Regional Bank Brand Positioning Research


Director of Research


Uncovering Unique Positioning for a Regional Bank

A regional bank wanted to conduct brand positioning research to assess its current position in the market relative to its competitors and understand opportunities for distinguishing the bank in the market. Specifically, the client wanted to understand how they fair on awareness and loyalty metrics in the market and uncover insights that can inform a distinguishing positioning for their communications strategy.


1. Qualitative In-Depth Interviews with financial decision-makers at small and commercial businesses

•   Explore awareness and perceptions of the bank and its competitors

•   Understand attitudes, satisfaction, and loyalty to the bank and its competitors

•   Explore service expectations and experiences with the bank and its competitors

2. Quantitative survey of employees and consumers

•   Measure awareness of banks, various banking products, and attributes

•   Identify primary bank and others used and measure performance of primary bank across banking attributes

•   Measure overall satisfaction/favorability and consumer loyalty to the bank and competitors


Qualitative Findings: Role of Banking in Business

Banking decisions revolved mainly around convenience (incorporating online and mobile banking) and customer service. A personal relationship with a banker is still highly valued, and many feel that they need a partner to work with that will answer the phone when they call. The client bank excelled in this regard and stood out for accessibility and accountability of employees at all levels. Technology was a weak point for the bank and was undermining the banks’ strength in accessibility.

Quantitative Findings: The Consumer Point of View

Awareness and Perceptions

Awareness of the bank varies by region, from being the most well-known and used to being practically unknown. Generally, customers of Credit Unions and Community Banks are more satisfied, loyal, and have a stronger emotional connection to their bank compared to Regional and Large Cap Banks. However, overall, customers are satisfied with the client bank, and, as a segment, look more like the customers of a smaller bank.

Consumer perceptions suggest that the client bank shares in the strengths of small financial institutions which gives them the unique opportunity to deliver an experience that capitalizes on the strengths of both large and small financial institutions.

Positioning Opportunity

A strong positioning opportunity for the bank would contain elements that are important to consumers and that are in line with the bank’s reputation. Four attributes rise to the top as elements that could be incorporated into strong positioning for the bank:

•   High standards of honesty and integrity

•   Trustworthy

•   Knows and understands you

•   Excellent customer service


Based on the research, the client bank launched a new brand and developed new marketing and communications campaigns that highlighted the attributes that rose to the top.

As millennials make up a larger portion of a bank’s primary target, it’s critical that financial institutions begin to understand how behaviors and motivations change with the generations. MDRG conducted an Online Anthropology study of millennial’s thoughts regarding financial literacy in order to help our clients take the first step toward gaining insights into this huge audience.

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