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ABA: The American Bankers Association
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ABA Honors 9 Banks with National Bank Marketing Awards


The American Bankers Association recognized the nation’s best bank marketing initiatives today at the 2023 ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas. The 2023 ABA Brand Slam awards honor elite bank marketing strategies that stood out among hundreds of entries from banks of all sizes nationwide.

“In many ways, a bank’s identity and success are dictated by its marketing initiatives,” said Russell Davis, ABA’s executive vice president of member experience. “Whether it’s through the company website, a personalized email, a tv or radio ad, or social media engagement, leading marketers engage consumers with the right messaging at the right time and place. This year’s Brand Slam award winners have demonstrated an uncanny ability to understand their audience and reach them in creative and effective ways.”

A volunteer panel of 90 Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP)-credentialed experts judged the concept, strategy, creativity, execution and impact of entries in six different categories: Integrated Marketing Campaign, Out of the Box Idea, Public Relations/Community Engagement Activity, Social Media Campaign, Video Campaign, and Website Redesign. A winner was selected for each category.

The 2023 ABA Brand Slam award winners are:

Integrated Marketing Campaign

A bank that has launched a product, promoted a service or set out to market a particular line of business using multichannel tactics.

  • Comerica Bank, Dallas, for its campaign titled “Opportunity for All.”

Comerica’s “Opportunity for All” campaign delivers on the premise that small businesses, when given support and resources, can all succeed. The bank sought to bring some of its resources to the aid of its small business customers, including free marketing, free research and data, free tickets to sporting events, office supply discounts, perks and rewards, and free shared office space and resources. Comerica utilized a wide variety of marketing and advertising channels for brand messaging and programs, including digital programmatic ads, streaming TV, streaming radio, sports broadcast radio, paid and organic social media, direct mail, banking center posters and flyers, customer emails, print ads, and custom content programs with local media partners Dallas Morning News, CBS and Dallas Business Journal. Over the course of this 18-month campaign, which is running from September 2022 to March 2024, results thus far show a 24% lift in new customer acquisition over baseline and control group figures.

Out of the Box Idea

A bank strategy, campaign, promo item or another form of marketing genius that doesn’t fit in any other category.

  • Webster Bank, Stamford, Conn., for its “Big Goals Bracket” campaign. 

Capitalizing on the excitement surrounding the college basketball championship tournament and bracket mania, the aim of Webster’s “Big Goals” bracket campaign was to build brand awareness, particularly in the New York market, and convey the message that Webster can assist both consumers and businesses in achieving their biggest goals. An advertising, experiential, social, and content marketing campaign cohesively supported this objective in a unique and creative manner. The campaign garnered a total of 32 million impressions and more than 263,000 social media engagements. Additionally, the campaign drove more than 37,000 visits to the bank’s website.

Public Relations/Community Engagement Activity

A bank PR/Community Engagement initiative generating positive buzz and fostering goodwill in the community.

First Interstate Bank’s Volunteer Day is an annual event in which the bank closes its doors at noon and gives employees the remainder of the day to participate in a local service project at the nonprofit of their choice. Since its inception in 2018, the campaign has mobilized First Interstate employees to support 442 projects at nearly 400 nonprofits throughout the 14-state footprint, and the bank donated 12,272 employee hours as well as $153,349 in mini grants to cover project costs. All 307 of the bank’s branches closed at noon, and 3,212 employees (87% of the eligible workforce) participated. The campaign also garnered coverage from media outlets throughout the Bank’s expanded footprint, from its headquarters in Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Neb., Trenton, Mo., Marshalltown, Iowa, and Tucson, Ariz. More than 50 traditional media placements, 25 of which were broadcast, achieved a circulation of more than 8.6 million. Atop these earned placements, a paid Mat release campaign secured an additional 175 placements that reached an audience of over 12.6 million.

Social Media Campaign

A social media strategy that resulted in clicks, conversions, engagement and impressions.

Tie (2 Winners):

  • City National Bank, Los Angeles., for its social media campaign titled “What even is a HELOC anyway?”

