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Fifth Third Bank

Planted 02022-09-09

Research for MKT 345. WIP.


Messaging and positioning


  • Winning new customers
    • Increase the probability someone will notice, recognize, and/or think of Fifth Third Bank in buying situations
    • This isn’t about storytelling; it’s about friction and placing things into someones mind that they’ll remember
  • Cultivate Branding power with “younger generations” (Affective valence & uncertainty reduction)


I know very little about banks or banking.

My primary bank accounts are with online banks because 1) they advertised heavily with people I trust, 2) have good ratings on NerdWallet, 3) high APY, and 4) I never want to walk into a bank branch.

I also do not have any loans.

The only resource I know who talks about banks is Patrick McKenzie (patio11).

I was not aware regional banks were a thing, although I guess it makes sense. It feels strange that I would not be able to open an account at a bank because of the state I live in.

I have no concept, nor importance of banks and community involvement. Is community involvement more significant in banking than other industries?

I grew up in an internet age, and in my room. I have little knowledge of geographic regions aside from time zones.

Patrick McKenzie on:

The dominant understanding in the financial industry is that customers choose their main bank due to convenience, with convenience being defined as “close to home, close to work, or (ideally) on the commute corridor between the two.” — Patrick Mckenzie


  • What drives people to make new bank accounts?
  • What stories do people tell themselves and others about banks?
  • What drives people to think/talk about banks?
  • What needs are not met by market leaders?
  • What status/affiliation/convenience concept instantiations does the industry use?

What drives people to make new bank accounts?

When we buy or sign up for something, we either reinforce our perceived role and identity or move to a new status role.

I buy Gillette razors. My dad uses Gillette razors. We both received a Gillette on our 18th birthdays. I think to this day it is the most personalized thing I’ve ever been sent by a company. I think Geico did something similar, but it was a card and not a functional item.

American Student List merged with Alloy Direct Marketing to become ASL Marketing.

My first bank account was a joint-account with my parents, the bank they also used growing up.

People interface with banks because:

  • They need a secure place to put their paycheck
    • Prevents physical theft
    • Interest rates help prevent value lost from inflation
  • They need to send money (dwindling reason)
  • They need a loan
  • They need a financial advisor

The goal of brand design isn’t familiarity, comfort, and removal of friction—where it could be any brand. Instead, the goal of brand design is to do the unexpected and create a memorable friction. The goal of brand design is to create tension.

Tension drivers:

  • Fear of missing out
  • Fear of sounding dumb
  • Fear of paying too much
  • Fear of falling behind
  • Fear of social interaction
  • Shaming
  • Fear of fear
  • Actual danger
  • Not knowing how it ends
  • Discomfort at using something inferior
  • Frustration at using a tool that’s not the state of the art
  • Ennui

What stories do people tell themselves and others about banks?


What drives people to think/talk about banks?

Survey. When was the last time you talked about a bank? When was the last time you raved about a bank?

What status/affiliation/convenience concept instantiations does the industry use?




  • 50,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • No minimum deposit to open checking or savings account
  • No minimum balances to earn APY


  • High monthly maintenance fees
  • High balance requirements to waive monthly fees
  • Low APY on interest-bearing accounts

Investopedia: Who is Fifth Third Bank best for?:

  • Reside in (1 of 11 states) Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia
  • Want to have multiple accounts at the same bank
  • Love earning extra money: bonuses, interest even on small balances, and cashback with a debit card
  • Would like the ease and convenience of a contactless debit card

Fifth Third Bank 2021 Annual Report

Fifth Third Bank 2021 Annual Report

Differentiated products

We launched Fifth Third Momentum Banking in 2021, our free, flagship mass-market offering that is unparalleled in the industry.

we offer customers a broad array of solutions for quick access to their money with:

  • Early Pay, which allows free access to paycheck, social security income and other recurring ACH payments up to two days early.
  • Free overdraft protection that automatically transfers funds from other accounts to cover a negative balance.
  • Extra Time®, which provides a grace period to cure any overdraft until midnight the following business day
  • MyAdvance™, which enables on-demand short-term advances to help in a pinch.
  • Immediate access to funds from digital check deposits.
  • Algorithmic “smart savings” to help manage savings automatically.

Regional Growth

Our Chicago and Southeast markets have experienced particularly strong growth, and we continue to strengthen our position in the Midwest.

