15 Minutes With—Julie Montgomery

Julie Montgomery was part of a team that updated and unified Community Bank’s external branding and communications. Photo: Narayan Mahon

Julie Montgomery was part of a team that updated and unified Community Bank’s external branding and communications.

Photo by Narayan Mahon

Marketing Coordinator for the $192 Million-Asset Community Bank in Winslow, Ill.

IB: Your bank undertook a corporate rebranding, including a new logo and tagline. Why?

Montgomery: It came as a result of the bank’s annual strategic planning session. We wanted to establish a clearer and more distinctive brand identity to which our customers could identify. A local survey was conducted, and we found that there were many inconsistent ideas about who the bank was. Our customers are at the heart of our decisions, so we knew it was time to explore rebranding.

After undergoing a few name changes due to mergers, we also recognized the need for customers to view our bank’s four locations as one bank. A new logo brought opportunities for a unified bank look as well as a fresh image. Because a corporate rebranding affects everything, from external signage down to the bank’s internal daily processing items, there are a lot of factors, including costs, to consider.

IB: What were the project’s goals?

Montgomery: We had several goals in mind. First of all, we wanted to establish a uniform brand identity—one that identifies all of our locations as one unit. We also wanted to establish a consistent and recognizable brand identity across all of our communications—from our logos and signage, to our website and mass media communications.

Finally, we wanted our rebranding to communicate our bank’s financial strength and its distinctive values and services, which included reinforcing certain experiences that would build an emotional tie toward the trust and the ideas we stand for.

IB: What was the process like?

Montgomery: Our marketing team came together with differing ideas and opinions, but we finished the project with a unified branding look. The process was very trying at times. It took longer than I originally thought it would. Our marketing team did not always agree, but in the long run with the help of a local marketing-design firm, ColinKurtis Advertising from Rockford, Ill., we were able to pull our ideas together to accomplish the goal. During the project’s various stages, I learned to focus on the positive results that the rebranding would have for our bank.

IB: How did the marketing firm help?

Montgomery: The firm asked us to answer many questions, which really made us think! We came to define and truly better understand who we are, who our customers are, how we meet their needs. We were also better able to define what message we wanted to project and what our rebranding goals should be.

Once all that was digested, we developed design logo and messaging concepts that we could implement across the various channels. And implement we did—with great excitement!

IB: Any advice for other banks?

Montgomery: Enlist the help of a marketing firm that has experience in the rebranding process. From the professional knowledge to the creative aspects, we could not have accomplished this result on our own.