Brand Slam Awards: Fidelity Bank’s public relations/community engagement campaign

New Orleans bank smashes goals while celebrating powerful women in hospitality industry

By Khalil Garriott

What does a bank have to do with a month-long celebration of powerful women in hospitality? A recent wildly successful effort by Fidelity Bank in Louisiana proved to be a case study in addressing a niche market typically not in the forefront of businesses.

 ABA Brand Slam is your chance to shine the marketing spotlight on your bank. Entry period for 2023 awards concludes on July 24. Award categories are: Video; Integrated Marketing; Website Redesign; Public Relations / Community Engagement; Social Media; and Out-of-the-Box Idea. Awards will be presented at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas, Sept. 27-29, 2023.
New Orleans-based Fidelity Bank is the winner in the public relations/community engagement activity category of ABA’s 2022 Brand Slam Awards.

The bank employed a cross-platform strategy to celebrate women in the hospitality industry and set them up for success. It built on a few years of campaign awareness to drive increased donations to a local community partner.

The bank’s awards entry notes: “All marketing collaterals used the same purple color as Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R. Plates program, which is well-known in the local area. The program targeted other women organizations and invited them to participate in all networking events. The campaign gained awareness with James Beard Award-winning restaurants like Brigtsen’s, Willa Jean and La Petite Grocery requesting to participate. In the third year, the term P.O.W.E.R. Plates started becoming a recognized term and an annual event local restaurants looked forward to.”

Launched in 2019, the bank’s “P.O.W.E.R. Plates” initiative drove measurable business outcomes to women-led restaurants in southeast Louisiana and, by partnering with the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, supported hospitality industry workers through grants. The campaign’s results exceeded its goals:

  • 67 participating restaurants or bars (the goal was 50)
  • $19,378 in donations (the goal was $5,000)

In addition to generating positive buzz and fostering goodwill in the community, the program benefited women entrepreneurs. Fidelity Bank matched all donations up to $2,500 in the “P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) Plates” campaign, as well as marketed and promoted it across multiple consumer-facing channels. The campaign promoted women in the hospitality industry and encouraged New Orleans-area residents to visit select businesses in July.

Liz Broekman, vice president and director of P.O.W.E.R. at Fidelity Bank, provided more insight into the campaign:

Why was it important to your bank to celebrate and empower women in hospitality?

Fidelity Bank started the P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) program in 2017. The purpose is to help women in business succeed and flourish. Since New Orleans and Louisiana rely so heavily on the hospitality industry, we felt that this was a good fit to help all restaurants and hospitality entities during the month of July through social media and marketing. At the same time, we were able to highlight women in hospitality and help to raise funds for our community partner, the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.

To what do you attribute this campaign’s success in exceeding its goals?

The community has embraced the P.O.W.E.R. program in general, and it is cheering for all the women in hospitality, whether it be woman-owned restaurants, a female head chef or a female general manager. The community is behind it. It is a celebration. Each year it grows in awareness and in the number of events that are hosted.

What were a couple of your key takeaways and what advice do you have for other banks embarking on a campaign like this?

If you believe in it, others will believe in it. Don’t look at it as a transaction but a movement. Give all the credit to your customers and the people you are helping. You have to be authentic about it.

What types of media interest and coverage did this campaign garner?

There was a tremendous amount of media interest on the events, such as:

  • TV crews covered the press conference at the kickoff breakfast.
  • Appearances on morning TV shows with different chefs cooking their dishes
  • Guest speakers on cooking radio shows with chefs to talk about the campaign and their featured dishes
  • Several print ads
  • Media coverage of the micro events held during the month in social media and in local magazines

Khalil Garriott is vice president, creative content and copywriting strategy at ABA.

Photo courtesy of Fidelity Bank.