Trust Carver An Advertising Campaign to increase awareness of Carver State Bank’s brand

Campaign Overview

My senior project is an advertising campaign to increase the amount of accounts and financial product activity for Carver State Bank in Savannah, GA. During an interview with Robert E. James, II, the director of strategic initiatives of Carver State Bank, he expressed Carver State Bank’s desire to grow the awareness of Carver State Bank’s brand and the financial products they have to offer and to reach the younger generation in Savannah, GA through a strategic marketing plan.

Background Research

The purpose of this research is to increase the awareness of Carver State Bank’s brand. Carver State Bank is the only black-owned bank in Savannah, GA. Carver State Bank initially was known as Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation; being established on February 23, 1927. Originally, it served as a real estate investment and management company as well as a private bank. Louis B. Toomer, the founder of Carver State Bank, served as its first president. On April 29, 1947, Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation converted to a state bank and changed its name to The Carver Savings Bank. After the death of Louis B. Toomer in May 1961, Lawrence D. Perry was elected the second president.

The Carver Savings Bank became a full-service commercial bank by offering checking accounts, and the name was changed to Carver State Bank on February 5, 1962. For 90 years, Carver State Bank has gained a tremendous heritage within the Savannah-Chatham County area as an innovative financial service leader. Carver State Bank is the only bank certified by the United States Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution to be headquartered in Savannah, GA. Currently, Carver State Bank is one of the 28 African-American owned commercial banks in the United States.

Robert E. James is the present president of the illustrious Carver State Bank. A previous nationwide campaign called #MoveYourMoney in July of 2016 increased the number of accounts greatly for Carver State Bank that month. “We've seen a tremendous increase in the number of inquiries about the bank and the number of accounts that have been opened… In fact, on Monday and Tuesday of last week we probably opened as many accounts as we would probably open in a full month in two days,” Carver State Bank President, Robert James said in an interview with WJCL of Savannah in July of 2016.

Primary and secondary research will be gathered to understand the financial health of black-owned banks in the United States of America as well as to create a plan with strong objectives to achieve the goals set by this campaign. The information gained will be used to institute a strategic and effective advertising campaign in the Savannah area. Through secondary research conducted, one was able to gain information on the financial health of black-owned banks in the United States of America, and its importance to the African American community.

Black owned banks are essential to the advancement and strength of the African-American community. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the importance of strengthening black institutions during his leadership when he urged African Americans to move their money to a Black owned bank in Memphis while presenting his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Constantly, the disenfranchisement of the African American hinders the progress needed to erase the huge racial wealth gap present in the United States of America.

“Families of color will soon make up a majority of the population, but most continue to fall behind whites in building wealth. In 1963, the average wealth of white families was $117,000 higher than the average wealth of nonwhite families. By 2013, the average wealth of white families was over $500,000 higher than the average wealth of African American families ($95,000) and of Hispanic families ($112,000). Put another way, white families on average had seven times the wealth of African American families and six times the wealth of Hispanic families in 2013.” (apps.urban) The wealth needed for African Americans to move ahead financially continues over years to remain stagnant in comparison to the growth of wealth for white families. Why so?

“Income is money coming into a family, while wealth is a family’s assets—things like savings, real estate, businesses—minus debt. Both are important sides of families’ financial security, but wealth cushions families against emergencies and gives them the means to move up the economic ladder. Also, wealth disparities are much greater than income disparities: three times as much by one measure. Income inequality can worsen wealth inequality because the income people have available to save and invest matters (Lei, S. 2015).”

The African American community is in dire need of financial progress. The wealth gap continues to increase while Black people are working hard to overcome the struggles present within the U.S. economy. With systems and regulations in place to undermine the progress of African Americans financially, it is important the Black community works toward strengthening their community internally. “When Black people circulate more of their money within Black communities – as other ethnic groups currently do – it helps support and build the community. Right now, Black people spend a fraction (2-3%) of their dollars with local Black owned businesses and purchase the lion’s share of their goods and services (97-98%) elsewhere. Keeping more money in the Black community will go a long way to create wealth and open the door to greater opportunities in areas that are financially distressed (The Importance of Black Owned Banks, 2015).”

Access to financial services is vital to the growth of the African American community. There is a great need for Black owned banks to provide the services that are unavailable to minorities in the U.S. “Black owned banks are typically located within urban and Black communities. They are more likely to lend money to Black people. They are more likely to support and lend money to help start Black owned businesses. They are also more likely to employ Black people. Supporting Black owned banks by opening a savings account, applying for a loan, getting a single family mortgage, and enjoying the conveniences of online banking all serve to keep people employed in urban communities while also supporting options that better serve the needs of the Black community (The Importance of Black Owned Banks, 2015).”

