Origin Bank’s Return on Relationships Campaign

By Michelle Allen-Cassel, CFMP

Bank marketing gurus are already talking about banking in the post-digital age. That’s because we’ve had some time to see how financial technology is playing out—and we’ve been learning much along the way. We know now, for example, that automation doesn’t lead to customers choosing between mobile apps and human beings. On the contrary—most want both.

The 2018 J.D. Power U.S. Retail Banking Advice Study reported that 78 percent of U.S. bank customers said they want financial advice from their bank. However, only 28 percent said they actually receive guidance. The study also found that customer satisfaction surges when banks get the advice formula right.

At Origin Bank, we believe that concept applies not only to individual customers but to business clients as well. That’s why we sought out the most appealing, emotionally engaging way possible to showcase what “relationship banking” means at Origin.

How a philosophy turned into a road trip.

Long ago, Origin Bank adopted a philosophy of banking through authentic relationships. It’s human nature to respond to personal contact. And it makes sense to trust bankers who demonstrate that they genuinely want to see you succeed financially—those who see your business plan as a way for you to achieve a dream.

With that in mind, we decided to build a campaign that featured personal dialogue between actual clients and their Origin bankers. We wanted to illustrate our priority on relationship banking—a personal, face-to-face style based on customers’ individual financial needs. Plus, we wanted to further define our tagline—“bank original”—showing, rather than talking about, what that means.

Our goal: to highlight the two-pronged benefit of this approach to banking:

  1. Clients acquire more than just banking advice—they add a new member to their business team.
  2. Bankers gain the insight necessary to provide informed guidance.

Then we hit the road.

The resulting marketing campaign features 28 real customer stories across seven markets in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Our creative partners at Zehnder Communications trekked with us across the region with cameras and strategic direction for an up-close look at these relationships in the form of webisodes.

Completely unscripted, the videos show the authenticity of the relationships between our bankers and their clients.

Featured in the campaign are fashion designers, chefs, papermakers, restaurant owners and nutritionists, among others—all Origin customers whose business aspirations have been fulfilled with their bankers’ advice, trust and personal attention.

The video vignette series is a collection of compelling personal portraits.

In one example, Kelly Moore Clark, a north Louisiana designer of custom handbags, appears on a comfy couch with her Origin banker Kimberly Walker, a personal friend since high school.

“Relationship is everything, especially when you’re dealing with money,” Clark says. “You just want to see a person’s face. You want to know it’s somebody you can trust.”

The trust between Clark and Walker is immediately apparent. Their friendship reflects Origin’s hometown values and our belief that relationships go beyond transactions.

Another webisode features Chris Bordano and Chase Schavrda, former Southern Methodist University football players, who went on to create their own Dallas landscaping firm.

They tell of wanting to reach the next level of business. But getting there would require the right kind of resources and financial know-how. So, they turned to Warrie Birdwell, Origin’s north Texas regional president, also a former SMU football player.

In addition to delivering the business insight Bordano and Schavrda sought, Birdwell had an innate understanding of the teamwork mentality that his clients’ company desired.

“I can call Warrie at any hour, and he has an answer for me or can guide me in the right direction,” Schavrda says.

We showcase these stories through a number of strategically chosen channels.

The entire vignette collection lives on a microsite that serves as a hub, providing a dynamic and content-rich depiction of the people and connections behind the campaign, from customer to banker.

The campaign is further supported with print ads, outdoor billboards, social media, in-stream videos and related blog posts. This collective suite of marketing tactics provides a full scope of imagery and narrative detail in accomplishing the campaign’s mission.

The result: we’ve made a clear case for relationship banking as good business in any climate, any industry or any business model. When everyone focuses on the human side of the equation, all sides benefit—bankers elevate the customer’s experience, and the customer has a better chance at success.

In today’s banking landscape, technology is the rule. Human interaction and genuine relationships are the exception.

Michelle Allen Cassel is the senior vice president and marketing director of Origin Bank, a more than century old, Louisiana-chartered bank that provides a wide range of traditional banking services with more than 40 banking centers throughout Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. In her role, Michelle oversees all efforts and initiatives related to the bank’s marketing strategy, plans and programs. She joined the bank in 2004 and maintains an office at Origin Bank’s headquarters location in Ruston, Louisiana.