Based in Grand Rapids, MI, Mercantile Bank had recently grown from six to 47 branches through a merger which combined two other competing banks and their branches under the Mercantile Bank brand. A recognized long-time leader in bringing technological solutions to the marketplace, underpinned by a premium customer experience, Mercantile’s market grew exponentially in a very short period of time.
Mercantile Bank Client Profile
With this merger, Mercantile found itself with a state-wide footprint, with its key benefits of offering a local-flavored, high-touch, high-tech customer experience being relatively unknown in their new markets.
Mercantile Bank asked ddm to explore some campaign ideas that would hit hard on their status as a local bank that understands the importance of community and its desire to serve the communities where they do business.
How We Served
- Brand Strategy
- Creative Concepting/Development
- Research Focus Group Testing
- TV (concepting and production)
- Media (traditional and digital)
Mercantile’s challenge was:
- Communicating the benefits of being local while still providing the services required by larger companies
- Positioning itself as a bank with empathy, understanding and a personable, approachable brand
- Being seen as local and community focused without having to always say it
- Building common ground in new communities around those things that are of shared interest with current and new customers
If you always have to say you are local
and care about the community, do you?
The primary goal of our efforts was to help Mercantile Bank build credibility across the communities it serves. Realizing that the markets in urban Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are much different than the rural communities located throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, a hyper-local campaign that provided a nod to those unique attributes that only true locals would know and appreciate was launched. The goal was to be approachable and caring about the communities it served, but also fully capable of handling the complex needs of individuals and its corporate clientele.
In addition to general season-driven messaging, local legends, landmarks, geographies and current goings-on were mentioned and promoted heavily in outdoor advertising. Through this campaign, conversations were started with customers and prospective customers one would expect to occur over the back fence as opposed to over a banker’s desk. The Mercantile brand was humanized and accepted as a legitimate member of the community and not just another big national or regional bank who might be just going through the motions.
What happens when a bank begins to talk more about the people, community and local points of pride than it does about themselves?
We believe some pretty good things!
- What was once white noise to many customers, now brings smiles and conversations
- Social media mentions and shares increase
- Employee engagement and buy-in increases
- Earned media grows
- Goodwill grows within the community
- Positive mindshare increases among audiences (including those not currently a bank customer)
- Deposits grow
- Customer retention increases
- Commercial lending activity increases
- Mercantile was named “Best Bank in Grand Rapids” in annual community survey by Grand Rapids Magazine for the first time in its 20+ years!