Supporting Black owned banks will continue to help those banks provide financial services that are not readily available to people of color. Many African Americans today are living without the financial products that uplift and empower them financially. “African Americans without bank accounts are disconnected from the financial services they so desperately need to move ahead, including attaining mortgages and business loans. All too often, Black people experience job loss or financial loss and are turned down by mainstream banks when they apply for loans or mortgages. Even when their credentials are comparable to individuals who are approved for loans or mortgages, studies have shown that African Americans do not receive comparable rates and services. By contrast, Black owned banks offer competitive rates and services. In the event a Black owned bank is unable to provide a loan, they offer other financial products to help rebuild credit such as a secured credit card or a second-chance checking account for those who have been denied a bank account because of a ChexSystems record (The Importance of Black Owned Banks, 2015).”

Now has come a time where Black owned banks can take advantage of a youthful movement to ensure sustainable success in their business. Recent campaigns that have pushed the younger generations to take action into moving portions of their money into Black owned banks have become fruitful. “The Great Recession that devoured homeowners of color alongside rapidly changing banking technology and consumer expectations has made it difficult for black-owned banks to stay afloat and keep up with what consumers want. While blacks and Hispanics were three and two times as likely to receive subprime loans, respectively, black-owned banks that primarily serve black and low-income communities were forced to shut down or consolidate. And, at the same time, younger technology-savvy consumers were increasingly turning to banks with mobile banking applications or financial technology start-ups for banking services.

But at a time when the long-term survival of black banks looks perilous, the #BankBlack campaign has emerged as a form of economic action, bringing new cash and a renewed interest in their well-being. As the black community is reckoning with police brutality time and again, the #BankBlack campaign serves as an effort to preserve banks that provide critical services for black communities — services that many see as necessary to improving the systemic economic problems within the black community (Walk-Morris, T. 2016).”

It has become ever so apparent the struggle systemically that African Americans have endured in the United States of America. Executive Vice President of Citizens Trust Bank, Fredrick Daniels, has said, “I’ve been telling people that it’s time to come home. Rallies are great and they’re necessary. Protesting is great and it’s necessary but what will sustain and grow from here is our dollar and galvanizing our dollar (Finley, T. 2016).”

Method

Participants

The sample selection used was a non-random survey. Participants were chosen to be surveyed by qualifications of being a resident within Savannah area to obtain the results needed for primary research. The survey will be administered and distributed through Google Forms. The survey link was sent out through Facebook, text messages, and the GroupMe app. Participants in the survey were encouraged to forward the link to other citizens in the Savannah area to reach a variety of the Savannah population.

Procedure

To achieve credible results, 28 questions were given to roughly 26 participants of the Savannah area to gauge their interest toward opening up a bank account with a Black owned bank. The survey hosted a combination of questions from multiple choice, range, and short answer comments. A consent form was given with each and every survey. Participants were aware of the confidentiality used to conduct this survey. Also, participants were aware of their privilege to withdraw from the survey at any time. Data was collected using the Google Forms spreadsheet. The spreadsheet and further statistics were used to analyze the data.

Findings

After gathering the primary research, results from the conducted survey showed an underwhelming percentage of those who have accounts open with Carver State Bank. From the survey conducted, 100% of the participants do not have open bank accounts with Carver, while 84.6% claimed to have heard of the Black owned business. Since a vast majority of the survey participants have heard of Carver State Bank, one must look into the numbers to figure the reasoning behind a lack of open bank accounts with Carver State Bank. Only 19.2% of participants in the survey elected that they are willing to open a bank account with Carver State Bank. An encouraging sign was that 53.8% of the participants of the survey were unsure as to whether they would open a bank account with Carver State Bank. This statistic can further infer that we can work to persuade the public towards opening an account.

At this current moment, Carver State Bank does not have much of a visual or social media campaign being conducted. The research shows that 50% of the participants in the survey are encouraged to open an account with a local bank that they can see a lot of flyers and signage of around their city. Also, 42.3% of the participants in the survey are encouraged to open an account with a local bank that has a social media presence. Most of the participants actually get their news from social media at 53.8%.

