Managing Brand Risk to Empower Expansion

A success story on overcoming legal and reputational risk to unlock new market opportunity

Mitigating Brand Risk for Expansion

  • Similar legacy names represent reputational and legal risk, especially during expansion
  • Identifying lived organizational values can help support strategic renaming
  • Process for renaming and rebranding includes significant change management efforts with key stakeholders

As banks and credit unions turn the corner on the M&A slump over the last year, new opportunities have begun to open up. “In banking, the rising rate environment throughout 2023 had institutions eyeing expansion, both geographically and demographically, to find new audiences and new opportunities, but not quite ready to act yet,” according to Believe in Banking. Now, banks and credit unions are ready to kick into growth mode. In fact, 90% of financial institution CEOs report plans for M&A by the end of 2024, with 72% increasing investments in acquisitions. Aside from appetite, what does it take to be in a position to grow?

When one beloved bank wanted to expand into new geographic areas, they found that their existing name presented significant legal and reputational challenges. In Ruston, Louisiana, Community Trust Bank was respected and revered. Their bankers were trusted experts and they had steady growth, but they had big plans to do more. When they started their expansion journey, they were nearly $3.5 billion in assets and their footprint was solidly set in Northern Louisiana. As they looked at the rest of the state, however, as well as Mississippi and Texas, they realized there were 200+ other institutions with “community” or “trust” in their name.

The bank’s leaders grew concerned that their name would become a problem as they introduce themselves in new markets – where they’re trying to make an impression and stake their claim. The bank didn’t want to have to make a change, but to truly unlock their potential, they needed to embrace something new. Their evolution began by diving into the essence of who they were and their unique competitive positioning. After a thorough strategic naming process, the name “origin,” which represents “uniqueness from within,” was selected. Rebranding as Origin Bank, the change enabled growth they wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

origin bank rebrand new logo

The renaming and rebranding process included significant change management efforts with key stakeholders across the organization. With a strategic approach, the launch into new markets focused on the authenticity of their new name and in core markets, they communicated change to mitigate risk. The successful plan positioned them for growth and minimized potential attrition at the same time. Today, the Origin Bank name accurately represents the values the bank embodies and genuinely reflects their culture and their way of doing business. In fact, Origin’s CEO has said their bank now looks on the outside the way they always felt on the inside.

The updated brand gave Origin the opportunity and inspiration to create new in-person brand experiences, and they opted for a major renovation to bring the brand into the branch. Fueled by the power of a distinct brand and motivated leadership, Origin was firmly on the path to growth – completing an acquisition, overhauling branches, showing up with new marketing, and soon after, going public. Their efforts have been so successful, Origin has realized 151% asset growth in seven years since the rebrand and has been one of American Banker’s best banks for 10 years in a row. No longer limited by their name, Origin is perfectly positioned for the future.

Origin Bank at Nasdq

To learn more brand and marketing strategies that can get your bank or credit union ready for growth, or to speak with one of Adrenaline’s experts, contact us today.

Adrenaline is an end-to-end brand experience company serving the financial industry. We move brands and businesses ahead by delivering on every aspect of their experience across digital and physical channels, from strategy through implementation. Our multi-disciplinary team works with leadership to advise on purpose, position, culture, and retail growth strategies. We create brands people love and engage audiences from employees to customers with story-led design and insights-driven marketing; and we design and build transformative brand experiences across branch networks, leading the construction and implementation of physical spaces that drive business advantage and make the brand experience real.

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