How strong is your bank's brand? It's an important question, particularly if it's been years since you've taken stock of your state of things. Branding for banks is about more than simply signage in a branch. It's about philosophy and a changing way of thinking and speaking about what you do as an organization.
Here are four good starting points for sparking the discussion of your bank's brand strength.
One of the surest signs of a generic, potentially stale bank brand is one that looks like it came out of a different era. And we're not talking about shag carpeting or other physical elements. If your bank prizes outdated things, such as maintaining that "1st" in your name for optimum phone book placement or pushing traveler's checks beacause "we've always done it," there might be a problem. Take a look at who you truly are now, in 2017, as a bank. What makes you tick, and what makes you special? And if you have that "1st" in your name, do something intersting with it - play it up in your messaging or talk about your heritage and how far you've come. Just don't be afraid to embrace the new and now.
As a banking team, your people are probably spread thin. There are so many opportunities, so many strategies, so many promotions to promote. But one of the most powerful ways you can improve your brand perception to consumers is to customize the experience. The first step might lie in your organization's upsell strategy. Namely, how fine-tuned is your strategy to truly offer pieces of value to your existing customers and how specific are those pieces? Take the time to itemize your product portfolio and only push specific elements to customers at the most apt of times on their lifecycle.
One of the biggest consumer priorities these days (mostly due to a dose of healthy skepticism that people harbor when it comes to marketing) is authenticity. This is particularly true of the youngest, Millennial and Gen-Z, subsets. In this case, honesty is the best policy. Speak to the reality of many average customers' lives - cater to their actual needs by talking about entry-level products and giving them a realistic starting point. Let your messaging reflect the desires of your newest consumer base - don't knee-jerk to mortgage loans to a group of people concerned with paying of academic debt first and foremost. Present opportunities to save money, manageable loan refis and travel budgeting tools.
One of the biggest things many bank brands are missing is motivation. Simply saying, "Look over here! I have checking accounts!" isn't enough of a motivating factor anymore. You need to offer something special. A unique experience. (Emphasis on experience.) Your branding should reflect the emotional payoff of having a checking account, rather than the physical checkbook itself. Have you ever been motivated to select a financial product like a credit card or checkbook simply by seeing it presented visually devoid of any context or emotional connection? Consumers are more apt to buy into your brand (quite literally) if you provide the emotional motivation to do so.