Triad Financial case study - subprime auto finance company reinvents itself

Branding & Marketing for a Subprime Auto Lender in Transition

Meet the Client

Founded in 1989, Triad Financial was one of the largest subprime auto lenders in the country. In 2008, the company refocused its business on servicing vehicle loans through customer care, collections, asset remarketing and loss recovery.

Triad offers the financial strength of approximately $2.5 billion in managed receivables. The company serviced more than a million collateralized loans across the full credit spectrum during its last 10 years alone. Triad is headquartered in North Richland Hills, Texas, with a regional office in Huntington Beach, California.

Their Objectives

Triad was a company in transition. Previously a major player in the subprime auto finance market, Triad was reorganizing as a third-party loan servicer due to liquidity and funding challenges.

The company was also moving its headquarters from California to Texas, a decision resulting in lost jobs. Communication challenges prevailed at every angle.

In the midst of these tough times, Triad sought out a boutique marketing firm to serve as an extension of its corporate communications department. In addition, this agency would provide marketing and public relations services for Triad's new remarketing and third-party loan servicing programs.

The Partnership

Triad's senior vice president of portfolio management hired The Satterfield Agency after working with Jessica Satterfield-Reyna internally at AmeriCredit.

The Satterfield Agency partnered closely with the SVP and Triad's director of corporate communications on all projects. The director's position was eliminated when the company headquarters moved to Texas, and Jessica Satterfield-Reyna assumed her responsibilities.

During the last half of the partnership, The Satterfield Agency acted as Triad's corporate communications and marketing departments, frequently consulting with the CEO and other executive management to direct messaging.

Our Strategies

Due to the transitional nature of Triad's corporate culture, The Satterfield Agency centered its approach on flexibility and sensitivity. Many exciting developments required communication, such as the new remarketing and third-party loan servicing programs. However, in the midst of constant change, numerous employees lost their jobs, breeding uncertainty among the remaining team.

Our role also transitioned from an external agency supporting an internal communications leader to absorbing that leader's responsibilities and becoming the primary communications contact when her position was eliminated.

In this unpredictable environment, we abided by three philosophical strategies: 1) Adapt quickly to meet the client's needs, which may be different today than yesterday; 2) Acknowledge and respect the negative impact that change may have on some employees; and 3) Maintain a reassuring, positive outlook for the current team, helping them stay focused on securing a brighter future.

Our Solutions

The Satterfield Agency produced and launched the brand identity for Triad's new vehicle remarketing program, Trademark by Triadâ„¢. We facilitated creation of the program name and tag line; designed logos, stickers and branding standards manual; and produced a folder of marketing materials and electronic templates for each auction to use when promoting the program.

When Triad decided to focus solely on loan servicing, The Satterfield Agency led the hefty task of rebranding the company from an auto loan originator to a third-party servicer. This included an in-depth creative brief and competitor analysis to guide the marketing strategy. We facilitated the development of a tag line and produced all marketing collateral, including trade show booth, brochure, fliers, PowerPoint template, posters, promotional coupons and targeted email campaigns.

Most importantly, we leveraged the reach of industry media to get the word out about Triad's services. Through a series of news releases and exclusive interviews, potential clients across the country learned how Triad could bump up their bottom line through expert loan servicing.

To supplement every campaign, we openly communicated to employees through frequent intranet articles, e-newsletters, and detailed CEO emails. All the while, we continued to share other internal news, such as collections achievements, HR open enrollment activities, and community outreaches.

The Results

The launch of Trademark by Triadâ„¢ was extremely well-received by auctions, employees and news media. Auctions appreciated the step-by-step instructions and assistance in implementing the remarketing program. They even added their own promotions to maximize traffic in the auction lanes.

Triad's third-party servicing clients grew impressively as a result of our marketing efforts and the sales strategies of company leaders. Employees gladly welcomed the news each time another client was brought on, and these successes significantly improved team member morale.

Over the course of our relationship, 20 different media outlets covered Triad's third-party servicing and remarketing programs. We communicated each achievement to employees, as well. Their feedback reflected a positive outlook in the midst of much change. One employee said the frequent internal communications "made visiting the intranet site a pleasure."

In October 2009, our relationship with Triad concluded when they were acquired by Santander Consumer USA.

While working with Triad, The Satterfield Agency formed positive, long-term relationships with executives that resulted in subsequent partnerships at their new companies. These clients include Alliance HealthCare Services, Windsor Group, Caprock Auto Remarketing and Loan Portfolio Servicing.

Contact Us Today

Jessica Satterfield-Reyna has always been very responsive to our needs and is able to distill concepts quickly and concisely into effective communication.

Dan Leonard, Triad Financial

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