Financial Case Study

Challenges Graphic


  • An international bank with a regional presence in the U.S. needed to reposition itself in a differentiating and compelling way within the fast-changing financial services landscape. They also wanted to introduce several product and digital initiatives that would fulfill unmet customer needs while supporting the new positioning. The client team was not experienced in concept development for transformational change.
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  • Develop a clear understanding of the unmet needs and motivators of the bank’s primary and secondary target audiences in the current environment
  • Identify and refine several “umbrella” positioning options for the bank, in a range of distinct directions
  • Identify several product themes/bundles/ initiatives that could delight customers and support each of these umbrella positioning options
  • Sharpen appeal and articulation of concepts with target audiences in preparation for quantitative testing

How we did it


  • Assigned two researchers, chosen for relevant industry and concept development experience as marketers of Fortune 100 companies, with both overlapping and complementary perspectives. This synergy ensured the best possible outcomes.

Data Mining of Available Research:

  • Reviewed proprietary research our company had completed for this client since 2011, focusing on insights that were still relevant in the current environment
  • Tapped secondary research sources to explore impact of COVID-19 on the target and their financial needs

Foundational Workshopping and Concept Evolution:

  • Shared learnings from Data Mining & Respondent Journaling (pre-work before qualitative interviews) to align team on what is known and what we needed to learn.
  • Designed and conducted insight exploratory activities with the client team, based on design thinking principles.
  • Wrote stimuli including umbrella themes, product themes and product descriptions for exploration in first round Focus Groups
  • Conducted a series of focus groups, interspersed with additional workshopping to evolve stimuli and incorporate new ideas. Introduced imagery connection options to extend beyond verbal descriptions and probe resonance on deeper, non-verbal levels.
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We pinpointed a deeply resonant umbrella positioning built on clear insights and supported by strong options for product and digital initiatives.


We went beyond these results to recommend a specific, sequenced approach that would tap into various rich territories within this positioning.


This enabled the bank to transform and differentiate itself by moving through closer-in territories, then on to more innovative, further-out territories.


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