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Insights Leadership

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Strengthening your brand during times of transition

Rita Dias June 08, 2021
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The Elephant in the Room is an ongoing series of insights where thought leaders and experts reflect on ideas and trends shaping our world. The metaphorical ‘Elephant in the Room’ draws attention to issues and challenges of today, inviting conversation to effect positive change for the future.


The classic Rule of Seven states that it takes at least seven interactions with your brand for a prospect to convert into a customer. In this digital age, that number is even higher with the average person being exposed to a considerably larger number of marketing messages across multiple touchpoints. 

When you add a global pandemic into the mix, more challenges arise. Budgets need to be even more judicious and efficient, and rapid changes in media consumption require a versatile and agile approach to targeting. Alongside these external factors, many organizations are undergoing significant internal change as they evolve their value proposition to support growth opportunities or pivot to address pressing needs during COVID. 

How do you sustain your brand in this period of unprecedented disruption, and continue to reinforce and distinguish its value in the market?

Symcor has been undergoing a company-wide transformation, leveraging our foundational expertise in support of future opportunities. While COVID may have thrown a few curveballs, our marketing formula during this time is driven by three key elements: message, media, and a pinch of moxie.

Evolve the message to support future growth

Symcor’s first campaign in 2019 spoke from the ‘what if’ perspective, teasing the audience to imagine what digital transformation could be. 

Requiring an end-to-end modification of business systems and processes, digital transformation is often a large undertaking, potentially lumbering and unwieldy. What better way to bring these elements to life than through creative that showcases an elephant to represent ‘digital transformation’. 

With Symcor’s second marketing campaign, launched in October 2020, we wanted to continue to build Symcor’s brand awareness and inspire action to learn more about its industry-wide solutions. 

We built on the head-snap creative from our first campaign and evolved our messaging from a ‘what if’ perspective, to a ‘can do’ viewpoint.

The elephant was portrayed in fictitious situations to illustrate Symcor’s differentiators: as a rocket to demonstrate how Symcor can accelerate digital transformation; in a limbo scene, indicating that digital transformation costs could be lower than expected; and held securely on a trapeze to show that digital transformation can be trusted.


With Symcor’s current marketing campaign, we streamlined the 3 distinct storylines into one tight narrative that showcases the company’s core value. Symcor can offer the best of both worlds – the strength and confidence associated with banks and the agility that typically accompanies FinTechs. The streamlined messaging underpins not only current products and services, but also lays the groundwork for future areas of growth.

Symcor offers the best of both worlds – Bank Strong and FinTech Agile. To learn more, visit:

Explore new media options with an open mind and a blank slate

When the pandemic hit, marketing professionals had to take a step back and evaluate which media channels would work best in an environment where baseline data and past results were now largely irrelevant. As patterns shifted repeatedly, Symcor stayed close to the changing media consumption habits of our target audience and studied data-driven insights to identify emerging trends. 

Marketing channels such as in-airport advertising, which had proven tried and true in reaching our target audience in the past, were no longer viable during this time when travel was severely restricted. At certain points in the pandemic, TV news had a large viewership. At other times, consumers suffered from information fatigue and news channels saw a dip in viewership.

Symcor utilized the data that was available for this new and ever-changing world, coupled it with knowledge of our target audience and employed a ‘test and learn’ approach for channels that had not been used in the past, but held high-potential in the evolving market. From there, we optimized channels that were performing well while quickly pivoting from those that were not. We relied on fulsome data that was acted upon quickly and decisively and discovered successful media channels that may not have been considered in a more ‘normal’ world.

Have the courage to leap when opportunity appears

Success during this extraordinary time requires increased agility to take advantage of opportunities. Depending on the channel, marketing campaigns are typically finalized well in advance, leaving little room for improvisation. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to embrace change and to pivot quickly. 

Take sports advertising, for example. During COVID, the National Hockey League playoffs and finals were a moving target, with many variables that could affect final timing, yet we knew this channel held a high penetration of our target audience. Rather than formulating a structured, immovable campaign, we created a plan centred around our best-case scenario. We identified a series of assessment points at which we had to make key decisions. This allowed us to flex if opportunities arose and channel our spend into an active plan that briskly optimized market changes.

Through it all, never lose sight of your most important brand advocates

No matter what changes are occurring internally or externally, an organization’s employees are its most trusted and credible brand advocates.  As a marketing team, we are energized by the passion and the pride that Symcor employees across Canada bring to their work. We endeavour to keep them invested in our marketing journey, by sharing sneak-peeks of our campaigns before they hit the market, and by turning the spotlight on the talent within the organization to reinforce their immense contribution.

The innate connection between a brand and its audience needs to be continually nurtured and strengthened. This holds true for both internal and external audiences and is more vital than ever during times of change. 


Rita Dias

Vice President Marketing & Corporate Communications

Rita Dias joined Symcor as Vice President of Marketing and Communications in 2018. Rita has been responsible for elevating Symcor’s brand awareness within the industry, promoting its market leadership, and advancing lead generation. Under Rita’s leadership, Symcor has been the recipient of industry awards, including the Summit International Marketing Effectiveness Award. Rita’s extensive experience in financial services and loyalty includes roles at Mastercard, Points International and Air Canada. Rita holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a specialization in Marketing from the University of Toronto. She has vastly expanded her list of interests during COVID to include gardening, running and (so much) baking.

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