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Authenticity-a great tool for building a brand!

For some brand strategies, you need things like slick production, celebrity endorsement, or affiliation with pathetically hip trends. But a great tool to put the community in community banks, colleges, or hospitals is authenticity. Get the people with whom you have great relationships to talk about the relationship. For apeople-oriented brand (like just about every community institution I can think of) building a brand is about building a relationships-and then leveraging that relationship.

Here are three examples of advertising campaigns that focused on real people saying real things. A hospital brand, an education brand, and a whimsical approach to a community bank branding campaign.

A community hospital brand.

Baptist Easley Hospital is one of the best hospitals in North America. And they have the data to prove it. But data doesn't drive people to community hospitals. Stories do. So, we developed a campaign based on something as simple as asking people to tell their stories. Above is a thirty-second television commercial and below is a short web-based video, both focusing on a particular surgery success.

A community college brand.

This campaign for Northeast State Technical Community College is built on a foundation of research. We did an online survey, asking current and recent students what they wanted to get out of their college experience. We learned that they had very pragmatic aspirations-help building a better life. So, with the positioning line, "We're here to get you there," we positioned the school accordingly.

A community bank brand.

The mack-daddy of mutual banking partnerships in the Southeast, this community bank operated under several local brand names, connected by some visual distinctives, a common people strategy, and the positioning line, "It's just better here." We launched the brand focusing on the word, "better," and the use of an element we called the "Better Button." The use of actual customers gave the campaign a spontaneous, authentic feel. And it was a lot of fun for people to be recognized in the grocery store.

Sometimes you need a massive budget and feature-film production values to seat a brand. But sometimes, you just have to catch people saying nice things. For more about branding in general, bank marketing and bank branding best practices in particular, click the links below.

5 ways to focus your bank marketing budget. READ BLOG >

7 key points about "patient expectations" for healthcare branding. READ BLOG >

4 Hurdles for community bank marketers. READ BLOG >