South State Bank

When a variety of financial institutions joined forces to create the largest community bank in South Carolina, they turned to us to build the new brand, from the ground up.

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South Carolina Bank and Trust (SCBT) and First Federal, two of the largest community banks in South Carolina, merged to create the largest community bank in South Carolina. While it was only two banks, the merger involved five banking brands and a few investment company brands, all committed to retaining their community banking roots and benefits, while understanding that at the new scale and projected growth, it would be increasingly difficult to do so.

Given this challenge and the desire to build a strong, long-lasting brand, SCBT and First Federal partnered with us to help create its new corporate identity, including name, logo and brand positioning.

Due to an accelerated timeline, our teams worked concurrently to develop and present creative options. The brand strategy team began this with a robust discovery phase, including understanding the growing competitive landscape and interviewing business leaders from all of the Bank’s brands to inform the positioning. In conjunction with the brand strategy team, our researchers conducted a quantitative study with current and potential customers across the Bank’s geographic footprint. At the same time as brand strategy development and research, our verbal and visual teams developed a new name and logo, complete with robust trademark screening as the Bank anticipated growth and multiple presentations to the Executive team and Board of Directors.

Bank leadership wanted a name that sounded grounded in history and spoke to the heritage of the collective organization. In the end, the name “South State Bank” was chosen. Following this decision, our designers created an icon representing the double “S” in the Bank’s new brand as well as a logo that utilizes a strong blue and warm yellow color palette to help the Bank differentiate itself (or its identity) in a crowded market. The visual team then developed stationery, PowerPoint templates, brand guidelines and debit card designs for South State Bank.