B2B Lender CIT Breaks First Wave of Ads

by , Feb 28, 2007, 5:01 AM
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It's not all about the money. When it comes to selling financial services to growing mid-sized businesses, what also matters is chemistry and smarts.

At least that's the basis of a global brand campaign, tagged "Capital Redefined," which breaks this week for CIT Group. The B2B campaign stems from research that showed executives were eight times more likely to cite "strong customer relations" and "having employees who deeply understand their business/industry" over "a strong balance sheet." CIT delivers customized financing across some 30 industries.

To "deepen" its relationship with customers, CIT will sponsor advertorials, networking events and webinars in conjunction with Conde Nast Media Group. The featured personality of its first advertorial in Wired, Golf Digest and The New Yorker and a subsequent event in March is 36-year-old fashion designer and CIT customer Marc Ecko. He will be taped before an audience of CIT-invited guests. An edited version of the event will be posted to a Web site promoted on both the CIT and Conde Nast sites.

The campaign is the first major brand initiative since Jeffrey Peek became chairman in 2005, according to CIT senior vice president/director of brand management Teri James, and reflects Peek's aim to raise CIT's profile as the lender of choice among CFOs. It also is the first work from Kirshenbaum & Bond since the New York shop was hired last fall by CIT and bows this week with multi-page inserts in The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, CFO and Fortune.

The ads seek to engage so-called "c-suite" executives in both expected places, such as financial publications, and at unexpected times: while listening to the radio in a car or flipping through a favored lifestyle magazine. Two radio spots will air exclusively on the Bloomberg Radio Network, reaching both new customers and the high concentration of CIT employees who work in the New York market.

" 'Capital Redefined' is based on what we do best--deliver relationship capital, intellectual capital and financial capital to our customers," said Peek in a statement. "We know the middle market and understand that our customers expect more then just 'traditional financing'."

A second wave of print and interactive ads, some running concurrently with the launch ads, will feature bold headlines such as, "It's Time Potential Became a Line on a Balance Sheet" and "If All Your Bank Gives You Is Money, Give It Back."

The third wave of print ads will highlight real-life examples, or testimonials, on how CIT has redefined capital. One of those testimonials features the father and son of a now multigenerational business.

CIT was founded in 1908 in St. Louis as Commercial Credit and Investment Co. It originally financed receivables, then moved to New York in 1915 to provide auto financing for Studebakers and later Ford Motor Co.'s Model T. Under Peek in more recent years, CIT has built up M&A banking, moved into film financing, and expanded into Asia and Europe.

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