Sometimes the best marketing campaigns start with a specific goal.
At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Norway Savings Bank in Maine saw an opportunity to steal small business customers from larger competitors that were preoccupied with capital and credit-quality issues. With a goal of increasing market share in southern and western Maine by 25 percent within four years, it quickly developed an advertising campaign that used generous helpings of color to show that the $920 million-asset Norway Savings is not "some huge bank that sees things in black and white."
The campaign, it turned out, was a critical smash, winning Norway Savings a top award from the American Bankers Association for banks in its asset class. More importantly, it is helping the bank achieve its market-share goals. Since the "Colorful Solutions" ads launched a year ago, small business loans have increased by 8 percent and commercial deposits have grown by 17 percent, according to Karen Hakala, the bank's senior vice president of marketing.
"We said that we want to be the bank of choice for small business, so we set some real specific goals for this campaign," Hakala says. "We are seeing that growth that we were hoping to get."
The campaign, created by Leslie Evans Design Associates in Portland, Maine, is made up of six television commercials and print ads, and five radio commercials. The ads connect a color to real-life Norway Savings customers, such as Mike Skillin, the chief financial officer of a family-run greenhouse. His color is, obviously, green.
"Mike Skillin sees green - rows and rows of beautiful green," states a male voiceover. "Mike is the CFO of Skillin's Greenhouse, a Maine institution since 1885. And when it comes to growing his business, the last thing that Mike needs is some huge bank that sees things in black and white. Skillin's Greenhouse banks with Norway Savings Bank. Norway Savings knows Maine and what it takes to make small businesses grow like crazy. Norway Savings Bank - colorful solutions."
Brown is the color theme for another ad featuring a local candy manufacturer.
"Andy Charles sees brown - chocolate brown, dark chocolate, light chocolate," that ad begins.
"Andy is owner of Haven's candy, a Maine landmark since 1915. Andy needs a bank to see things from his perspective, not some place in New Jersey. So Andy banks at Norway Savings Bank. Norway Savings knows small business and has the resources to solve any problems that come between Andy and his sweet dreams. Norway Savings Bank - colorful solutions."
Though the ads don't mention competitors by name, Norway Savings appears to be targeting customers of KeyBank, TD Bank and Bank of America - the three largest banks by total deposit share in the state. The New Jersey reference in particular is a dig at TD Bank, which was created when TD Banknorth of Portland, Maine, merged with Commerce Bank in Cherry Hill, N.J., last year.
Maggie Kelly, the vice president of marketing at the ABA, says the strengths of the campaign are its creativity, consistent message and its believability.
"People can buy into the bank as being a strong resource for a small business," she says.
Hakala says that the ads were designed to have "a long shelf life" so there are no immediate plans to roll out new ones. In June, though, the bank did redesign its Web site to incorporate the "Colorful Solutions" branding campaign, and since then traffic on the site has increased 7 percent, she says.
"Everything you see [on the site], from the photographs to the colors, are all integrated into the 'Colorful Solutions' campaign we launched on TV," Hakala says. "We have a goal of everything being very integrated so that when the customer sees our advertising, our Web site, the interior of our branches as we've been renovating them, everything is colorful in nature and the customer can connect that with the bank."