Agency|51 launches brand convincing Palo Alto to “Bank Less” and “Stand for More.”
: April 26, 2016

According to a report from CNBC, nearly 25% of customers are looking to leave their bank. For Stanford Federal Credit Union — a financial institution in Palo Alto since 1959 — the timing for growth was perfect. And after a deep agency search, Agency|51 Advertising was selected for the firm’s big brand understanding, and extensive banking knowledge — especially with credit unions looking to boost membership.

From the overarching brand message, brand essence, logo and tagline, as well as multiple internal and external launch strategies. According to Tony Serna, VP Creative for Agency|51, “This milestone takes a thorough 360-degree approach that will ‘build an everlasting, authentic brand’ for the market, and help ‘create a unified service culture’ for the entire staff and team. We put all aspect of our brand and messaging on trial for its life.”

With the public sentiment on inferior banking, Agency|51 knew this was the ideal “time and tone”, and delivered a brand that allowed consumers to “BANK LESS” from a credit union that will “STAND FOR MORE”.

Studies, surveys, focus groups and analysis influenced and inspired the foundation for the most relevant and engaging message strategy. And from the beginning of the branding process, Agency|51’s goal was to define the difference between a transactional institution and a transformational institution — with Stanford FCU being the latter. Stanford FCU is a major part of the legacy and tradition of Palo Alto — not only with the association with Stanford University, but also the strong bonds with leading companies in the area like Google, Facebook, Genentech, Tesla and more.

People in the community have a tradition of being untraditional, and Stanford FCU is right there, too. Agency|51’s collaboration with the forward-thinking marketing team at Stanford FCU led to the promise that consumers can “bank less” and “do more” — because of mobile banking and other convenience that allow for more time for family, careers … life. Plus the double-meaning of “bank less” — to be without a bank — opened the dialogue and education about a “credit union.” Being a not-for-profit ensured greater value for consumers since profits are returned to credit union members, not bank stockholders. Agency|51 focused on the benefit of these features, communicating how members can “do more” with the money and in their lives.

On top of the banking benefits, Stanford FCU is a major contributor to the community of Palo Alto — recently receiving the top honor from the Chamber of Commerce as the leading corporate neighbor. This all added up to a spot-on brand message strategy — one that would stand for benefits beyond banking.

According to Scott Muscarella, Managing Partner of Agency|51, “Our goal with our clients is to maximize this process and reach beyond building a brand; let’s create a culture so every employee can contribute, and the entire community can engage with.”

For more information about this brand experience, or strategies to create yours, contact


A|51 Blog

See what we’re writing about