Andrew Hayes Of Fifth Third Bank: I Was Born To Do What I Do

Many people go through life not knowing what they are called to do.  They work a job with no passion, but merely for a paycheck.

For Andrew Hayes, he has known since he started his professional career at Edelman PR Worldwide that marketing and public relations (PR) was his calling.  “What I tell people is I was born to do what I do,” explains Andrew Hayes, Regional Director of Marketing for Fifth Third Bank.  “I lead the bank’s marketing and public relations for the Midwest region, that’s Illinois and Indiana.  [I] have been in this vocation for 20 some years, and again, it really is my purpose in life, my mission in life, on par with my professional vocation.”

After developing his skills for a few years at Edelman, Hayes wanted to be the master of his own destiny and opened a public relations and marketing firm.  The Maximum Profile Group grew to 20 employees over 10 years with clients that included Chicago restaurants, Children’s Place Association, Celebrity Chair Auction, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke Medical Center (Breast Cancer Research), MTV Real World Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, and many others.  

His company was thriving with many major not-for-profit accounts and unexpectedly, tragedy struck our nation.  “And then 911 happened and that really changed the face of my company and my business because we were focused on not-for-profits and outdoor special events, two sectors that were had hit by 911 because of cuts in both state and federal funding,” recalls Hayes.  

Having established a stellar reputation, it wasn’t long before Hayes was courted by Braid Warner, a local real estate firm, to come in and create its first in-house public relations position.  As he had done in the past, Hayes developed a nationally recognized program, Make a Difference Day, which won one of seven national awards from the Paul Newman Foundation and USA Today Magazine for getting all their employees to participate in a national volunteer initiative.  

Being a proficient marketer and creating quality initiatives gets you noticed and Hayes was spotted by the NBC television brass and asked to lead public relations for a national daytime television talk show based in Chicago that led to a position on Telemundo Chicago as the director of media and community relations.  During this time he earned an Emmy Award for the community affairs program Hablando Claro (Speaking Clearly).

Never straying from his passion, Hayes continues to do what he loves.  Leading marketing and public relations for Fifth Third Bank’s Midwest Region, he and his team have found a niche among the big banks in Chicago.  Hayes explains, “For us, our marketing strategy is to differentiate ourselves based on our commitment and our investment in community. My team and I look for partners and sponsorships and events occurring in the area where we can enjoy face-to-face contact with prospects and their clients in the community and really demonstrate that we are committed to their respective communities.”

One nonprofit research organization Fifth Third has decided to partner with is Stand Up for Cancer.  Fifth Third has raised and donated over six million dollars for cancer research in four years. “Knowing that the face of cancer and the effects of cancer at the end of the day, it will be research that will help change that and create and find cures and better treatments for those who have been impacted by cancer,” states Hayes.

That program is just one way Hayes and his marketing team helps to differentiate the bank from its competitors.  Another is through a program Hayes help to pilot for Fifth Third. Honoring Our Veterans allows the bank to partner with local veteran and military organizations, servicing them and their constituents. This effort has raised and donated over half a million dollars to fund scholarships for family members of soldiers wounded or killed in action.

They have also focused on hunger.  Fifth Third is going to donate community gardens to two schools in the area to help children learn more about nutrition and educate them on healthy eating. “I’m a firm believer that if you teach someone how to fish then they will have a lifetime of success as opposed to just giving them a meal,” says Hayes.  “My challenge is finding unique ways of meeting need in our community that also gets the bank noticed and awareness of the bank’s commitment.”

One of the most unique ways Fifth Third has found to get noticed by potential customers is at the Auto Show.  For the past four years they were a leading sponsor of the First Look for Charity event that donates to 18 charities throughout the city raising $2.7 million dollars in 2016.  This year, Fifth Third also had a major presence with their remote banking center.  “We had a team of bankers on site every day of the Auto Show, talking to Auto Show guests about their banking needs or interests, and opened over 500 accounts on site.”

Banking has and will continue to evolve over the next ten to twenty years.  There has been a decline in traffic in banking centers and people are turning to banking on mobile devices and computers, explains Hayes.  “As a result, the challenge is how do we stay in front of consumers so that we can get their consideration when they are looking for a new bank or they want to change banks.”

My guest, the man who was born to be a marketer will continue to devise unique and creative ways for the bank to fulfill its mission of community involvement.  

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