Banks’ taglines come and go: “The way banking ought to be.” “Banking with character.” “A bank you can trust.”
But Newtown Savings Bank’s new tagline — “The Power of Local” — comes with what President Ken Weinstein says is a twist: They really mean it.
“I think most people today can see right through most taglines,” he said at the bank’s 39 Main St. headquarters in Newtown. “They can tell they’re not genuine. For a brand to really work you need to see it in action — and that’s what we’re doing at our branches, with our customer service and our community involvement.”
While its old tagline — “The Experience Matters” — was also one that NSB tried to live up to, Weinstein said the decision to rebrand with something that could be more easily conveyed to the community at large coincided with the hiring of Farmington marketing agency Primacy, with which it had worked on a website redesign and some digital campaigns in the past.
“One of the things you do with a new agency is the deep dive,” Weinstein said, “so they can get to know you better from both an interior and exterior perspective. That way you can determine what’s the best way to get your message across.”
Disseminated across NSB’s 14 branches in nine markets, “The Power of Local” has been featured in print, radio, video and television advertising that focuses on actual customers, including Todd Ingersoll, the president/CEO of Ingersoll Automotive in Danbury, and Michele Schettino Hawli, owner of Newtown’s Salon Michele. Several of those customers are also featured on the cover of the bank’s 2018 annual report.
The bank launched the brand at Newtown’s Edmond Town Hall Theatre, where many of its approximately 240 employees watched a reel of the ads alongside the newly minted local spokespeople.
NSB seems to be on the right track: In 2018 it experienced overall deposit growth of 9.4% and posted record earnings of $8.9 million. That may be a far cry from Bank of America’s $28.1 billion, but Weinstein said that’s the point.
“Everyone wants to tout their technology and pretend they’re like the big banks,” he said. “And we’re very proud of our technology, too. But what we’re emphasizing is that we’re a local, community, mutual bank. That’s who we’ve always been and will continue to be.”
The new branding is also evident with a branded minivan that is present at various NSB-sponsored events — “it’s a mobile billboard,” said Public Relations Director and Vice President Tanya Truax — while the message is underscored by a number of programs.
Those include: Great Start Savings, designed to help families teach their children about saving; Great Prize Savings, where a randomly selected customer holding such an account is chosen each quarter to receive $1,500; and Shop Local, Score Rewards, which allows NSB’s Rewards Mastercard customers to receive bonus reward points for every dollar spent in its branch towns — even if the businesses themselves are not NSB-affiliated.
Of the latter, Weinstein said: “Every bank was giving double points on air travel. This was another way to differentiate ourselves and to emphasize the local angle.”
There is also the NSBcare program in which its employees have performed over 68,000 hours of community service supporting over 300 nonprofits since 2009. Last year the bank’s community funding topped $330,000.
The bank is also expecting to up its profile by sponsoring the summer schedule at Ives Concert Park in Danbury.
Although “The Power of Local” was launched last year, the executives said they felt momentum was just beginning to build, as evidenced by partnerships with Sippin Energy Products in Monroe, whose customers are being offered a financing program with special rates, and Redding Roasters Coffee Co. in Bethel, which has developed a signature “Power of Local” coffee blend.