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Bread Financial

Forging Connections: Bread Financial’s Journey to Heritage Preservation and Employee Engagement

Bread Financial, historically characterized as the “brand behind the brand,” recently underwent a transformative rebranding initiative, strategically pivoting to become “the brand beside the brand” and expand its offerings to include B2C services. Formerly known as Alliance Data Systems, Bread Financial has a storied history dating back to its creation in 1996 by the merger of JCPenney’s credit card processing arm and The Limited’s credit card bank operation. Despite its pivotal role in providing credit card services for brands such as Victoria’s Secret, the NFL, Wayfair and Pottery Barn, Bread Financial faced the critical challenge of effectively communicating its journey and values to its workforce. 

Recognizing the importance of preserving its corporate narrative, Bread Financial enlisted History Factory for our expertise. Through meticulous research and archival initiatives, History Factory played a pivotal role in documenting and preserving Bread Financial’s rich heritage. Our partnership yielded tangible results, including: 

  • Heightening employee engagement, pride and connection 
  • 80% participation rate in Archives Day
  • 5,754 visitors to the Bread Financial Archives Room
  • 8,514 total opens per page of the heritage landing page launched on Bread Financial’s employee intranet
  • An astounding 18,275 total website page views during the Archives Day launch

These remarkable metrics underscore the profound impact of History Factory’s efforts in revitalizing Bread Financial’s organizational culture and identity.

Unlocking Solutions To Reclaim a Corporate Past

When Bread Financial approached History Factory for assistance, the company faced additional challenges. Despite knowing it possessed a wealth of historical stories, Bread Financial had failed to capture or preserve them in a manner conducive to educating, informing and entertaining its employees. Compounding this issue, its IT data storage regulations mandated the deletion of most items older than three years, leading to a loss of archival proof points and leaving employees disconnected from the company’s narrative. 

The shift to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic presented a new set of hurdles for Bread Financial. As employees grappled with the challenges of remote work, maintaining a cohesive corporate culture became increasingly elusive, further underscoring the urgent need for an archival and storytelling initiative. 

History Factory undertook a comprehensive research and interview process to surface Bread Financial’s untold stories while also spearheading the implementation of a formal archives. Through StoryARCTM story gathering sessions, historical research and oral histories, History Factory developed a blueprint for recounting Bread Financial’s history by holding engaging conversations with subject matter experts across the organization and weaving together the most compelling narratives from its past.The archival project culminated in the establishment of an immersive Archives Room within the company’s headquarters. Curated by History Factory archivists, this space houses a selection of physical materials and serves as a tangible testament to Bread Financial’s rich history. The integration of History Factory’s AMS system into Bread Financial’s internal infrastructure facilitates seamless access to a digital repository of archival materials for all employees. 

In March 2024, Bread Financial orchestrated a global archives launch event to celebrate the company’s heritage. This event not only unveiled The Archives Room but also featured employee-driven engagement activities such as quizzes, nostalgic merchandise displays from the 1990s and interactive opportunities on internal social media platforms.

Driving Engagement and Cultural Renewal

The Archives Day launch had an 80% employee participation rate, 5,754 in-person visitors, 8,514 opens of the heritage page and 18,275 page views, with an average of 1,439 visitors and 2,129 opens per day. These outcomes showcase the widespread engagement and enthusiasm that the event generated, not only demonstrating the significance of preserving and sharing corporate heritage but also underscoring the immense value it holds for Bread Financial’s organizational culture and identity.

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