In 2009, Central Pacific Bank (CPB) wanted to honor WWII Nisei veterans, some who helped found CPB, in a meaningful and memorable way. At the same time, the bank wanted to move to recast itself as the bank of the people—literally back to its roots.
“Honoring the Legacy” was created, an exhibit aimed to accomplish five goals:
- Celebrate Hawaii’s veterans through a display of historical memorabilia and a campaign recognizing these humble heroes.
- Serve as a host to surviving members of Hawaii veterans’ groups (442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, Military Intelligence Service, 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion) and the memorabilia they possessed.
- Educate the community and bank employees of the bank’s origins.
- Raise awareness of a unique and inspiring American story with Hawaii ties.
- Help brand CPB’s new ad campaign connecting the bank’s origins to its present-day commitment to customers.
H&P worked with CPB’s internal marketing and ad agency to develop a coordinated rebranding strategy. H&P developed an event media plan, targeted media list and event press kit along with talking points for bank executives. Newsworthy and human-interest elements were crafted from the exhibit as possible stories for media coverage. An expanded invitation list to include community/educational groups and bank clients with interest in or ties to the veteran groups was used.
Attendance for the event exceeded expectations, with standing room only for surviving WWII veterans and family members. Major stories ran in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii Hochi, local television stations (KITV-4, KHON2, KGMB-9, KHNL) and Hawaii Public Radio. Reports highlighted the historical significance of Hawaii’s WWII veterans to CPB’s origins, strengthening CPB’s image as a “people’s bank.” News of the exhibit even reached the social media platform, with interviews appearing online and in blogs.
The exhibit remained in CPB’s main lobby for the year, which educational groups visited. A connection between the veteran groups and the Hawaii Teacher Institute was established to help equip teachers with accurate information when teaching Japanese American history during WWII.