Cortland Bank2019-06-28T18:12:12+00:00

Cortland Bank

Based on our reputation as a financial brand development leader, Cortland Banks engaged MarketMatch with a mild expectation that we would recommend a name change due to their having expanded well beyond the Cortland city limits into four counties.


After several preliminary brand assessment discussions, we landed on the following objectives:

  • Increase awareness.
  • Appeal to a younger demographic.
  • Position the bank for growth in new markets.


  • Perform Customer Experience Shops at all 12 Cortland branches and 13 key competitors to identify branch experience and any differentiation, competitive intelligence or need training that might come from it.
  • Review all competitive messaging.
  • Perform customer mapping to identify geographical opportunity gaps.
    • All customer locations by county
    • Key products and balances by county
  • Conduct staff interviews: 19 total interviews to identify trends in the bank’s internal culture, customer input, bank strengths and possible hurdles.
  • Undertake quantitative research (phone surveys): 377 customers and 383 non-customers. Objectives were to identify:
    • Awareness
    • Perception
    • Primary financial institution
    • Purchase criteria
    • Product usage


  • There was very little awareness of the bank among non-customers.
  • Even though Cortland Banks is named after a small Ohio city, there was no negative perception of the name.
  • Market share leaders were not necessarily mind share leaders.
  • Of those who knew of the bank, there was high brand equity, and people thought highly of the bank’s service.
  • Overall service in the market was low among competitors, allowing an opportunity to stand out and differentiate.
  • We did not recommend a name change (other than dropping the confusing “s” in “Banks”)

New Look, New Culture, Same Name

So, the results were not quite a “love you just the way you are” revelation. Nor did they reveal grounds for changing a name. We tend to only recommend a name change if: 1) your name causes confusion in the marketplace, 2) your name causes a barrier for entry, or 3) there is a negative perception in the marketplace. That said, we determined that a New Look, New Culture solution would be the best way to meet the agreed-upon objectives.

New Look: Refreshed Brand

To kick things off, on the creative side, we developed:

  • A new brand look and feel, complete with logo change
  • A new website design (
  • A brand style guide
  • In-branch promotional materials to build awareness of the new brand (not to mention a more uniform appearance across all locations)

New Culture: A Life Stage Marketing Approach

In addition to the new look, it was vital to define the personality and culture of the bank. To assure a consistent customer experience at every single touch-point, we defined new:

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Personality (written as if Cortland Bank were a person)
  • Brand Promise
  • Brand Essence (The most refined description of who the bank is)

The defined brand essence is to be “Your Neighborhood Boutique Bank,” to provide a personalized, specialty, honest, high-quality experience. While the bank started with outstanding service, we provided the following tools to help focus the service to be more personalized:

  • Life Stage Marketing Program & Materials
  • Financial Future Form (Personal Budgeting Tool)
  • Customer Profile (Relationship Building Questionnaire)
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