It will be conducive in a campaign to utilize social media and print advertisements. The secondary research showed there is a rise in technology use by bank account holders. 73.1% of participants in our survey are encouraged to join a bank that has a smartphone/tablet app. Also, 84.6% of the participants in the survey use their current bank’s app. Pitching an idea to Carver State Bank to engage in research and development of a smartphone/tablet app will move them in the right direction towards becoming a relevant bank in their area. A smartphone/tablet app can tremendously increase the number of people who choose to open an account with them as well as reach the young people that they covet to reach.

Another encouraging statistic was that 73.1% of participants in the survey would open an account with a Black owned bank. That same percentage of participants believe that the United States of America’s economy can benefit from Black owned banks as well. 65.4% of the participants in the survey believe that youth and young adults can benefit from opening an account with a Black owned bank. These statistics may be high due to the fact that 92.3% of the participants in the survey identify as African American, but this confirms the preferred audience to target when a campaign is conducted.

Plan

Campaign Goal: The overall goal of this campaign is to increase the awareness of Carver State Bank’s brand in the Savannah area. A strategic plan will be implemented to increase number of accounts for Carver State Bank, to increase the awareness of their top marketable financial products and services, and to inform the public on the benefits of banking with a Black owned bank.

Target Audience: Savannah area citizens (with special consideration to the ages of 18-25 and 45+)

Objectives:

Objective 1: To increase social media interaction by 40% before March 29, 2017, and influence potential customers to visit Carver State Bank’s website. According to an interview with Robert E. James from Carver State Bank, they are currently not using social media for any purposes.

Objective 2: To increase the brand awareness of Carver State Bank’s financial products, services, and initiatives for customers by 10% before March 29, 2016. According to the primary research, 84.6% of the participants in the survey acknowledged the fact of their awareness of Carver State Bank but 100% of those participants do not have an open account with Carver, One can infer that not being aware of all that Carver has to offer is what is holding people back from doing business with Carver.

Key Messages and Theme: The key messages for this campaign are that black owned banks are vital for the economic growth of the African American community.

The theme for this campaign will be “Trust Carver.” When this campaign is completed, the public in the Savannah area will be well aware of Carver State Bank and be able to trust them as greater financial help in the Savannah community.

Channels and Strategies:

Media Channels:​ ​A news release for an event, social media video posts, and radio advertisement will be produced to include in this campaign. According to primary research, 42.3% of survey participants would be encouraged to join a Black owned bank if the bank had a social media presence.

Non- Media Channels:​ By increasing the awareness of Carver State Bank, there will be a social activity included in this campaign to build interpersonal relationship between Carver State Bank and the prospect bank members in the Savannah area. 61.5% of survey participants answered “Yes” to being attracted to a local bank who provides community outreach.

Interactive Media Channels: ​Social media channels and digital/print flyers to help persuade people to bank with Carver State Bank will be produced. Through primary research, one discovered Instagram and Facebook were the most used social media platforms; so by utilizing these different channels, Carver State Bank’s awareness will grow.

Implementation

Web Ad(s)
Web Ad 1
Web Ad 2
Social Media Pages
New Facebook Page (created by me, Ahmaad Green)
New Instagram Page (created by me, Ahmaad Green)
Social Media Post(s)
Facebook Post
Instagram Post
Social Media Ad
Postcard
Front
Back
Print Ad
Radio Ad Script
Class Presentation

Campaign Evaluation

Campaign Goal: The overall goal of this campaign is to increase the awareness of Carver State Bank’s brand in the Savannah area. A strategic plan will be implemented to increase number of accounts for Carver State Bank, to increase the awareness of their top marketable financial products and services, and to inform the public on the benefits of banking with a Black owned bank.

Target Audience: Savannah area citizens (with special consideration to the ages of 18-25 and 45+)

Objectives

Objective 1: To increase social media interaction by 40% before March 29, 2017, and influence potential customers to visit Carver State Bank’s website. According to an interview with Robert E. James from Carver State Bank, they are currently not using social media for any purposes.

Objective 2: To increase the brand awareness of Carver State Bank’s financial products, services, and initiatives for customers by 10% before March 29, 2016. According to the primary research, 84.6% of the participants in the survey acknowledged the fact of their awareness of Carver State Bank but 100% of those participants do not have an open account with Carver, one can infer that not being aware of all that Carver has to offer is what is holding people back from doing business with Carver.

Implementation

Sponsored Social Media Post/Ad: A social media ad was implemented to increase the awareness of Carver State Bank’s website and their new social media pages. The ad ran for a day with a cost of $5 on Facebook. The ad was estimated to reach 700 accounts in the Savannah area. The insights and results from the ad were provided on Facebook.