City National Bank developed a campaign called ‘What even is a HELOC anyway?’ which aimed to increase consumer familiarity with home equity lines of credit through visual storytelling on social to support its goal of boosting adoption of its promotional HELOC offering. Leveraging consumers’ familiarity of home renovations as the most popular use for HELOCs, the bank explored using contextual creative to stand out above the noise, in the right channels, and at the right time to get in front of the target audience and ensure quality leads. It optimized content for social platforms, capturing latent demand and converting form fills into actual leads through Facebook and Instagram. The campaign generated more than 4,000 marketing qualified leads.

  • Dedham Savings, Dedham, Mass., for its “Here for the Journey” social media campaign.

As part of a larger omni-channel campaign effort, Dedham Savings leveraged the power of social channels where its audiences go to connect and be entertained in unexpected ways. Across Meta, NextDoor, and TikTok, Dedham Savings initiated conversations about savings, mortgages, and more to engage prospective customers and drive traffic to the bank’s website. The bank made these complex banking topics feel relatable and also achievable with a friendly, witty tone. Its paid social campaign has driven impressive scale across tactics, serving nearly 11 million impressions to increase brand awareness of Dedham Savings and supporting business goals with 17% more “Open Account” clicks on-site year-over-year.

Video Campaign

A campaign that uses video, whether digital or television, to effectively tell your bank’s story. 

Tie (2 Winners):

Columbia Bank recently acquired Umpqua Bank, with all Columbia Bank branches about to become Umpqua branches. Its strategy was to showcase the positive outcomes associated with this acquisition, as well as to reassure existing Columbia Bank clients and people who know Columbia Bank in the community. The bank primarily targeted businesses, their owners and employees, with a secondary audience of existing Columbia Bank communities. The creative featured engaging, relatable examples of things that “just go together,” and to draw a parallel between those pairings and the pairing of Columbia Bank and Umpqua Bank. The campaign generated well over 40,000,000 impressions and the bank saw no measurable loss of customers as a result of the acquisition.

  • First Horizon Bank, Memphis, Tenn., for its video campaign titled “Let’s Find a Way.”

First Horizon Bank’s “Let’s Find a Way” video campaign is designed to spread brand awareness and build trust within new and existing markets in the bank’s portfolio. The main objective was to display First Horizon's commitment to building and nurturing personal relationships with their clients using testimonials. By demonstrating real client stories on video, First Horizon showcased its passion and aptness for helping clients reach their financial goals. The campaign helped spread brand awareness while showcasing how First Horizon understands the unique financial obstacles its clients face and will tailor financial plans to fulfill each client's individual needs.

Website Redesign

A website redesign that effectively employs concept, strategy, creativity and execution to achieve the bank’s desired results, whether it be to refresh the look or to enhance the efficiency of the user experience.

Tie (2 Winners):

Capital Bank’s main goal was to create a new website for OpenSky, a division of Capital Bank, N.A. offering a secured credit card to nationwide consumers, that would meet its target audience where they were in their journey with compelling and relevant video content from both financial influencers and current OpenSky customers. The specific goals of the redesign were to reposition the product and brand to establish OpenSky as the leader in credit building and to improve the overall user experience to increase conversion at every stage of the funnel. To achieve those goals, the bank incorporated many tactics such as creating an easier-to-use interface for applications, promoting social proof and credibility to leads and enhancing informational content regarding its product. The project also included an entire technology overhaul of its existing website/application page and integration of Martech and rapid development platforms that could support its data driven needs.

  • Emprise Bank, Wichita, Kan., for its redesign of emprisebank.com.

Planning and execution for Emprise Bank’s new site included many strategic elements involving a broad range of stakeholders. This ensured a final product that received complete internal buy-in on the way to providing an optimal customer experience. A seamless partnership between Marketing and Compliance resulted in content approval on more than 200 web pages, while UAT testing on multiple desktop browsers and mobile devices ensured consistency in content and functionality. Other considerations made during the site design were related to SEO and ADA. These included optimized titles, meta descriptions, image tags, and a powerful web accessibility feature called PageAssist that provides an inclusive experience by allowing visitors to tailor the site to their individual needs. Finally, essential to the rollout of the new site were robust employee and customer communication plans. The new site is the bank’s #1 marketing asset and one that gives the right first impression of its brand promise of helping customers achieve their financial possibilities.

To view these award-winners, click here.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.7 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ approximately 2.1 million people, safeguard $18.8 trillion in deposits and extend $12.5 trillion in loans.

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