First State Bank


First State Bank of Ohio has been serving its rural communities since 1884. Firmly rooted in faith, family, service and relationships, the bank was known in its legacy markets to be friendly, caring, responsible, hardworking and deeply committed to community involvement. Because of its values, longevity and stability, the bank is recognized and highly trusted. However, as the bank’s geographic footprint expanded, much of the brand equity seen in legacy markets has not translated to newer markets. Additional competition, a lack of awareness, a more separated workforce and inconsistent communication has resulted in less equity and considerably less awareness in growth markets. It was time for First State Bank to evolve its brand identity, establish a cohesive brand structure and system, improve communications both externally and internally, and increase awareness in newer markets.


Our brand discovery revealed equity in the name First State Bank, but the logo needed to be updated to keep pace with the changing times and to be more recognizable. The core values—or beliefs of the bank—are messages that could be communicated to the marketplace in a way that is very relevant. The tagline “Built on belief” became a natural rally cry to focus the entire organization in the right direction and on the right message. This is a bank that believes in the power and potential of rural communities, faith, family, doing the right thing, and building up customers, communities and each other. It was time to tell their story.


By defining the bank’s brand, visual identity, messaging and brand experience—and by unifying the internal team—the bank has emerged with a new image and clarity of purpose. This clarity allows a consistent, compelling and relevant story to be told in all markets. It’s an exciting time to be part of First State Bank. As cultures, markets and customers change, the bank is evolving to ensure that employees, customers and communities are reaching their full potential. With the energy and momentum of a fresh brand, the bank has the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on the people and places it serves and begin another 100 years of growth and success.