Financial institutions have long struggled to stand out in the marketplace and build their brand.
This is because they offer very similar products and services to consumers. But a clear strategy and well-defined corporate culture—and a story told with an effective advertising campaign—can help prospective clients understand what makes a bank special.
We’ve put together a list of banks that do that well.
To identify successful advertisers in the banking space, Bank Director focused on two key metrics: number of impressions—how many times a company’s ads were viewed on TV—and the average estimated cost per impression for each brand. This second metric is weighted to account for peak vs. non-peak advertising times. Together, the two metrics reward a balance between brand reach and an effective use of ad dollars.
Each metric was ranked, and the final score represents an average of the two ranks. In cases where the average of the two was a tie, the bank with the most impressions earned the higher score.
Credit unions and lenders that compete directly with banks are included, along with retail and commercial banks.
Bellevue, Washington-based iSpot.tv, an analytics firm that uses smart televisions to track ad activity, provided the data. The measurement was based on national ad activity from Jan. 1 through Sept. 10, 2018.
The ranking doesn’t account for the creativity of each bank’s advertising, but a compelling, creative ad with clear messaging can be effective in achieving the bank’s strategic goals.
Fifth Third Bancorp was savvy with its ad dollars, at $0.12 per 1,000 impressions, and placed second in the ranking. Its ad campaigns during the time period generated 442 million impressions.
The most buzz for the regional bank came from is its “Fee Sharks” ad, part of the “Banking a Fifth Third Better” branding campaign.
“The overall goal of [the Fifth Third Better] campaign is to build the Fifth Third Bank brand,” says Matt Jauchius, the bank’s chief marketing officer. “We believe that a stronger brand leads to growth and profitability for the bank overall.”
The campaign has been effective, resulting in a 21-percent increase in brand consideration over a roughly one-year period. Brand consideration is a metric Fifth Third and other companies use to measure the likelihood customers would consider the brand the next time they’re looking for a particular product or service. In banking, that tends to be whether a customer would consider the institution for their primary banking relationship—usually a checking account.
“Effective advertising needs to be rooted in a truth about the brand itself,” says Robert Lambrechts, the chief creative officer at Pereira & O’Dell. The San Francisco-based advertising agency worked with Fifth Third on the brand campaign.
“Find the thing that is true about your brand,” he advises. “[Be] honest with yourselves about who you are [and] what you want to do.”
The Fifth Third team found ties between its core value to go above and beyond and the bank’s unique name: Fifth Third employees give more than 100 percent—166.7 percent, to be precise—to help their customers.
Ads like the fee shark are quirky, memorable ways to highlight products, services and features—like fee-free ATMs. All the ads in the branding campaign feature a plucky young woman clad in a blue suit, with a Fifth Third pin and distinctive glasses, who serves as a brand ambassador and a proxy for the bank’s employees. She communicates the brand promise: that the bank works hard to meet the customer’s needs.
Fifth Third uses internal and third-party data to better understand what prospective customers want, how to motivate them, and when and where to place the ad effort—whether that’s on TV or radio, in print, on a billboard or on social media.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. topped the ranking, generating more than 5 billion impressions and spending a little more than an estimated $7 per 1,000 impressions—the fifth most cost-effective of the financial institutions examined in the ranking. The bank has run a number of TV spots in 2018. The ad with the most impressions—“Michaela’s Way,” featuring ballerina Michaela DePrince—promotes Chase QuickPay, which includes the real-time payments solution Zelle.
Donna Veira, chief marketing officer for Chase’s consumer banking and wealth management divisions, told AdAge: “We looked at all of the day-to-day, practical ways in which our customers are using QuickPay and brought those to life."
Other spots show how easily tennis star Serena Williams uses the bank’s cash-free ATMs, or promote the bank’s business solutions and investment advice.
Most Successful Financial Advertisers
|# of Impressions||Estimated cost per 1,000 impressions|
|1||JPMorgan Chase & Co.||5,371,208,561||$7.36|
|2||Fifth Third Bancorp||441,698,444||$0.12|
|4||PNC Financial Services Group||1,400,939,671||$12.64|
|5||Capital One Financial Corp.||545,702,921||$12.56|
|6||Regions Financial Corp.||210,530,040||$12.29|
|7||PenFed Federal Credit Union||144,093,408||$1.77|
(division of MUFG Union Bank, N.A.)
Data source: iSpot.tv