Often, when mid-size companies compete with their industry’s larger, global power players, they overcompensate by highlighting the ways in which their offerings are just as broad and deep as their multi-national competitors’. As a result, these companies – the challenger brands – often get lost in the shadows of the behemoths because they can…
Is our firm’s brand (still) working? This was a key concern voiced by bank marketing executives at the recent American Bankers Association Marketing Conference in San Diego. Seth Margolis, our fearless leader in all things brand strategy, led a discussion that focused on what banks really need to know about branding. At a time when trust in the industry is at an all time low, this was an especially critical topic for banks looking to reengage with a wary customer base. And bank marketers overall seemed to share a renewed sense of optimism after several very tough years, with much discussion around restoring trust with clients.
In recent months, we’ve examined how, in these shifting market dynamics, there is an opportunity for banks to leverage branding to win over new clients and hold onto existing relationships. But how do you know if your bank’s current brand is strong enough to help the company navigate this time of transition? Here are some key questions that every bank should ask itself when examining if its brand is still working:
- As the industry has evolved, is your company’s story still relevant? Does it address the needs of clients and prospects in the post-2008 environment?
- Does the positioning and key messages that helped build your bank still resonate with customers, prospects and other important audiences?
- Has your competitive set changed in recent years? Does your brand effectively differentiate you from this new, and potentially expanded, field?
- Has your institution expanded its solution set? Its geographic reach? Does your current brand effectively embrace this expansion?
- Has your business strategy changed? Brand and business strategy must be completely aligned – or neither will have a chance of success.
- Is your brand consistent at all critical touchpoints – in branches, online, in the community? If your brand is inconsistent, it may be because individual product managers or regional executives don’t feel it’s really working for them. It may be time to develop a new brand that will work for everyone, everywhere.
- Do employees truly understand and live the brand? If not, do you need to implement an employee engagement initiative – or develop a new brand that employees will want to understand … and live?
A brand can play an important role in communicating a bank’s true value proposition and differentiating it from competitors. And for banks that are paying attention, there is an opportunity to leverage branding to engage – and re-engage – with customers. The first step to rebuilding this trust and loyalty is re-evaluating how you define yourself and tell your story.