Confident its TCF initials can stand on their own, the lender once known as Twin Cities Federal will launch a rebranding campaign next month designed as much to appeal to a new generation of customers as to bring its varied lines of financial services under one umbrella logo.
The upbeat, energized effort includes new television spots; bright print, digital and outdoor advertising; new-look debit cards; a redesigned website, and a truck that will visit local community events and hand out branded TCF gear.
The theme of the campaign is "in rhythm with your" — fill in the blank with vacation, cash flow, inventory or technology, all of which are financing services provided by TCF.
The bank's official name will actually be a lowercase "tcf." The logo will have a little flag adornment in the colors charcoal, citrus and cardinal red. For each division of the bank, from retail lending to inventory and equipment financing, the logo will look the same.
"We don't need six different logos for six different businesses," said Craig Dahl, vice chairman and president of TCF Financial Corp. "In the past, we didn't have a linkage between branch banking and the lending businesses. But we've changed our model from fee-based banking, and we have to look at things as an enterprise."
What began as a regional savings and loan in 1923 that took deposits and financed home mortgages is today a significant player in a variety of lending activities, including $4 billion in auto loans through a national network of 10,000 dealers.
As of March 15, TCF had $20 billion in assets and nearly 400 branch locations in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Dakota and Indiana.
Given its shifting business lines and national presence, a rebrand for TCF made sense. But the project did not have a quick turnaround.
"Our journey was one of research and understanding, where we stand in the marketplace, how employees felt about us as well," said Geoff Thomas, managing director of marketing and products. "A brand is more than a logo and a color. It's really about the experience we deliver. Our goal was to give everyone the same flag to march behind."
TCF started its research with focus groups and customers in 2012. It collected feedback from a website called MakeTCFBetter.com.
About a year ago, TCF hired the Minneapolis ad agency Periscope to give life to a rejuvenated brand and turn that feedback into a marketing campaign.
"We wanted to look at this from a holistic point of view. We wanted a big brand platform that everything can fall from," said Periscope Creative Director Chris Wareham. "We wanted to modernize and contemporize TCF and have a campaign that talks to people directly."
The result is entertaining TV spots that will start airing June 1 in the Twin Cities, Detroit, Denver and Chicago.
The 30- and 15-second spots contain the "rhythm" theme, which also is repeated in print and digital material.
One TV ad shows a young couple bouncing around their too-small home to the tune of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" with a voice at the end that says, "No matter if you're buying a new house or saving for one, TCF is in rhythm with your next move."
A second ad shows a father and daughter walking down the wedding aisle, but at the end it is revealed that the dad is getting married. The voice-over says, "No matter if you are 37 or 73, TCF is in rhythm with your dreams."
"We want to enhance the rhythm of everyday life. We want TCF viewed as an ally," said Jennifer Rohling, director of marketing.
But it takes more than broadcast and print advertising to catch the attention of the sought-after millennial generation, which does more business with their iPhone than with a debit card. That makes social media a necessary advertising channel.
"The amount of social bounce is very different than it was just a couple of years ago," Thomas said. "There's been a significant evolution in mobile banking. We have to be active in the social space."
That's also where the truck comes in.
The branded vehicle bearing the message "In rhythm with your summer" will appear throughout communities and provide various perks at various times — coffee and doughnuts in the morning, Frisbees in the afternoon, ponchos when its raining.
"TCF is not just an abbreviation anymore," Rohling said. "It becomes a picture when you see it this way."