Using Branding to Drive Strategic Refocusing and Enterprise Revitalization


In the midst of an industry “Sea Change” and economic downturn, this leading U.S. Credit Card Issuer was facing rapidly intensifying competition, product commoditization, dwindling margins, and widespread industry consolidation. The company needed to shift its focus to new and unfamiliar consumer segments, and develop a compelling brand positioning and value proposition for that target market.


We organized a broad, senior client task force, and conducted internal visioning and ideation sessions to generate fresh, critical thinking and ensure broad buy-in and commitment to the insights, strategic decisions and outcomes of the initiative. We conducted a deep-dive brand assessment, consumer needs assessment & competitive analysis utilizing qualitative research, quantitative research and market intelligence. The research uncovered significant unmet emotional consumer needs among a large, “Mainstream American” market that was largely under-recognized, and under-served by virtually all financial service providers. This led to the development of a new, compelling, and aspirational brand positioning centered on a promise of “Respect & Recognition.” Our firm led the launch of the new positioning, including product and service innovation, consumer segmentation, marketing communications planning, organizational development, enhanced customer service protocols, and an extensive internal rollout of the new brand positioning.


The company achieved a landmark revitalization, including renewed internal commitment and enthusiasm – and a revolutionary new business model for the industry. Our client established strong competitive differentiation and relevance, through an array of new products, services, communications and customer experiences – initiatives that were tightly focused on delivering on the “Respect and Recognition” brand promise. By leveraging the new brand strategy and innovation framework, the company experienced an unprecedented 20% lift in direct mail response rates, as well as a significant improvement in the credit quality, profitability, and loyalty of new accounts booked.