Truist named Vinoo Vijay its new chief marketing officer last week, a role previously held by Susan Somersille Johnson, who left to take up the CMO position at Prudential Financial last month.
Vijay joins the bank after holding previous marketing roles at H&R Block, TD Bank, Ally Financial, Bank of America and FedEx.
As he transitions into his new role, much of Truist's branding groundwork has already been laid.
The bank, which was formed after the merger between BB&T and SunTrust was approved last November, unveiled its new logo and purple color scheme in January, part of a $125 million endeavor, the bank said in a court filing in May.
Truist spent $7 million to create the new name; $4 million for it to be approved by regulators and shareholders; $40 million to configure operating systems to reflect the new brand; and another $75 million in marketing, according to the filing.
The bank worked with global brand consultancy Interbrand on both the name and design.
"We have established our brand identity, and it's distinctive," Vijay said. "It's very clear that we are a different kind of institution. We're using a color that is unique. We're using an identity that's very modern, and we're using a palette that's extremely consistent. You can look anywhere that we're using the Truist name and it's just our level of consistency and our use is just phenomenal."
As Vijay takes over the company's marketing and branding efforts, he said his biggest challenge will be in aligning the Truist brand with the company's narrative.
"At this point, our real work is putting on the layers of the narrative to give that identity the fullness of its intention," he said. "That runs the gamut from continuing our advertising work and our presence in communities and reinforcing the products and services we have and creating the experiences that support it."
The challenge facing many marketers at the moment, Vijay added, is marketing their company's mission during a time when millions of Americans are facing financial hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"All of us have a different emotional state in a time like this, and we have to recognize that when we're communicating with our customers and teammates, and when we're engaging in the community," he said. "We have to meet the moment where it is and that means ensuring that our tone and our narrative fits where all of us are as a community."
In March, the company launched its Truist Cares initiative, a $50 million program aimed at providing resources for communities and small businesses struggling amid the pandemic.
"[Truist Cares] is our entryway into the story of what we're doing today, and you'll continue to see work that we do in-market that reinforces it," he said.
The bank crossed a major marketing milestone in January, when the name of SunTrust Park in Atlanta was changed to Truist Park, reflecting the stadium sponsor's new corporate identity following the merger.
When Atlanta-based SunTrust bought the naming rights for the ballpark in 2017, the company spent a reported $10 million as part of the 25-year deal.
But as sporting events across the country take place without fans in the stands, sponsors aren't getting the usual exposure from their stadium deals.
"I think a lot of the things that we do in sports and events are about bringing communities together. Sports and entertainment is a big part of that," Vijay said. "Obviously, there are challenges in the moment, which make it more difficult to leverage the utility of it, but there'll be a long-term need and a desire for us to be part of the communities we serve."
However, a major task lies in rebranding locations as Truist.
"The transition is happening as we speak," Vijay said, adding the branch rebranding will take place over the next eight to 10 months.
The company has already started unveiling the first phase of its "blended branches," which offer SunTrust and BB&T services, a bank spokesperson said.