Merchants Bank - Brandthropology
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Merchants Bank

Case Study

The Challenge


Leadership at Merchants Bank has always come up through the corporate banking side, because that’s where the profits are. In order to help the community banking / retail side of the bank, with 32 branches statewide, we would need to develop work that could artfully bridge between the commercial and community banking sides.

Upon winning the account, we set about reviewing the existing work 

Our Approach


The previous campaign, “Vermont Matters”, was judged to be ineffective; it was high on imagery and low on relevant differentiated benefits. We quickly realized the bank’s long history, statewide  presence and accrued heritage of local reinvestment were aspects of the bank’s brand that could be readily harnessed and set about creating work in this vein.

Our new campaign looked to celebrate the bank’s role — both historically & presently — in growing the prospects of the state

Merchants Bank Brand Pyramid

Our Solution


After conducting focus groups around the state with various stakeholders internally and externally, we crafted a positioning that leveraged the bank’s 165 year heritage, bridging between historical and current investments in the community. The resulting “Where Do You Want to Grow?” campaign helped the bank reach into and own the ways it had grown — and continues to grow — the economic prosperity of the state. The idea was broad enough to be expressed across retail, mortgage, municipal and corporate areas of the bank, finally bringing unity the brand.

The Result


Geoffrey Hesslink, the CEO, shared “For years people have been bitching to me about the bank’s marketing. This is the first time I’ve seen everybody aligned and enthusiastic behind a campaign. Thanks so much for helping everybody pull together”. Of course, ultimately, the bank was taken over by Community Bank NA. But we were honored to have given this venerable brand an appropriate send off. See the video here.

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