Heartland Credit Union

Community Branding


Differentiate a Credit Union in a crowded marketplace while successfully positioning them next to more traditional banking options.


Reach existing and new audiences through data-driven insights while providing the unique benefits of a Credit Union banking relationship.






Building a Foundation

Exploration of Heartland’s culture and core values uncovered where the credit union’s values and abilities intersected with the needs of its customers. A down-to-earth caregiver brand would stake its position in the marketplace while providing the key messages consumers need to clearly distinguish their distinctive benefits.
This position was anchored by the brand promise “It’s the Heartland Way” which leads the conversation regarding the unique benefits of the credit union along with its commitment to the success of its members and the community it serves.

Defining and Delivering on the Brand Promise

Word of mouth is the most potent form of advertising. H+W worked with the credit union to identify members that best represent consumer personas, from business owners to first-time home buyers to youth accounts to retirees, to leverage their stories for testimonials that would resonate with the credit union’s desired audience. Actual members tell stories that are featured in direct mail pieces, digital ads, and videos. Video, deployed on social and streaming platforms, feature members interacting with staffers at Heartland, recounting how the credit union helped them succeed in ways big and small. The same members appear in static ads along with messaging that helps to define and demonstrate “The Heartland Way.”


Creating Brand Consistency

H+W came alongside the credit union’s in-house team to create templates and other developed assets to support an omnichannel marketing campaign promoting its products and services. Brand boards established the necessary guidelines including color palette, type treatment, image direction, and voice, that would allow both teams to consistently communicate the Heartland Way.

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Developing Digital Campaigns

Like any financial institution, Heartland has products and services to sell — loans, checking accounts, commercial services — not only to new members but to existing ones. There is no one-message-fits-all approach to reach such a specific and diverse audience. Through planning and close collaboration, H+W and Heartland developed a marketing plan to fully support their sales funnel and business goals and objectives for the year. The plan included awareness campaigns, targeted geographic campaigns introducing their products and services, and conversion campaigns promoting special opportunities and deposits. 
Specific channel activation and clearly defined audience segmentation were key to supporting the engagement strategy. Extensive audience research provided insight into users’ distinct psychographic and demographic attributes, enabling precise targeting. To ensure broad reach and optimized performance, assets were tailored for each placement, including social, PPC, native display, contextual display, pre-roll video ads, streaming audio, and connected TV campaigns. Campaigns paced throughout the year on primary platforms before being distributed to secondary platforms. This approach prevented ad saturation among overlapping audiences while providing the layering and frequency needed to successfully engage each audience.
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