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Beneficial State Bank: from Crisis Management to Driven Media Success

Focus Areas: Social equity, Environmental sustainability, Shared prosperity

"We brought on EMC Communications just in time to guide us through a trifecta of media challenges. One of our co-founders was running for president, we were reimagining our brand identity, and Covid-19 was about to hit us. EMC was a calming and steady guiding force through it all, helping us be strategic and selective about when and how we engaged. In parallel to our responsive activities, EMC also directed a number of proactive media strategies, setting us up to be more resilient and prepared for the occasional controversy. 2020 has been quite a trek. I can’t imagine how we would have navigated the treacherous media and communications landscape without Erin and the EMC team.”


Beneficial State Bank is a purpose-driven community bank with a triple bottom-line focus on social equity, environmental sustainability, and prosperity for all. However, having never had a concerted public relations function or partner, the bank’s values were not known broadly. This presented challenges when the bank’s co-founder, Tom Steyer, ran for president and the political opposition came out of the woodwork, looking to discredit anything even remotely tied to the candidate. The bank needed crisis communications management, a concerted thought leadership effort, and a PR campaign to bring the bank’s tremendous good work into the spotlight.

Results So Far

  • Crisis communications training and protocols for executive leadership, including a handbook the bank uses as a guide whenever necessary
  • More than 100 media hits in seven months
  • A significantly raised profile with regional and national media, which now come to the bank for expert comment on issues surrounding small business lending, values-based banking and more
  • Development of numerous spokespeople for the bank
  • A more streamlined, efficient process for both internal and external communications
  • A measurably enhanced brand image for the bank via prolonged, proactive PR with consistent messaging targeting each key audience


EMC Communications provided crisis communications support and instated a proactive public relations campaign, boosting the bank’s brand affinity with customers, potential customers, partners, advocates, it’s community stakeholders, and the media.


Running multiple simultaneous campaigns, we zeroed in on messages that highlight the bank’s real-time work to address three overlapping crises in 2020: climate, racism, and Covid-19. From Paycheck Protection Program lending to BIPOC and women-owned small businesses, to divestment from extractive industries, the campaigns each showcased elements of Beneficial State Bank’s brand value through the strategies it employs to meet its racial, economic, gender, environmental, and social justice goals.


EMC Communications’ intervention transformed Beneficial State Bank’s public relations approach, moving it from a defensive stance to a proactive and strategic one. This shift not only helped the bank navigate a challenging political and social landscape but also significantly enhanced its brand image and media presence, aligning its public profile with its core values and mission.