Class Presentations: During this campaign, a number of three class presentations were implemented. The class presentation was used to inform students on Savannah State University campus of Carver State Bank and the services they provide for all as well as their history as Savannah’s only Black owned bank and location. Information was presented before two of Dr. Sherry Serdikoff’s classes on April 7, 2017. Also, information was presented before one of Dr. David Simmonds’ class on April 10, 2017. Each class had an estimate of 25 students per class. Upon the completion of the class presentations, a survey was administered. This method produced 55 responses to this evaluation survey.

Evaluation Methodology

Sample Selection

The sample selection used was a non-random survey. Participants were chosen to be surveyed by qualifications of being in attendance to the classes where the presentation was presented on Savannah State University’s campus to obtain the results needed for primary research.

Data Collection Technique

The survey was administered and distributed through Google Forms. The survey link was administered through a link shown at the conclusion of the class presentations. Participants in the survey were encouraged to visit Carver State Bank’s website and locations for more information.

Procedures

To achieve credible results, 30 questions were given to roughly 75 participants of the Savannah State University student community to gauge their interest toward opening up a bank account with a Black owned bank. The survey hosted a combination of questions from multiple choice, range, and short answer comments.

Ethical Considerations

A consent form was given with each and every survey. Participants were aware of the confidentiality used to conduct this survey. Also, participants were aware of their privilege to withdraw from the survey at any time.

Data Analysis

Data was collected using the Google Forms spreadsheet. The spreadsheet and further statistics were used to analyze the data.

Findings

My campaign includes two forms of summative evaluations and one form of formative evaluation. After implementing class presentations and running social media campaigns, the results from the newly administered survey produced and showcased a great change.

Other Summative Evaluation

The social media ad produced some encouraging results. The ad ran for a day with a cost of $5 on Facebook. The ad was estimated to reach 700 accounts in the Savannah area. The insights and results from the ad were provided on Facebook. In totality, 357 people were reached (which means it was present and view on their Facebook timeline). The ad garnered 6 post engagements of 1 like of the newly created Facebook page, the link provided in the post to the website was clicked once, and the post itself gained 4 likes. Also, the creation of the social media pages of Instagram and Facebook gained 59 followers and 60 likes, respectively.

Facebook Analytics from Facebook Ad

Conclusion

In conclusion, due to time constraints and the hardships faced of making timely arrangements with Carver State Bank; the campaign could have been deemed a success and garnered more buzz to make an impact in the Savannah, Georgia area. In the most recent administered survey, the number of people who heard of Carver State Bank dropped. This can be due to the fact that the surveys were sent out to different people. Most participants who took the recently administered survey were mostly students who originated outside of the Savannah area.

With more time, I could have presented the recently administered surveys after people had more time to digest the information of the campaign. An increase in those who had or were willing to open an account with Carver State Bank proved to show beneficial results from the campaign. Also, after people hearing all of the services Carver State Bank provides for the African American community in Savannah helped increase the percentage of people who were willing to recommend others to bank with Carver.

During this campaign, it came to my knowledge that Carver State Bank does not utilize social media. With the creation of social media pages, Carver State Bank was able to reach a desired demographics of a younger generation than their average clientele of citizens within the age range of 18-34. After discussing the idea and implementation of this endeavor to create their very own pages, Carver State Bank decided to keep and continue to utilize the social media pages created for them upon completion of this campaign.

If given more time, I would have implemented more social media posts to garner more engagements and create more buzz. I definitely could have discussed with Carver the idea of presenting a promotion to the public to gain more buzz. With only a fraction of the campaign being implemented, the actions of class presentations and social media ads created a small impact for the Carver State Bank, and could help more going forward.

Formative Research

Previously, I had some lofty and ambitious ideas that were unable to be implemented due to time constraints, the lack of funds devoted to the advertising endeavors, and the bank’s heavy schedules of examinations which led to missed meetings and arrangements to discuss the campaign with the client, Carver State Bank. Through this process, I learned to manage time more efficiently if I want to see greater success with any campaign. Staying on top of clients and presenting more urgency of a time sensitive campaign could have propelled this campaign to greater heights.

Another issue that I encountered was with my idea of taking pictures of the bank, its daily interactions, and the employees at work and then later posting it to social media with small interviews of people and employees love to give the public a greater sense of familiarity was met with strict regulations from the Federal Government which keeps banks from showing too much of their inside operations to prevent thefts. The knowledge of this matter emerged later and was unable to overcome. With more time, better communication, and more money, this campaign would have been able to make a greater impact for the Carver State Bank brand.

-Blessings!

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