New Synovus ad campaign aims to show it’s ‘here’ for customers

‘The Bank of Here’ TV commercials are starting to air in company’s key markets

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comApril 28, 2014 

The Synovus building sits along the Chattahoochee River.

PHOTO BY MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

A new ad campaign launched by Synovus Financial Corp. aims to send a message that the regional bank is deeply rooted in the communities in which it does business and is “here” for current and potential customers.

The branding effort, which will feature traditional print and Internet-based advertising, is titled “Synovus: The Bank of Here.”

A one-minute TV commercial began airing in the Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., markets earlier this month, where Synovus operates Bank of North Georgia and First Commercial Bank, respectively.

Click here to watch the commercial.

Kessel Stelling, Synovus chairman and chief executive officer, said to come up with the campaign his bank ran focus groups over the past year. They determined there was recognition of the Synovus name, but it wasn’t necessarily connected to its local banks, which go by individually branded names. For instance, Columbus Bank and Trust and CB&T of East Alabama are the Synovus divisions locally.

“People didn’t know who we were. They thought we were an ATM vendor. They thought we were a credit card processor,” Stelling told those gathered last week in Columbus at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.

Those in the focus groups, he said, did not know that Synovus actually “partnered” with their local banks, providing capital, technology and other resources that individual and business customers have come to expect from top-notch and forward-thinking banks.

Stelling said the goal now is to let local bank customers in various communities know that they have the “strength of a larger parent” company behind them.

The new TV commercial, which was developed by the Atlanta ad firm, Fitzgerald+Co, is expected to make its debut in the Columbus market later this year, Synovus spokesman Greg Hudgison said Monday.

The commercial begins and ends with a rolling shot down Twelfth Street in Columbus, near the intersection of First Avenue. The Eagle & Phenix water tower is in the distance, with the traffic signals showing green.

In between, there are various images and scenes that include a neighborhood with large oak trees, work on an arts center, a business grinding coffee beans, a high school football coach pumping up his team for a state title run, and various shots of people holding a baby, sipping coffee and apparently contemplating life in general.

“Here’s to here. To this place where we are. It’s not there. It’s here. Here just feels right. Come here. I’m here for you. Here we go,” says a portion of the commercial before closing with, “Here should be the most important place to your bank. Because here is where you are. Synovus. The bank of here.”

Locally, Synovus has been airing various TV spots for Columbus Bank and Trust for more than a decade. Former CB&T President Steve Melton was a popular participant in the series of ads, often mixing homespun charm with slices of humor. Locations have included the YMCA, Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant, Country’s Barbecue and South Columbus Elementary School.

With a large population of active duty and retired military people in the Columbus-Phenix City area, patriotism also has been a popular approach. A notable and poignant commercial features a montage of photographs showing soldiers saluting, going through training, hugging family members during deployments and kneeling at the boots of fallen comrades. It closes with a photo of retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett saluting with Old Glory in the background. Appearing are the words: Proud to serve those who serve us.

Synovus Bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is the largest bank locally, with Columbus Bank and Trust grabbing 63 percent of the market in terms of deposits. It is followed by Wells Fargo with 12.5 percent of the market, SunTrust with 10 percent and Regions Bank with just under 3 percent.

Synovus oversees about $26 billion in assets through its 28 individually branded banks in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company last week reported a first-quarter profit of nearly $46 million.

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