First Charter Names First Agency

Steedman Communications Is the Choice of Charlotte-Area Bank
ATLANTA–First Charter, a community bank with assets of $1.8 billion and an eye on expanding its presence in the greater Charlotte, N.C., metropolitan market, has assigned its advertising account to Steedman Communications.
Account billings are expected to exceed $1 million annually, according to agency partner Barry Wilson.
Steedman Communications of Charlotte will develop and implement the bank’s marketing strategy, including print, radio and television advertising.
First Charter, based in the Charlotte suburb of Concord, N.C., chose Steedman Communications after a review of five local agencies. Others shops pitching the bank’s account were DeWald & Associates of Davidson, N.C., and three Charlotte shops: Corder Phillips & Wilson, The Marketing Consortium and Sterrett Dymond Stewart Advertising.
In a statement, Kevin Toomb, the bank’s director of marketing, said Steedman Communications’ creative skills and financial industry experience made the difference.
Part of that category experience is Wilson, who joined Steedman Communications last summer after early career stops at Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Price/McNabb in Charlotte, where he worked with two other prominent North Carolina-based banks, Wa-chovia and Centura, respectively.
“When Toni [Steedman] and I formed our partnership, First Charter was at the top of our new client prospect list,” Wilson told Adweek. “From my experience . . . I recognized [the bank is] becoming a player.”
First Charter, which has roughly doubled its size in the past year, is currently rated the sixth-largest bank in its home state.
Prior to hiring Steedman Communications, the Charlotte bank has only utilized freelancers and limited its advertising and marketing efforts to brochures.
“They’ve never done TV, never done a branding campaign,” said Wilson. “One of the really exciting aspects of this account is that we’re going to be able to compete with some of the biggest names in the industry right here in their own backyard.”