Using a Milestone Birthday Bash to Boost a Brand
- Use the bank’s 140th anniversary to increase awareness and affinity among current, potential and past customers
- Illustrate the bank’s strong commitment to community
For many years, this Maine-based bank had been the region’s foremost community financial institution. As time went by, more progressive competitors began to proactively increase their market share. Even though Skowhegan Savings continued to support its community as it always had, residents became less aware of the bank’s good citizenship. Word of mouth was no longer enough to guarantee growth, sustainability and community goodwill. Skowhegan Savings, approaching its 140th anniversary, was ready for change and eager to regain footing as central Maine’s leading savings bank. Under the leadership of a new, enthusiastic bank president, it began to work resolutely on improving technology, customer service, and competitiveness.
Following NMC’s development of a strengthened brand and new five-year marketing strategy for the bank as part of its Marshall Plan® process, the agency was tapped to work with Skowhegan Savings on an ongoing basis. One of its projects was the planning and execution of the bank’s 140th anniversary celebration.
The bank kicked off its anniversary via an ingenious partnership with the Skowhegan Free Public Library that NMC helped put together. The library, celebrating its 120th anniversary the same month, was founded by Abner Coburn, one of the same men responsible for creating Skowhegan Savings. In support of the library’s 2010 capital campaign, the bank planned to donate $100,000 toward its $2 million fundraising goal. The donation would be announced at a joint birthday celebration hosted at the bank’s main branch in downtown Skowhegan. The whole community would be invited to attend. Leading up to the event, NMC helped spread the word by producing invitation flyers and a formal invitation for V.I.P.s, and a issuing a media advisory.
The day of the celebration, the tent erected for the big event was packed with well-wishers. The festivities included a big birthday cake, refreshments, introduction of the bank’s new mascots, Trusty Tree and Penny Pine Cone, and live music. All elements of the celebration were provided by local businesses to reinforce the bank’s commitment to community economic development. The bank president and branch managers were on hand to personally meet and greet their guests. The highlight of the day was the $100,000 donation. This surprise announcement helped generate even more media coverage for the bank and its birthday. The donation garnered coverage in the days after the event and in additional stories about the library’s campaign in the months that followed.
NMC helped continue the celebration by assisting in planning open house celebrations and localized community donation announcements at each of the bank’s nine locations over the course of the next nine months. Localized support tied to the anniversary included donations to the Bingham-Moscow Afterschool program, the Belgrade Library, and sponsorship of the Sebasticook Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Sparkle event in Dexter. Interactive photo galleries on the bank’s website memorialized the big kick-off and each open house event.
The big anniversary event and the branch-based events attracted hundreds of guests, thus successfully building awareness and goodwill among current customers as well as potential customers in the communities it serves. Features in key area daily and weekly newspapers helped to further spread the word about the bank’s local ties and new offerings in each of its core target markets. The donation to the library and additional donations made in top target markets throughout the course of the anniversary celebration further strengthened awareness of the bank’s dedication to community and helped continue the celebration throughout the year.