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January 24, 2024

It Pays To Know Finance: Over 25 Years Serving Financial Institutions

Meredith Herrera

Investing in our roots

The very first client of Spurrier Group was Crestar Bank. The company was only a month old when we pitched and won the media contract for that coveted account. Since that time, we have worked with financial clients on rebranding, acquisitions, introduction to new markets, and underdog market positions. We understand the competition in the category, and we speak the language needed to understand how to develop successful campaigns in this vertical. We were the acting agency for Crestar until its transition to SunTrust, now Truist. When Union Bank acquired First Market Bank, Spurrier Group was called upon to develop strategic media campaigns for the newly formed Union First Market Bank, and we retained that client for five years. When Towne Bank decided to head north from their Hampton Roads roots, Spurrier Group introduced them to the Richmond DMA.

We have also been contracted by Adams National Bank, Banc One, C&F Bank, Chevy Chase Bank (now Capitol One Bank), Fifth Third Bank, Money Pulse, Riggs Bank, and currently Atlantic Union Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Making cents

When Spurrier Group started working with C&F Bank in 2013, we told them NOT to spend any money on media. They were expanding into the Richmond market; however, they understandably had limited knowledge of the small business landscape or their potential opportunities. Following our advice to conduct a market study, we learned that their awareness level within the market was low, but that opportunities for account acquisition existed in three vertical industries. Since these small business industries didn’t overlap and the media budget was limited, our approach was to look for any similarities among them. Because their media habits focused on their commute, our plan included multiple touch points before, during and after the daily commute to reach our audience with frequency. We also used print in the weekly business section and digital in business news sites to capture this niche audience. These tactics provided the needed brand lift to support C&F’s sales team when entering the Richmond market.

In 2015, Spurrier Group helped promote the entry of another bank into the Richmond market. We needed to make every dollar count for Towne Bank in a way that would get some added attention. Our recommendation was to target business professionals in both the B2B and B2C environments. Based on our research into the media habits of this target audience, we suggested a media buy utilizing news and sports programming, as well as radio, airport dioramas, and relevant digital tactics. This approach allowed the brand to intersect with the audience outside of their typical cluttered business day while maintaining precise reach with limited waste. The result was Towne’s publicly reported fiscal year revenue had increased 22.79% — over 55 million dollars.

When First Market Bank and Union Bank merged, Spurrier Group was hired having been the agency of record for Crestar during the SunTrust acquisition and for Riggs Bank during the PNC merger. One specific campaign that shows how media strategy and metrics can optimize results and direct insights was the 2012 “Share the Love” campaign. The goal was to incentivize the current UFMB fan base to actively recruit others with a reward shared through e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook to convert friends and family to a customer by switching their banking services. This was also a way of welcoming customers into the new Union Bank community. Multiple digital and social tactics designed to build awareness and drive traffic were implemented.   The outcome was a huge increase in awareness of the newly formed brand, and it made the transition more acceptable for the customers of both originating banks.

America community banks serve as the foundations of our towns and neighborhoods. They support communities by helping fund mom-and-pop stores, minority-owned businesses, restaurants, and more. In 2022, we partnered with the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group that represents approximately 5,000 small and mid-size community banks. Headquartered in Washington D.C., they also lobby congress on issues relating to the banking industry as well as host conventions and publish a monthly magazine.

ICBA was in a unique position with an objective to create and execute a national marketing and PR campaign to differentiate and elevate community banks in the eyes of small business owners and consumers, while delivering powerful and valuable insights to ICBA membership along the way. The initial benchmarks included awareness, perception, sentiment, and competition.  The data collected throughout the previous large-scale campaigns has informed ICBA on the best ways to support their growing membership with relevant consumer insights, messaging platforms and toolkits to support members in their own marketing endeavors. 

Atlantic Union Bank was seeking a media planning and buying partner to collaborate with their other agencies and focus on key markets like Richmond, Norfolk, Northern Virginia, Roanoke, Charlottesville, and their expanding markets in North Carolina. Spurrier Group was selected to be this strategic partner and we have been working with AUB for the past 2 years.

Paying it forward

We have solid roots in financial services. Through the lens of Crestar Bank, we learned the ropes and set our systems to support the needs of financial clients. We understand the relationship between the business community and the local banks, as well as the role of national banks and credit unions in the banking ecosystem. We recognize how consumers relate to their bank, what the triggers are for potentially switching banks, and how banks make money through their various revenue streams. Always focused on business goals as well as media performance goals, this allows the Spurrier Group team to make thoughtful recommendations on how to allocate resources to meet the clients’ business needs.

We also know how to navigate the ever-changing media landscape by utilizing sophisticated tools to manage and monitor client campaigns. The result: a deeper level of insights and increased return on investment. An understanding of the true business goals of a financial institution and how advertising can affect, capture, and leverage the connections of a consumer is what makes Spurrier Group a smart bet.