Promoting Financial Services Solutions During an Economic Crisis

Marketers and advertisers have strived to breathe agility into their yearly plans and strategies for decades. Living by the mantra “expect the unexpected,” such long-term forecasting requires us to be nimble when aiming to meet our clients’ goals. Enter 2020. A time when, no matter how prepared you thought you were, nothing could have readied your advertising strategy for the challenges ahead.

Flashback to the fall of 2019. We were planning for the upcoming year with our financial services client Lake Shore Savings Bank and there were a few factors we knew to be certain. We knew that toward the end of 2020, media channels would be strongly impacted by election season, and we knew that messaging would be product-focused, leaning heavily toward the bank’s lending options. Factors we did not see coming: a fierce global pandemic and the economic downturn that followed.

When COVID-19 shut down schools and businesses in March, we were getting ready to launch a wave-based, multi-channel communications strategy. For background, we implement a wave strategy for Lake Shore to help align both the channel and the frequency of their marketing around a specific promotion, using coordinated messaging across various mediums. As a team, we saw channels we originally planned for get turned on their heads, as consumer behavior rapidly changed and our strategy to reach them needed to adjust accordingly.

Evolving Messaging to Meet Evolving Needs

Informed by research and data, our theme for 2020 was meeting the needs of Lake Shore’s target audience, powered by a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Whether it was offering support for an aging loved one, planning a vacation, or consolidating debt, messaging was tailored to position Lake Shore as a financial partner and lending provider. But as we watched the world change around our target audiences, we watched their needs change with it. While most of our core channels could stay the same, we knew our sentiment could not. FARM had to quickly mobilize to position Lake Shore’s HELOC offerings not only as financial support, but also as a solution in a time of crisis. Many Americans were facing unprecedented unemployment, lower income, and the general struggles of adjusting to a new way of life. While wave one messaging focused on support, we pivoted wave two and wave three to focus on being an answer to newly found challenges. Check out the snapshot below and see how our campaign creative evolved through the year.

Interested in learning more about FARM’s financial services marketing? Give us a call; we’d love to chat.

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