CoBank – Water
Scope of work / Industry research, brand strategy, brand positioning, marketing campaign
Bianca e Nero was contacted by CoBank’s marketing manager to partner with the bank on a rebranding effort that would reimagine a major division of the bank that was no longer serving its purpose and desperately in need of brand identity. The division was becoming more relevant as water becomes scarcer and more essential for agriculture.
During our discovery phase, the campaign’s target audience of general managers of water systems across the country made it clear there’s was a huge disconnect between what those living in rural America think and feel about water versus how it’s portrayed in advertising. We were determined not to make the same mistake the bank’s competition was making. We needed a bold direction to reach those looking for project financing for water projects.
Our campaign focused on reframing the division’s impact on those living in rural America. At the center of the campaign is our core and overarching thought, “Because of water,” which makes agriculture and life possible in small town America. The concept shines a light on different parts of rural life from Main Street, dairy farms, homes of all sizes, and wheat farmers, etc., and how important water is in their everyday lives. We wanted to show the water systems managers we understand them and how water makes life possible in small towns. The underground pipes show the connectivity and work the water systems are doing, most of it unseen by those they serve.
We also wanted to extend the reach and visibility with a more robust campaign consisting of many elements: print ad campaign and water-specific trade show booth that would better communicate with their customers. We also beefed up their presentation materials in PowerPoint, which is less about a slide deck and more about storytelling, demonstrating how CoBank is there for the long haul for their customers, making a real impact on those they partner with. During COVID-19, all in-person shows were moved virtually, but we wanted to find a way to engage all those working in the water industry. The “stay at home” show kit did the trick. We provided them with cups (for their tap water, popcorn and candy to make the stay-at-home trade show experience a little more enjoyable. A brochure and video were also created to build a stronger brand that better tells their unique story.
Results: Since the rollout of the campaign, interest has been high. Folks are excited to see the entire breath of the campaign. In-person and presentation requests are up, along with proposal requests and inquiries. It appears the campaign is on its way to becoming a success.