MB Financial Bank / Case Study


The Ask

MB Financial Bank, a regional business bank, wanted to become Chicago’s premier business bank and asked Motion to help with an integrated branding effort to reach business owners.

The Solution

Motion created the “MB Means Business” tagline and a campaign that celebrated the varied reasons business owners run a business, creating a campaign that was powerfully differentiated from the communications of other banks, giving MB a real advantage in the market.

To reach the business owner audience, the campaign included targeted print ads in Chicago institutions like Ravinia and Steppenwolf, business radio sponsorships, television spots on news and sports programming and interactive banners offering unique and desirable content.

Positioning Process

We have an insight-driven process that leads to powerful and successful brands. Through it, we assess a brand’s situation, explore alternative creative directions, get feedback from the marketplace and seek guidance on how to best connect. Here’s how it works:

MB Financial Positioning Process
MB Financial Step 1 SWOT

We start with a perspective of that brand in the marketplace: a Brand Communications Assessment. For that Assessment, we identify not only the weaknesses and threats to a brand, but also its strengths and opportunities. This prompts us to examine a brand in a balanced way.

SWOT Graph
Mb Financial Step 2 Assessment

Positioning Strategies are made of three elements:

1. Insights into the audience,
2. Competitive positions, and
3. The truth about our offering.

We look at each of these using primary data, secondary data, customer information, online offerings and more to help develop and consider Positioning Alternatives.

MB Financial Step 3 Strategy

Positioning Strategies consider the six key ingredients of successful creative:


Area banks that have a focus on mid-sized businesses.


Owners of mid-sized businesses. Averaging 45 – 65 years old. Skewing male.


They have built the businesses they run. While they have become financially successful, that is not why they work. The reasons are more personal and intrinsic: about creating something for which they are proud and responsible.


All banks are very self-focused.


You’ll feel that you’ve found a bank that “gets you.”


MB Financial Bank’s experience with business owners helps us better understand your needs.


We will write as many of these Strategic Directions as we believe are viable and logical. Refining and reducing until we have the directions that the data says are worth exploring.

MB Financial

No customer or prospect ever sees any of the tools we use to communicate with each other about a brand’s direction. Yet a Strategy needs audience feedback. Motion uses alternative Concepts to understand the power of each Strategy so we translate the Strategy into a commonly formatted Concept using a simple visual and user-friendly language. We share these Concepts through one-on-ones, dyads, triads, focus groups, and other qualitative tools. And quantitatively through inexpensive online surveys.

Design Concepts
Design Concepts
Design Concepts
MB Financial Design Concepts
Mb Financial

From the feedback to Concepts, Motion will work to draft a final positioning statement for the brand.

MB Financial Bank Brand Position

For mid-sized business owners whose focus is more than just the bottom line, MB Financial Bank is the financial partner that understands them better than any other bank so they are better able to meet their goals.

The feedback from the Concepts and other data available would drive the development of creative that best expresses the brand while also providing guidance on how to deliver that message.