We continue to reposition our retail branch network to increase our geographic reach and to drive efficiencies in the context of evolving customer preferences. Fifth Third remains focused on expanding in high growth markets where a top position is achievable, with a goal of having approximately 35% of our branches in Southeast metro areas by the end of 2025.


our debit card volumes, where Fifth Third ranked eighth in total spend among all U.S. banks.

We have improved from the bottom quartile in customer service five years ago to top quartile in customer service today in a leading third-party survey.

Navigating a business transition or liquidity event is complex, both financially and emotionally. In August, we launched our Business Transition Advisory Team

As of December 31, 2021, the company had:

  • $211B in assets
  • $65B in assets under management*
  • $554B in assets under care*
  • 4 business units: Branch banking, Commercial banking, Consumer lending, and Wealth & Asset management
  • Access to ~54K fee-free ATMs
  • 1,117 full-service banking centers

The Bancorp operates four main businesses:

  • Commercial Banking
  • Branch Banking
  • Consumer Lending
  • Wealth & Asset Management

Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of December 31, 2021, had $554 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $65 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations.

Presentation Elements

Diagnosis: Fifth Third Bank adds to the noise instead of cutting through it

  • How much do people trust Fifth Third Bank?
  • Does Fifth Third Bank have a voice?
  • Who is likely to seek out, listen to, or talk about Fifth Third Bank?

Most people don’t choose Fifth Third Bank

So who does choose Fifth Third Bank? And why?

Why don‘t people choose you?

  • They don’t know you exist
  • They’re not aware of the offering you have
  • They don’t trust you
  • They don’t believe the promise you’re making
  • They worry about what their peers will think
  • They are afraid of change and worry that your promise might come true
  • They’re not in the right emotional, physical or social state right now
  • They have different goals than you think they do
  • They have a different risk profile than you think they do
  • They have a different problem than you think they do
  • They tell a different story about money than you think they do
  • They’re not the decision-maker, or don’t think they are
  • They can wait, and they don’t feel any sufficient benefit for acting
  • They don’t have the resources, can’t find the resources, or won’t pay the price to get the resources

Low fees are king

In a survey about what people really want from banks: Low fees are king. Savings interest rate is most important interest rate, and interest rate is important. Most people are satisfied with their existing bank.

Given only one option, people care mostly about:

  • Low fees
  • Mobile and online access
  • High level of customer service (what does that even mean?)

Other options:

  • High level of customer service (what does that even mean?)
  • Low fees
  • Security and fraud protection
  • Mobile and online access
  • Good brand reputation
  • Easy ATM access
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Diverse account options
  • Convenient branch locations
  • Loan availability

Data source: The Ascent survey of 1,708 American bank account holders, distributed Dec. 4, 2020.

What consumers really want from banks

What are the views of the people you seek to serve on their status roles? Who is trying to move up? Who is staying the same? Who is moving down? Do you help them make that move?

When we buy or sign up for something, we either reinforce our perceived role and identity or move to a new status role.

What will they tell their friends?

Status objects in banking:

Guiding Principle: Unexpected Consideration

The goal isn’t to make everything the same, familiar and comfortable, and remove all friction to the point that your brand becomes so generic that it could be any brand. Instead, the goal is to do the unexpected and create a memorable friction.

Coherent Actions

Where can Fifth Third Bank create moments of unexpected consideration?


  • Parent — Child
    • Parents opening their first joint bank account with their child
  • Parent — Parent
    • Creating first joint account
  • Employer — Employee
    • Getting first paycheck
    • Early Pay
  • Contractor — Customer
  • Landlord — Tenant
  • Friend
  • Family Member

Encourage play with the brand elements:

  • A Fifth-Third better, A Fifth-Third X
  • FTB small caps meme/generator:
    • Fifth Third Bank
    • For The B…
      • For The Brave
      • For The Breakthrough
      • For The Better
      • For The Bighearted
      • For The Best
      • For The Busy
      • For The Birthday
      • For The Broken
      • For The Bold
      • For The Baby
      • For The Brother
      • For The Boys
      • For The Buddy
      • For The Beautiful
      • For The Beginning
      • For The Believer
      • For The Boss
    • Father To Be
    • Focus Trust Believe
    • First Time Back

Estimated Impact