Here at CenterState Bank, we have a tactical initiative to look at rebranding our bank. This is potentially a 6-month project and the plan is to chronical this journey over a 5 part series on this blog. As part of this series, we will make our process, project plans, surveys, focus group data and other elements of the process available to any bank that wants to think about rebranding in the future. In writing this, our goal is several fold: 1) If your bank is thinking about branding, our work can save you an immense amount of time; 2) Readers will find our process and results intellectually interesting (we hope); and 3) We want to tap your opinion and your collective wisdom in order to improve our decision making.
In order to give you some background, if you don’t know, CenterState Bank is a relatively new bank (founded in 2000) approximately $5B in asset size, with 74 branches and 900 employees. We are an equal mix of retail and commercial and are focused only in Florida. Like many banks, the demographics of our customer base skews older than the general population and we want to attract a younger customer without alienating the current customers that we love. Our logo was put together during our start up days and while our brand has been refined over the years, it is relatively the same.
Our Rebranding Process To Date – Decisioning
Our first step was to form a decisioning working group that would be tasked with execution. By design, this group is limited in size in order to move quickly and be efficient. We realize that everyone is passionate about a brand and if you have 10 people in a committee you will get 20 different opinions. To get a broad range of input, our decisioning group is formed with our CEO, COO, head of Marketing, head of Retail, head of our business bank and a representative for our divisions and our important treasury management platform. Our Chief Strategy Officer will chair/facilitate but will not vote.
It is important to note that the above group was formed with the design of having the broadest range of experience within the bank that offers the most diversification. Age, demographic, sex, geography and functional specialty were all taken into consideration. It was our premise that many corporate committees have an unspoken inherent bias that influences decisions and produces sub-optimal results. We know we cannot eliminate bias, but we can try our best to minimize the influence hopefully through a better designed process.
Branding Advisory Group
More to the point of preventing bias, we are in process of forming an advisory group that will offer opinions and recommendations to the decisioning group on the brand options. Here, we recognize that each of our decision makers already have a built in bias, since many of them help create the brand. To mitigate this, we are forming an advisory group composed of various stakeholders (more than employees) that will be representative of not only our current customers but also the customers we hope to attract in the future. While there is strong overlap between our desired future customer base and our current customer, they are not exactly the same demo or psycho-graphic.
While we have some limitations on the decisioning group, here, we feel it is imperative to make sure that the Advisory Group represents or even over-represents our State in terms of gender, age cohort, race, ethnicity and other factors.
Project Plan & Budget
We then produced a draft project plan and budget in order to accomplish this task. We believe both are imperative for any strategic or tactical initiative to make sure the effort has the proper support and resources. We will be disclosing much of this in the future.
Wisdom of the Crowds
Our next step was to present an unbiased survey to our employees in order to collect their thoughts and feedback. We asked a set of questions that is similar to the survey below that we now seek your input on as experienced bankers, regulators and industry experts. Call it a peer review. This survey was designed with a set of unbiased questions that would validate the premise that a brand redesign is important.
There are 4 simple questions here where we will show you samples of our existing brand and then ask for your input. We plan on collecting your feedback and using it in our Branding Advisory Group.
Your input is important to us, so please provide us your wisdom and thoughts by going here:
We thank you in advance for your help, and we look forward to seeing your thoughts. Look for future posts where we will share much of our data and working papers.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on April 05, 2016