ORLANDO, FL: Bank of America, the financial services group, is showing how to transform a business and brand in the connected, socially-conscious age by drawing on the insights of experts ranging from political leaders to community activists.

Anne Finucane, the company's global chief strategy/marketing officer, discussed this subject while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

In detailing how the firm has revolutionised its approach – a process summed up by the tagline "Life's better when we're connected" – she outlined the diverse mix of stakeholders it has called upon.

"The think tanks [and] the academic institutions elevated our thinking," she said. (For more, including how BoA has reconnected with consumers and its employees, read Warc's exclusive report: Repositioning Bank of America: From Main Street and Wall Street to Capitol Hill.)

"And then we went to see politicians, both in Washington and in their home states, to talk about what we were doing in their home state about lending, investing, foreclosures, loan modifications, employment."

Another cohort Bank of America reached out to was community leaders who were tackling challenges like affordable housing and rejuvenating deprived areas – problems it has the power and muscle to help tackle.

"We had to talk to community activists, and they were not going to be satisfied with marketing phrases: they wanted real data and real evidence," said Finucane.

In a bid to formalise such principles on an on-going basis, BoA has established a National Community Advisory Council featuring 24 senior figures from the social, cultural, spiritual and political worlds.

One of the main responsibilities of this body is to assess the bank's strategic direction and new products through the lens of their potential impact on major issues facing society.

"They challenged every decision we made. We brought to them product decisions for what we were doing on foreclosures and loan modifications – they challenged us," said Finucane.

Going to such lengths has reflected both the magnitude of the obstacles that Bank of America was up against as a result of the financial crisis and its commitment to thoroughgoing change.

"We needed to … demonstrate value to all the audiences that you can imagine, all the constituencies that any one of us deals with us: multinationals, elected officials, influencers in the US, Asia, Latin America, Europe; our customers; and, probably, at that point, most importantly, our employees," Finucane said.

Data sourced from Warc