Flagstar Bank: A Story of Transformation.

The Diagnosis: Personality Disorder

Flagstar found itself in a tough place. Years and years of running rates as campaigns had caused them to lose their personality. “We do so many great things, but no one knows about them,” their bankers told us. Because their ads had become too deal-focused, the brand became the deal. So, they needed a new position that would make a true emotional connection as well as drive a premium price for the many services they provided.

The Power of Process

Our challenge was to create a new and relevant brand profile for Flagstar designed to give our client a distinct voice and personality in a crowded market. We accomplished this by utilizing our 4-part proprietary process we call the Brand Map.


1. Discovery

Through a series of interviews, moderated group discussions, product analysis, and competitive study, DBA created several internal brand profiles consisting of Purpose Statements, Values and “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” (BHAGs.) We then brought together C-suite leadership as well as internal thought leaders throughout the bank to narrow the brand profiles to a single selection powerful enough to motivate and inspire team members and set the tone for external campaigns. This was critical for alignment since people are more likely to embrace big ideas when they feel their viewpoints are considered.

2. Ideation

Multiple brand positions, promises, personalities and messages were developed to match the internal brand profile. These creatively explored different ways to create market disruption as well as connect to the demo most likely to value and appreciate Flagstar. We also created new products and services for each campaign to drive a consumer to switch to Flagstar. Next, we went into testing. Using a series of focus groups, ad-LOB testing and extensive quantitative surveying, we narrowed the campaigns down from six to two clear winners. Why two? Because the audience saw both as winners. They said we couldn’t go wrong with either. One focused heavily on the life-long connection our customer hoped to have with their bank. The other focused on the care and precision that Flagstar employees crafted into their financial solutions. Ultimately, the craft position was chosen for its ability to differentiate amongst other banks’ messages and positions.

3. Execution

DBA created initial brand launch materials as well as photographic assets and brand guidelines to launch the campaign and serve as a platform for Flagstar’s internal design team to manage and maintain.

4. Measurement

Flagstar Bank reported that the process DBA guided them through helped all Flagstar members – management and employee alike – to understand their driving purpose. And by creating more than an ad, we helped them reveal their purpose in the marketplace through unique messaging. Thanks to a process that was driven by quantitative analysis and less by intuition-based thinking, Flagstar also experienced greater team cohesion as the members involved in the process reported that their ideas were heard. And for the ones whose ideas may not have been chosen, they embraced the chosen approach because it was based in methodology as opposed to internal politics. Beyond a healed image, better alignment and happier customers, Flagstar Bank reported that within eight months of the campaign launch, brand awareness grew from 45% to 68%.

Join the participation age

Surfing the Black Wave Book Cover This is not only the age of the empowered consumer. It's the time to participate in media. We coined the term "Participation Age" and wrote the book on building brands in this new digital economy. Learn more by reading the book, Surfing the Black Wave: Brand Leadership in a Digital Age, by our CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, Daniel Brian Cobb.

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