BoM: campaign raised profile

Success is what convinced the Bank of Montreal to double its tv media budget last year, says Wendy Porter, the bank's vice-president of corporate advertising and promotion.'We have seen some very strong results,' Porter says of the bank's image-building efforts.She says,...

Success is what convinced the Bank of Montreal to double its tv media budget last year, says Wendy Porter, the bank’s vice-president of corporate advertising and promotion.

‘We have seen some very strong results,’ Porter says of the bank’s image-building efforts.

She says, specifically, when the bank surveyed consumers to find out which financial institutions first came to mind, Bank of Montreal scored well against its seven major bank and trust company competitors, placing in the top tier of a three-tier scale of recognition.

Porter says this was ‘absolutely not the case’ before the image campaign. ‘We had a very low awareness out there,’ she says.

She says not only did the bank have ‘low awareness,’ but those consumers who could identify the bank had no strong feelings about it, one way or the other.

‘If anything, they were holding on to a feeling from many years ago that we were big, we were bureaucratic, we were slow-moving,’ Porter says.

‘None of the things a young, dynamic management team is looking to hear,’ she says.

‘So our primary goal was to change that impression of Bank of Montreal to something that was more closely aligned to the current management strategy.’

After an initial eight-week campaign, the bank followed up with an attitude survey and saw results.

Porter says after a second wave, the bank repeated the survey and realized it had a hit. So the decision was made to build on what had already been accomplished.

‘When we came up with our corporate strategy for 1992, we decided that we’d stay on television, we’d be more aggressive, we would put more money behind it and instead of going in waves, we’d have a continuity strategy,’ Porter says.

She says most of the bank’s commercials appear in movies, news and sports programs, shows that reach a broad cross-section of consumers, but appeal specifically to younger families.

‘They watch a lot of television,’ Porter says.

‘I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but if you think of a young family – two parents and a couple of kids – and everything that entails these days, with kids under 12 involved in hockey and ringette and after-school activities, who the heck has got time to sit down and read?’ she asks.

Porter says she relies on her research manager to stay on top of the latest tv audience data, but in the end, the question of how best to reach the target audience is largely left up to the agency.

‘In a lot of respects, we are taking the agency’s recommendation,’ she says. ‘You have to rely on them to give you a straight bill of goods.’