Vantage West

Client Background

With 150,000 members and $1.9 billion in assets, Tucson-based Vantage West is ranked by the Phoenix Business Journal as the third-largest credit union in the state. Vantage West specializes in helping regional individuals and businesses prosper through careful and strategic financial management and planning. With 19 branches from Tucson and Tombstone to Casa Grande and Greater Phoenix, Vantage West has a distinct and diverse set of target audiences, ranging from students to retirees.

The Challenge

In the 16 years before partnering with WHYFOR, Vantage West had lost their way, lost the confidence of consumers with big financial decisions, lost market share to the big banks due to lack of technology, and lost their ability to connect to the community because they’d lost track of who they are. By their own admission, they “needed an intervention” to create a respected financial brand that connected with consumers – and didn’t just compete on interest rates.

The Tools

The Market Research

The Opportunity

What Vantage West lacked in technology, they made up in service. WHYFOR saw the opportunity to capitalize on the emotional gap between consumers and banks that the financial crisis had created. We needed to move Vantage West across that gap to the consumers—not by selling, but by talking with and relating to them. Communities are made up of people, and Vantage West understood that better than the big-name banks, because they were the community.

The Creative Concept

The answer for Vantage West required finding their voice and developing a brand that could connect to individuals authentically and in ways relevant to their needs. The answer wasn’t in technology; it was in the human connection. WHYFOR’s concept, “You deserve more,” provided the bridge Vantage West needed and became a brand mantra. It was direct, powerful, and poignant. Equally important, it served as the launch pad for a wide range of creative campaigns that connected Vantage West products to specific consumer needs: You deserve more security (financial planning), more flexibility (accounts), and more opportunity (lending). In TV, radio, print, and online formats, the design approach and messaging strategy ranged from serious to playful – always acknowledging the frustrations of typical banking customers, while reassuring them that the Vantage West brand not only offered a product line competitive with big banks, but connected in ways that were far superior.

The Aha Moment

Although WHYFOR helped Vantage West turn a $5 million investment in agency fees and media buys into $500 million, our biggest success was when Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild unexpectedly referenced the campaign during his State of the City address in 2016. 

He noted that he wished more companies were like Vantage West, speaking about how the city’s residents deserved more as a community.