Bank Iowa Brings Home Seven Marketing Honors, VP Named ‘Marketer of the Year’

May 26, 2020


Distinctive, community-centric campaigns earn six trophies and an executive nod in the 2020 AMA Iowa NOVA Awards competition


Bank Iowa’s marketing team is celebrating seven marketing awards received from the American Marketing Association’s Iowa Chapter. Among the AMA Iowa NOVA Award honors is the prestigious ‘Marketing Executive of the Year’ award recognizing Bank Iowa Vice President of Marketing Josh Fleming’s exemplary contributions to the industry and the bank.


Fleming has played an integral role in activating the Iowa marketing community to do great things. A pioneer in digital, branding and event-based marketing, he has held a variety of both professional and volunteer positions that elevate the value of marketing in his home community of Greater Des Moines and across the state.


 Shortly after joining the bank in 2017, Fleming hired a team to focus on a brand refresh, new website, public relations, communications and graphic design. He built the bank’s first robust marketing plan and laid out a paid media strategy that included each of the 23 communities Bank Iowa serves.


Bank Iowa had its best year in 2019, seeing exponential growth in loans, deposits and mortgages, three key focuses for advancing the business. Lenders across the totality of the bank’s seven regions have credited Fleming’s strategy for raising brand awareness. In fact, according to brand studies commissioned by Bank Iowa, consumer awareness of the bank rose 13 percent in less than a year.


According to Bank Iowa President and CEO Jim Plagge, Fleming personifies community banking. “Josh and his team have rooted out everything that’s special about our company and made it accessible to each of the client segments we serve in a really sophisticated way. In addition to creativity, energy and authenticity, his initiatives are always client- or team member-centered. And, of course, he does it all with personality. Josh is forever reminding us that ‘banking doesn’t have to be boring.’”


“While I am humbled and honored, this recognition is definitely the result of a great team effort,” said Fleming, who also serves as the chair of the Waukee Betterment Foundation’s marketing committee. “My marketing team brings their best every day and Bank Iowa’s leadership and family ownership consistently put my department and me in a position to enable great things. I have been blessed to work with wonderful mentors and creative minds throughout my career, and this recognition is a culmination of their strong influence on me.”


Five of the seven NOVA honors were first-place wins in the following categories: Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Integrated Marketing Campaign and Public Relations. The bank also earned second-place honors in the Website category.


Bank Iowa’s first-place Advertising award recognized the promotional campaign surrounding the launch of Free Bird Checking. The product was designed to be an alternative for bank clients during a time of rising financial services fees. The FreeBird Checking campaign helped Bank Iowa experience a nearly 20-percent lift in new personal checking accounts.


The first-place Branding award recognized the internal rollout of Bank Iowa’s purpose, vision and values statements. Although launched in 2019, the initiative is ongoing, serving as both motivation for team members and a set of promises to clients. Following the rollout, eight out of 10 Bank Iowa team members said they felt more connected to Bank Iowa’s purpose.


Both Copywriting and Integrated Marketing first-place honors were earned by the bank’s Eleanor Saves the Daycampaign. Eleanor Saves the Day is a children’s book coauthored by Fleming and Nathan T. Wright, an Iowa artist who also illustrated the book. Distributed as a gift to every parent who opens a Young Savers account, the book aims to inspire financial health and entrepreneurship among Iowa’s youth. In terms of the campaign’s results for the bank, new savings account openings increased by 1200 percent.


First-place Public Relations honors recognized the bank’s relationship with local and industry media. Serving as a resource for broadcast and print journalists, several of the bank’s subject matter experts were featured in news coverageon the challenges and opportunities of community banking. In 2019, the bank experienced a more than 5-times increase in PR value as compared to the year prior.


The second-place Website award was given in recognition of’s revamped user experience. Fleming and his team directed the rebuild of the website to completely transform the digital experience for the bank’s clients. In addition to garnering positive change in user metrics, the site is also now producing an unprecedented rate of conversions.


Bank Iowa shares the above honors with its marketing agency of record Lessing-Flynn and its PR agency of record Kelly Moore’s PR Collective.