By Jack Riley
As the marketing guy at Fifth Third I take my share of grief about this curious name we have for our bank. I have heard all of the jokes…like the one about how we didn’t we learn how to do fractions in school …and theories on the origin of the name related to the location of our Bancorp headquarters – on the corner of 5th Avenue and 3rd Street in Cincinnati.
So each year when we are approaching May 3 I justifiably revel in sweet revenge because I know that I have something to celebrate that no other bank in town can replicate…our own day…5/3 on the calendar. We call it, “Fifth Third Day.”
It’s a day when we celebrate our customers, colleagues and community.
This year we narrowed our focus for Fifth Third Day community outreach to “Feeding Our Communities.” We are partnering with Forgotten Harvest to provide Fifth Third employees with volunteer opportunities. In addition, we have a program we use to raise funds for causes called the Shield of Recognition. Employees can purchase these shields for any donation and send them to another employee who they may want to recognize for doing something over and above to help them out. The Bank matches Shield sales donations on a 3-1 basis.
Like so many of our quasi holidays that that build from grass roots participation, Fifth Third Day has taken on a life of its own. Our employees thought we were a little over the top 11 years ago when we started a 53-day countdown to Fifth Third Day by listing all the reasons why we love Fifth Third Bank. I’m sure they felt a little odd wearing the buttons we produced for them that read, “Ask me what’s so special about May 3rd.”’
But you could see the tide turn and curiosity transform to enthusiasm when employees were provided small tokens of appreciation with which to thank their customers. They saw an activity schedule for Fifth Third Day week that included employee volunteer opportunities, big check presentations to community based non profits and celebrations in each of our branch locations. Our employees finally realized the objective of Fifth Third Day…to honor our customers, communities and colleagues…the three C’s of Fifth Third Day.
As Fifth Third Day has evolved we have used our “holiday” to hold a special quarterly Leadership Meeting where all of our employees who lead teams come together for a multimedia-based, “rally the troops” extravaganza. This also includes our annual appearance on the Paul W. Smith show with our President David Girodat and Employee Involvement Grant presentations awarded to nonprofits where our employees volunteer, thus encouraging employee volunteerism.
Even as we’ve refined our tactics over the years for executing Fifth Third Day, we have never wavered from the Bank’s core objective of celebrating who we are starting with our employees, customers, and the communities we serve. Giving back in this way has helped to shape the culture at Fifth Third Bank.
So yeah, Fifth Third is an unusual name but for a marketing person it is the platform for a special day that has a wonderful effect on our three C’s, our colleagues, customers, communities. That’s Fifth Third Day.
Oh, and for the record…the name Fifth Third came about over 100 years ago when the Fifth National Bank of Ohio merged with the Third National Bank of Ohio. They obviously didn’t have creative marketing guys around at the time to come up with a slick new name.