Community Crises And Community Solutions
Starting in 2016, plunging global oil prices and reduced output from Alaska oil fields shrank state coffers and a massive budget deficit loomed over Alaska. Financial institutions, think tanks and the business community rallied to educate the public about this crisis.
Northrim, already deeply involved in the local business community, knew small business owners were aware of the impending economic storm. Northrim also understood that many concerned businesspeople, busy running day-to-day operations, couldn’t take time away from their work to focus on developing a plan to succeed in a new economic climate. They needed someone to provide guidance, advice, tools and confidence.
While others were in a wait and see mentality, Northrim stepped forward as a true leader in the community – offering to assess and prepare the business community (not just its customers) to proactively weather this economic storm.
They asked Spawn Ideas to help them spread the word of their efforts.
The Tools to Thrive
Unlike other financial institutions in the market, Northrim is a true Alaska bank, which was founded on the heels of the 1980’s recession. This first-hand experience of tough economic times meant Northrim was uniquely positioned to respond quickly to local market challenges.
If Northrim could help make it easy for business owners to assess their strengths and weaknesses, the bank could quickly help concerned business owners create a plan to weather the storm. And with the right plan, Alaska businesses might not just survive troubled economic times, but actually thrive.
We called the ensuing campaign SurThrival.
Shifting Mindsets from Thought to Actions
The bank’s SurThrival campaign moved small business audiences from a daily, short-term focused producing mode to an important planning mode, with an online assessment tool that helped them assess financial and other business operations readiness.
Completion of tool’s questionnaire led to a custom SurThrival report and a follow up by a Northrim small business officer, who arranged a face-to-face meeting to help business executives create a SurThrival plan.
Northrim also hosted free SurThrival Training seminars monthly, led by experts in wide-ranging business operations areas, to offer guidance, advice, tools and much-needed confidence.
Continuing the Community Outreach
After the initial launch, Northrim selected three business verticals, either predicted to thrive or to need help to survive the tough economy. Spawn tailored a direct mail campaign to each of these targets, which was sent to business leaders and CFOs. Mailings were followed by a visit from a Northrim officer who delivered coffee, cookies or pizza – something any busy business owner would appreciate.
This promoted friendly discussion of the Alaska economy and how their business could be prepared, with the goal being a later meeting to deepen the relationship.
Building Community and Business Results
The SurThrival campaign efforts reached thousands of business owners in Alaska, helping the community and bringing in more than 100 new business accounts. It also resulted in $7 million in deposits and $8 million in loans for Northrim Bank.