1st National Bank takes on consolidation frustrations

PHOENIX: The 1st National Bank of Arizona is addressing the public's frustrations with banking as it launches two products through its newest and largest fully integrated marketing campaign.

PHOENIX: The 1st National Bank of Arizona is addressing the public's frustrations with banking as it launches two products through its newest and largest fully integrated marketing campaign.

The company has launched three new Web sites to highlight the new products: ImageDeposit, which enables customers to deposit checks from their desk using a desktop scanner and a secure Internet connection; and 1st Business Select Checking, which allows customers to create a customized bank account.

The $3.4 billion bank said the Web sites - Runaroundaphobia.com, Boxedinaphobia.com, and Bigbankaphobia.com - are a lighthearted way of addressing consumer concerns in a consolidating industry.

Charles Freeman, SVP and marketing director at 1st National, said research the bank did for product development efforts showed consumers felt neglected because of all the bank mergers.

"They said as the banks got bigger, their relationships got more distant because they were pushed to alternative channels and felt they were becoming more and more a number," he said. "We saw this as an opportunity for someone like us... to leverage those frustrations and take a humorous approach in saying we have solutions for you."

The company is also making Gary Dorris, who was named president and CEO six months ago, available on a media tour and is reaching out to financial and trade media.

"So we're really using this opportunity to reintroduce the bank and put him forward as a[n] expert," Freeman said.

Barclay Communications, 1st National's AOR, is handling all campaign aspects. John Willie, principal at Barclay, said there is an internal component, as well.

"Internally, we're running a promotion and asking employees to come up with new 'phobias,' " Willie said.

Other marketing communications efforts include newspaper and radio ads, in-branch merchandising, and direct mail. The bank tapped employees for print and online campaign images.

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