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First California Bank

Unifying culture and integrating acquisitions.

First California Bank (FCB) is a 35-year old bank with branches through Southern California and a focus on commercial banking. With ambitious goals to triple the Bank’s assets, the Bank sought a refreshed brand strategy to increase awareness and understanding of an expanded brand promise. Additionally, the Bank hoped to unify an internal culture that had recently integrated several acquisitions.

Extensive research with FCB’s current customers, employees and target market showed that the Bank’s dominant traits were its financial strength and stability, and its reputation for honesty and integrity. Additionally, an in-depth market map identified a market segment of small- to medium-sized businesses with high growth potential and a need for the kind of business savvy that FCB’s knowledgeable bankers were poised to meet. This combination of admirable traits – stability, integrity and business expertise – formed the basis of a powerful brand promise that squarely challenged the impersonal, inexpert offerings of larger national banks.

As part of the new positioning, BrandingBusiness created a BrandLine to help carry the new brand forward. The BrandLine, “Higher Ground,” refers in part to FCB’s fiscal stability. But beyond that, it references the partnerships that the Bank forms with its clients, allowing them to grow their businesses and increase their net worth. FCB helps its customers reach “Higher Ground” – a financially stable and superior position where their businesses can grow and prosper.

The focused First California Bank brand helped create value and a solidified look and feel for the $1.8 billion bank. After being acquired by Pacific Western Bank in 2013, components of the strong FCB positioning are reflected in a revitalized brand for Pacific Western.

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