Berkshire Bank

All Wallets Welcome Campaign Behind the Scene Q&A

Mark Tomasi, Senior Creative Director

Role: Senior Creative Director

Residing City and State: Pittsfield, MA

How did the All Wallets Welcome come about? What was the initial spark for bringing this campaign to life?

The initial spark was the need for us to become truly authentic. Authentic as in moving away from trying to perpetually market a feeling (like excitement) and moving towards cultivating a more (and much needed) inclusive and responsible attitude. We basically wanted to pivot away from the fast growing M&A attitude to focus on being our own social champion by becoming a 21st century community bank. That spark then flamed into a collective desire that would lead us to the doorsteps of this socially responsible campaign. The vision was there to explain where we were headed and the concept enlightened the vision. The balancing act was announcing our mission to become a more responsible bank without sounding like we had already achieved it. Rather, we wanted to recognize that there is still work ahead of the Bank.

How collaborative was this process? What does collaboration look like working on this type of campaign?

We had both a seamless collaboration process and buy-in at the get-go since we had already, a few months earlier, redefined our new and award winning Be FIRST values. Those values were a huge help in setting both the course and navigation of the campaign. More often than not, because of time and money concerns, campaigns are born from countless conference calls and caffeinated brainstorms in whiteboard war rooms. This Wallet project was tightly woven teamwork between Leverage Marketing, our internal marketing team and upper management. It took in just the right amount of valuable travel, unbiased listening, socializing of ideas and thoughtful baked out feedback. All of this was necessary so the marketing team could then give on-point direction to the agency which would allow them to fly with creative freedom to do their best work. Some say the definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I like to think we were “lucky” because we were prepared with the Be FIRST values and we then had the opportunity (and team) to then drive the cultural collaborative message over the doorstep and through the door of becoming that socially responsible bank we desired to be.

From beginning to end, can you tell me more about the process behind working on such a major campaign? (high level — early stage, midway stage, final stage)

This campaign was unique in its use of animation. The original pitch called for a stop-motion technique, but we realized early on that we wanted these wallets to have more life and energy than stop-motion would allow. 3D animation let us control the physics of each individual wallet, so it has a nice kinetic energy.

I’m also grateful for all the stakeholder input we received throughout the process. Diversity and inclusion are often perceived from a very personal viewpoint, so it was amazing how varied and unique the feedback was. We heard so many unexpected points of view, and tried to include as many of them as possible.

When designing and branding this type of campaign, what are the most important things you try to keep in mind?

We have to try to remember that we’re speaking to a well-defined audience — not the whole world, just our world right now. And we need to speak directly to those needs of that audience in a genuine and purposeful way so we can feel confident in being a bona fide socially conscience partner and not just a provider of varied services.

What was the greatest challenge in releasing the final version of this campaign and how did you navigate through it?

In this case, it was the delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We held onto the release of the campaign during the confusing time in March and April and finally concluded in May that the message was appropriate for the times in which we are living. Also, the campaign was being born long before the pandemic hit us, so this wasn’t a knee-jerk response to the current health and social climate. That’s why I feel we were “lucky” with this campaign. When the world suddenly changed, we were “prepared” to reveal our work when the proper space and “opportunity” revealed itself.

What aspect of the campaign makes you the proudest, and why?

I think I’m most proud of the authentic approach this campaign takes to inclusion and diversity. The easy way out would have been to rely on stock video to represent diversity, but we knew that would cheapen the message. And to be honest, the bank at that time, could not truly represent those images in a genuine original way. The metaphor of a wallet is a relatable way to drive home the point that every customer is unique and different, and we are an organization that celebrates those differences, rather than use them to define service. Last, but totally not least, I’m grateful of every single voice that was heard throughout this super-duper-uber collaborative cultural marketing shift. This is not only good work, but it’s the right work and I truly hope it keeps messages like “banking with dignity” and “all inclusive here” at the forefront of what we, Berkshire Bank, is now laying the foundation down for.

#AllWalletsWelcomeHere #AllWallets #BerkshireBank #Diversity #Inclusion

Berkshire Bank is a socially responsible community-dedicated bank with locations primarily in New England and New York empowering your financial potential.