What Does a Bank Advertise For?

WHY does a Bank whose place of business is in one of our many cities advertise in this national magazine?

Chiefly, because of the amazing rate at which Big Business is nationalizing itself;

Because of the continually widening distribution of credit, and the need for spreading deposit accounts to meet many local requirements;

Because the long-maintained “Eastern” money market is now just one of a dozen “markets”; and

Because we have grown into one closely-knit country, brought down to a fairly small community by airplane, radio, wireless, telegraph, telephone, and fast trains.

To organizations like Colgate &: Company, Eastman Kodak Company, General Electric Company, and General Motors Corporation, their New York, Rochester, Schenectady, and Detroit “home office” cities mean little. Their market is the celebrated United States of America. They even look out beyond that considerable territory to the wide, wide world. They have their branches in a score of cities and for all practical purposes each branch is Colgate & Company, or the Eastman Kodak Company, or the General Electric Company, or General Motors.

New York, Rochester, Schenectady, and Detroit do not mean a great deal to them in a financial way, either; at least, only in relation to other communities, for they don t do all their banking in those cities. They don’t borrow all of their money at home even. In one of its recent institutional advertisements. General Motors states that in its financial operations it is “a customer of 10,000 banks.”

There are many of these really national businesses. Where shall they do their banking? How shall they determine as between banks in New Orleans and Dallas, or Cleveland and Pittsburgh, or Kansas City and St. Louis, or Los Angeles and San Francisco? How shall they select individual banks? How do the local banks stand with relation to each other? A hundred forces are at play. But, to the bank that can speak out for its community in interesting advertisements and can associate itself unmistakably with its market— that is the high goal of bank advertising. It is the strategy of business. It is personality building. Can it make that personality stand out? What is very important, can it give that personality a reputation? Can it lead Big Business to visualize a certain bank when it thinks of San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, or Baltimore? Out of this strategy, out of the local competitive situation, arises bank advertising.

Recent improvements in the technique of bank advertising show how it is best applied as a business-building force. Instead of the “Statement of Condition” type of advertising with its lack of human interest and sales message, bankers have accepted the best ideas in general business advertising and have applied them to their own field. Their sales slogan now is more a matter ot markets and trade territory than “service” or strength of directorate or even a respectable old age. It is the bank’s background, rather than the bank itself. That is the modern bank’s approach to Big Business.

That sort of advertising is an investment. It yields a handsome return which adds to the value of all the bank’s more readily admitted assets, such as its location, the extra beauty and strength of its building, its reputation, and those other items of courtesy and fairness which combine to secure and hold its place in the community.

And these are some of the reasons why banks advertise in this magazine. As one banker said: “There is no surer, no more economical, no more dignified and appropriate way for a bank to establish itself as an outstanding institution than by the use of magazine advertising.’

No. 5 in this series will be “Investors and their Invest merits”