From rich history to bright future
After BancorpSouth and Cadence Bank – both leading financial institutions serving the southern United States – completed their merger in late 2021, a new corporate brand was needed to unify the company internally and signal the arrival of a new and stronger organization to customers and communities across the region.
The challenge for the new Cadence Bank brand was to communicate a value proposition that would capture the experience that made the organization stand out as something different.
The brand also had to unify the organization while retaining the strong equity of both legacy brands in terms of visual identity, service and culture—and provide a springboard for the future.
HOW WE HELPED
Research quickly revealed common strengths across the two legacy organizations that differentiated them: deep expertise, a focus on listening first, personal service and strong relationships with customers, among employees and within communities. Taken together, these attributes helped both organizations provide guidance in the way that’s most meaningful and helpful to their customers.
Tenet saw a warm, personal approach distinct from that of many larger financial services companies: an urge to meet people where they are on their financial journeys, develop and sustain long-term relationships, and provide the flexibility required to meet individual customer needs. It is not uncommon, for example, for customers to be greeted by name when they go to a branch.
This shared culture and the personality attributes that shape it led to a new brand promise: “Ease your day. And your mind.” The concept of ease was central to positioning as well, providing a way to tell a rich and nuanced story that goes beyond “we make banking easy.” At Cadence, ease is as much a mindset as an operating principle. It’s as much about creating convenience as it is about putting customers’ minds at ease.
The visual, sonic and verbal brand identity stands out in the marketplace as something fresh and new while being rooted in the proud history of both companies—showing how two leaders have joined under the new Cadence brand. Together, these elements evoke a strong sense of people and community that complements all aspects of the customer experience. It puts weight and credibility behind the new tagline: “Helping opportunity take shape.”
Notably, Tenet designers found a way to echo the highly recognizable BancorpSouth gumtree logo with a completely new take on the iconic symbol. Since the Cadence name was retained, it was important for BancorpSouth employees and customers to see themselves reflected in the new logo. By evoking the gumtree through color and perfectly balanced shapes working in harmony to complement the name, the logo provides a clear link to the past while moving the brand forward.
The brand rollout was supported by an extensive communications and employee engagement program, including regular communications on a dedicated internal microsite and the company intranet. Tenet and the Cadence team also implemented a “train the trainer” program for Cadence Bank brand ambassadors—selected individuals who went on to immerse thousands of employees in the new brand, focusing attention on the Cadence Bank culture and values, and the part that employees play in the customer experience.
The resulting brand is a clear reflection of the very best of legacy BancorpSouth and Cadence, coming together to create a new, modern and human-centric financial services organization. According to the client, the brand has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from thousands of employees and customers, and has won awards for the bank.
“One of the aspects we’ve liked most about Tenet Partners’ approach is their ability to effectively balance art and science when developing our new brand. They are exceptionally strong in both areas, which is rare for a branding agency.”
– Jackie Hooper, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Cadence Bank