Moving #OnUp: 5 Questions With SunTrust Bank’s Corinne Cuthbertson


SunTrust Bank #onup

A brand can launch a marketing campaign or elevate it into a movement, which is why SunTrust Bank is as excited promoting #onUp, its “financial well-being” platform today as it was in February when it was the subject of  SunTrust’s first Super Bowl ad, which ran during Super Bowl 50 this year.

With a 30-second spot called “Hold Your Breath,” SunTrust dramatized the lack of confidence many Americans feel in their abilities to understand and navigate financial actions such as obtaining a mortgage or reducing debt. The spot then invited Big Game viewers to, where SunTrust provides vast content and helpful resources aimed at giving visitors the financial know-how and confidence to tackle such important topics.

Super Bowl SunTrust On Up

“We’ve actually achieved more than 300,000 individuals joining the movement,” Corinne Cuthbertson, senior vice president of brand advertising and digital marketing for SunTrust, told brandchannel. “We’re really providing people with the information and resources to start their financial journey and be able to do it in small steps.”

Cuthbertson, who reports to SunTrust CMO Susan Somersille Johnson, serves as the company’s brand strategist overseeing SunTrust direct marketing, advertising, marketing communications, promotions, digital marketing and social media teams. Previously NCR’s vice president of corporate marketing, she has also been director of marketing for Nokia and began her career at Telstra, in her birthplace of Canada.

The campaign also ties into SunTrusts tagline—”dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for its clients and communities”—and is today one of America’s largest financial services organizations, .

We asked Cuthbertson for more insights on turning an ad campaign into a purpose-driven movement.

SunTrust Super Bowl 50 ad

brandchannel: What kind of results did you get from the Super Bowl ad?

Corinne CuthbertsonCorinne Cuthbertson (right): It gave us a place to start a national conversation. It’s been successful for us.

We had more than 20,000 visitors to within the first two minutes after the ad aired. On game day as a whole, we had more than 38,000 people come. We achieved more than 10 million social-media impressions. People responded positively to our  message.

But the Super Bowl ad was just the start to our integrated campaign, and we continued the momentum. We’ve had cinema, high-impact digital, out-of-home, native advertising, direct mail, paid search, PR and more.

bc: What does people connecting with the notion of easing their financial anxiety do for the SunTrust brand?

Cuthbertson: We’re wanting to start a conversation about financial confidence, and we want people to be optimistic, to encourage people to move forward. That’s what SunTrust is all about. We’re a purpose-driven company. We’re always looking for ways to reach people and educate them. This is a national conversation, and we’re trying to reach a broad cross-section across the country and inspire people to take a step forward. At the end of the day, some of them may become SunTrust clients.

bc: How are you dimensionalizing the On Up movement?

Cuthbertson: We are using all of our touchpoints. We’ve infused our purpose-driven message at and through all of our social media and activations, and we’re trying to help people understand that they’re not alone when it comes to lacking financial self-confidence.

We launched a series of videos titled “Better Together,” on social media, showing different people and where they are in their journeys and how they’re taking steps to move forward. OnUp is the external articulation of our purpose and action.

bc: What have you discovered that surprised you?

Cuthbertson: I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise, but something that helped us get a better feel for the movement is that at the end of June, we launched a sweepstakes. Until August 31, 25 people will get the chance to win the amount of their monthly mortgage, auto or student-loan payments for an entire year, so they can get an opportunity to take a step back and really focus on their financial confidence journey.

They’re joining the OnUp movement as well. They need to post on social media, such as Instagram photos of what it would allow them to achieve if they actually won the sweepstakes, such as spending more time with loved ones, or not having to sell all their worldly goods to make their loan payment.

bc: Do you plan to advertise again in the Super Bowl?

Cuthbertson: We can’t comment on the Super Bowl. But throughout the rest of the year, we have a variety of activities planned for the marketplace. For example, we have launched a financial fitness program for companies. We know it works — we launched it last year with our own [employees] with great success (and) it helped them develop positive financial habits. More than 13,000 of them have participated and 75 percent say they’re on a path to greater financial well-being. Now we’re rolling this out to other companies, should they choose to participate.

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