Idea Bank is a mid-sized Polish bank offering services to micro- and small-scale entrepreneurs. Founded in 2010, the bank is young and eager to raise its brand awareness. The market it operates in is highly competitive; its participants are all large institutions with strong brands and many years of experience in servicing small-business owners.
As other entities from the financial sector communicate their services through product and celebrity endorsement, Idea Bank wanted to come up with a different strategy, one that could help it assert itself as a leading market player for small business owners without weighing down the budget.
Few small business are able to afford a professional advertising campaign, so the bank decided to offer them a unique opportunity to get one for free in return for supporting its services and products. The bank resigned from explicit brand communication, and instead focused on its clients and their businesses. Such an approach is highly innovative in the conservative financial sector.
Idea Bank clients were given the opportunity to promote their businesses in the mainstream media - at no charge. They also agreed to mention the bank’s services and products; all advertising materials were branded with Idea Bank’s logo. Idea Bank clients would volunteer to participate in the program online (via Idea Bank's website or Facebook fanpage) or in their local offices. Each selected applicant received a dedicated TV ad and a packet of online, print and PR materials. ‘Be Proud’ spots were distributed online and aired on nationwide TV. Promotional articles were published in the variety of magazines and newspapers (both national and regional, news and business oriented) and on the most-read Polish news sites. The full packet included social media activities and – in some cases - outdoor advertising. Many participants were invited to TV and radio shows as guests.
Traditionally banks have been devoted to asset preservation, granting credit and loans, and executing transfer operations. But Idea Bank found themselves on the threshold of an intelligent banking era. The bank of the future will be a participant of business conducted by its clients. It will be more than just an anonymous service provider - it will become a plausible business partner.
In the first year the bank managed to conduct over 110 micro-campaigns. Since the beginning of 2013, the number of visits to Idea Bank branches has doubled - and so has the number of its clients. The bank has gained both recognition and new business partners, while its relations with the customers became more personal. The participants also observed a significant development of their companies; some of them even quadrupled their income, and many expanded their businesses. This was exactly Idea Bank’s goal. By launching 'Be Proud' and supporting its clients in the promotion of their products, Idea Bank managed to become the first 'bank of the future' existing today.