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TCF Bank


The merger between TCF Bank Minneapolis and Chemical Bank Detroit created a need to mindfully integrate two cultures into a “new TCF” while ensuring employees were engaged and informed. The CEO recognized that corporate mergers often overlook the importance of human capital and he didn’t want that to happen. He needed to keep employees engaged, informed, and advocating for the transition. On paper the two banks balance each other financially so the merger made sense; however each regional bank had distinctively different clients and processes to serve its clients and that forced different processes, procedures, and cultures to adhere to each bank’s offerings. When the banks merged, there was an added emphasis on keeping morale high, educating one another on their strengths, balancing weaknesses, and coming together as a cohesive bank. This helped ease tensions about the merger and highlighted the people who made growth possible by giving them a voice, from new brand positioning to internal and external brand perception

  • Strategy/Focus Groups
  • Branding
  • Employee Engagement
  • Campaign Development



A merger between TCF Bank and Chemical Bank required both parties to reevaluate mission, vision, values, and the overall brand expression in order to align and integrate the two very different cultures. Our work defined the brand expression and applied it to a communications strategy and execution informed and engaged the “new TCF Bank.”


TCF Bank and Chemical Bank brought different assets to the merger that made financial sense, but their corporate cultures and brand expressions were very different – basically merging an agricultural culture with an automotive culture. Aligning two confident, independent executive teams and their employees at every level was the overarching challenge.

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With the executive teams, senior management teams, and a key group of influencers within each bank, we discovered the strong similarities between the cultures, capitalized on them, and brought alignment within the transition executive team where both banks could authentically express the new brand in their own voices. Involving key personnel at all levels along the process developed trust within both organizations and created a strong grassroots, internal advocate group that assisted in the distribution of information.

Mission/Vision/Values: With our information gathering, alongside the work Accenture compiled, we were able to take quotes verbatim from both TCF Bank and Chemical Bank employees that represented the interests of both entities.

Employee Engagement Strategy: With input from HR directors and the Chief Human Resources Officer, we created materials that empowered employees of both banks to participate in the merger and become the main representation of what would move things forward.

Campaign Development: We took the vision of TCF Bank’s CEO Craig Dahl and turned it into the “I Am One” campaign, highlighting employees as the face of the new bank.

Video: Video content was created using real employees, real stories, and a real representation of what makes both banks great: the people. Stories and themes were meant to help transition the banks into a new era of putting people first.

Creative: Application of the creative campaign made its way to employee swag and in-branch signage elevating TCF Bank’s new corporate culture, encouraging employee retention, and driving new employee acquisition.

I felt like I had a voice when we were coming together. It’s like I’m part of the brand.

– TCF Employee
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TCF Bank’s new mission, vision, and values were implemented on legal day #1 with the videos used to highlight top performers at the bank, leading to 80% employee engagement in the new brand at launch.


If you read this whole case study you might just be managing a brand looking to be the next thing. Maybe even creating your own category. Either way we’d love to talk so it’s probably in your best interest to just get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.