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Laying the Strategic Foundation for Growth

A steady focus during turbulent times

In 2009 with the banking landscape still in a heightened state of transition, consumer confidence in banks continued to erode as financial institutions sought to regain trust and build strong customer relationships. Amidst this tumult and its own internal restructuring, KeyBank solicited Siegel+Gale to reevaluate its brand and establish a foundation for future growth. Although buoyed by its community focus and customer-centered strategy, KeyBank struggled to communicate its value to customers with each business division telling the KeyBank story in a different way.

People, not products

Siegel+Gale’s deep dive into KeyBank’s history, organization and offerings revealed many positive attributes. With a little digging, we heard praise for the bank’s customer focus (such as, “Wall Street capabilities with a local feel”), but these sentiments were mired in an uninspired, ambiguous and generic brand strategy. We saw a clear opportunity to anchor the strategic platform to a brand promise of “People First”—a promise that would help KeyBank clearly and credibly communicate the human approach it brings to banking. In addition, it provided a platform for unifying the bank’s business units.

As the platform gained momentum, KeyBank engaged Siegel+Gale in new projects to bring the brand to life, including a statement of purpose—an overarching statement of the difference KeyBank’s 16,000 employees are trying to make in the world. KeyBank’s purpose needed to answer the crucial question: why does KeyBank put “People First”? Our analysis, combined with the goals of KeyBank leadership, illuminated the bank’s core truths: community impact, teamwork, enduring partnerships and the enrichment KeyBank provides. We distilled these truths into a single statement:

“KeyBank helps our clients and communities thrive.”

Purpose-driven results

Armed with the new strategy, KeyBank emerged a more competitive, differentiated and unified organization. Inspired by the bank’s purpose, employees are better able to connect with customers and to truly put People First.

To help them live the brand every day, we amplified the brand platform and purpose through many external and internal tools. The new tagline, advertisements, marketing communications, employee toolkits, branded environments and retail/merchandising strategy helped spread the word and align various touchpoints under a common identity and story.

According to Mickey Mencin, advertising director at KeyBank, “Siegel+Gale has helped us communicate our promise, our values and our purpose in clear terms which resonate with employees and clients. The outcome? A distinctive creative platform that conveys our people-first philosophy in a way that is unique and powerful, and true to who we are.”

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