marketing data to leverage. Recent research from Google and Ipsos Labs, done earlier this year, shows that by sequencing your ads, bankers can increase the effectiveness of their ad campaign more than just targeting your audience through a single story and repetition.


Some of the most effective ads running today in the finance industry come from the insurance companies – Geico (multiple campaigns), Farmers Insurance (We have seen a thing or two), Progressive (Flo), Allstate (Mayhem), and State Farm (Chris Paul and Oscar Nunez) top our favorites. Each of these brands us ad sequencing to build and amplify a story. It is no surprise that these brands are seeing some of the most trafficked ads in their brand’s history.


Message Amplification Methods


Successful financial services campaigns generally revolve around three types of amplification methods:


Tease and Echo: Here, the main story is created, but it is previewed and then teased several times. This is a favorite tactic of brands like Apple and Nike as they tease towards a campaign, release the message, and then echo the message with supporting marketing collateral.  This tactic is fantastic for bank product launches. 


Story Marketing


The Equal Breakdown: With this technique, a video is shot, or a story laid out and then released in equal parts over time. Traffic builds with each release until the conclusion, and then the main message is echoed again. This technique is easier to execute and perfect for longer stories or more complicated messages.


Marketing Stories



Mini Stories on a Theme: This technique is by far the most popular with financial services companies and is executed by telling the same message in various ways. The Farmers Insurance and Geico ads are great examples of this technique. Consider in the past week, Geico released three Halloween-themed ads promoting renters insurance, car insurance, and home insurance. If you saw one ad, you wanted to find more, and so many potential customers sought the ads out online.


Because of the quality of the creative and the campaign’s design, that ad below is currently up to more than 8.5mm views online and 17% social media engagement.




How to Built a marketing campaign around stories


Putting This Into Action


Instead of a single ad, consider sequencing your creative to gain a 20% to 30% greater lift on your effort. Tease, echo and break your story up to achieve greater results than a single release alone. Let your story create the connection and then work your bank’s brand into the back half of each story to get the most recognition. To the extent, you can tie your campaign into a current event or trending theme, such as the economy or even Halloween, so much the better.


Follow the lead of other successful financial services companies and it can help your bank achieve, game-changing marketing that drives your traffic to new levels.