Got A Clue? The Case of a “Secretive” Bank Re-Brand

Sean Tracey Associates has been working on an extremely top-secret project.  We  renamed, re-branded, and re-introduced two venerable Massachusetts banks, Citizens-Union Savings Bank and the Bank of Fall River, to become BayCoast Bank.

After delving into quantitative research that showed a “dormant brand” and conducting our own quantitative “man-on-the-street” interviews, we moved to Phase II of our process:  Senior Management Brand Workshops to determine where the banks wanted to and should go with the brand.  Then, we formed a committee from both banks to rename the new, merged institution.  After coming up with over 300 possible names, narrowing to 70, then to about 25, we began research into the trademark-ability of the new names.  The final name was chosen by the bank executives, marketing department, and Board of Trustees.  But we wanted current and potential customers to feel they had some “stake” in the new name…

So, we had the idea to run a contest, encouraging customers to ‘guess’ the new name of the bank. The merger advertising campaign, then, would focus on the new name.  We would “reveal” it, incrementally, over the course of 8 weeks (one week for each letter in the 8-letter new name).  The bank (and STA) wanted the campaign to be fun, light-hearted, viral, and interactive—to take the pain and seriousness out of a typical bank merger (not customers’ favorite thing). Each week an additional clue was given and customers were encouraged to enter our contest, either online or at a local branch. Over the course of 8 weeks, anyone who successfully guessed the name was entered into a drawing to win gift cards and the potential to be in a final, grand prize drawing for $2,500 cash.

At STA, we utilized the promotion of the name change through various social media outputs like Facebook and You Tube. We even created two characters that ventured through southern Massachusetts in search for clues. Both “Inspector Clueless” and “Buzz the Bee” (which tied into the style and content of the contest commercials and ads) conducted “Man on the Street” interviews to truly engage the public.  By week 6, there 8752 entries for the contest! Their Facebook’s number of likes increased by 38%, Post Impressions up 118% and Post Feedback 29%!

Buzz the Bee

The ‘Guess Our New Name’ campaign really brought innovation into the world of bank marketing. Tellers and bank employees across the branches came to work with enthusiasm and excitement, and participated in the weekly clues, decorating the branches. Not only did this give the public time to adjust to the name change, but it involved them in the re-branding, and gave them an opportunity to have some fun! Putting a new spin on the normally mundane business of finance, the campaign led CEO Nicholas Christ to say that “we are no longer a sleepy old savings bank.”  Christ also remarked,  “I’ve heard more about our bank in the first 5 days of this contest than I’ve heard, collectively, in the last 25 years.”


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