December 11, 2020

Good Branding Makes Good Sense for Banks and Credit Unions

Banks and credit unions are amazing at watching the bottom line. They know which promotions will bring in new customers, and which products make customers most sticky. So it makes sense that banks and credit unions spend much of their marketing energy on these easy-to-measure tactics.

But many banks and credit unions miss the mark on brand strategy. The just don’t see the importance of a positive brand experience and that aligns their brand promise across all promotions and communications, for new and existing customers.

We know all about good branding at KidGlov. For 10 years, we’ve made it our business to help banks and credit unions share their message and connect with consumers. More than a clever name and pretty graphics, a brand is a critical component of customer recognition and loyalty. And for financial institutions especially, a good brand can ward off competitive threats, end the cycle of competing over similar products, and set the stage for a more positive culture.

Banks, Credit Unions, Everywhere

Between banks and credit unions, consumers have literally thousands of choices. And with a new focus on digital services, consumers no longer have to “shop local.” So, how do you stand out from the crowd?

A recognizable, distinctive brand can be the answer, but not all brands are created equal. A great brand should encapsulate the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why” and, for financial institutions specifically, the “how” of doing business.

Consider one of our clients, MembersOwn, a credit union based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Through the KidGlov Brand Advancement Process, we learned a key value of the credit union was empathy. Their tagline, “It’s all about you,” perfectly aligns with this core value and immediately provides a promise to consumers. The “you” focus is carried out through the MembersOwn brand—from customer service to the visual experience to ongoing messaging.

Interest Rates and Savings Accounts

For many industries, competing on product features is a smart move. But for banks and credit unions, it just doesn’t make sense. Products are too similar, interest rates too volatile. Consumer experience and overall trust rules in financial services relationships, and your brand, more than any particular product or promotion, articulates what that experience of trust can be.

First Bank & Trust Company, Mountain View Bank and Waypoint Bank came to KidGlov for help in streamlining their three brands into one brand to better connect with customers. The name “Waypoint” perfectly encapsulated how the bank does business to help consumers find the right path for financial success. “Guiding your success” became the perfect tagline and, immediately, a way for consumers to connect and identify with the bank’s mission and values.

Brands pay dividends

Gallup research reveals that when consumers are aligned with a brand, they give it twice as much share of wallet as those who are not aligned with that same brand. And for financial institutions, there’s a lot of room for growth. Gallup found that only 40 percent of financial services customers are familiar with and aligned with brand, compared with a 90+ percent alignment with other industries like airline and retail.

Farmers & Merchants Bank came to us after spending the past decade acquiring offices, adding products, modernizing technology and fine-tuning bank operations. Over the years, the bank grew to be the 15th largest in Nebraska, but they just weren’t seeing those numbers turn into new and engaged customers.

When we polled their customers for insights, what we heard most often was how the team at Farmers & Merchants would go above and beyond to empower their customers to create financial well-being. Smart. That’s what we thought, and the bank’s new brand promise and tagline became “Smart Bank. Smart You.” The brand not only elevates the customer but creates a positive internal brand that employees can get behind.

Connecting consumers with brand has never been more important. And for the financial industry, it’s vital to success. Since 2008, when U.S. consumer confidence in banks hit an all-time low, banks and credit unions have been working to re-establish trust and fully connect with consumers.

Brands are a perfect way to connect employees and customers with core values and a promise for doing business. If you need help buttoning up your bank or credit union’s brand promise, give us call. We’d love to help you make a difference with your message.

Want to know more? Visit our financial services business hub to find a variety of case studies, helpful blog posts and Agency for Change podcast episodes featuring financial business leaders. KidGlov is a boutique, full-service, advertising, branding and content marketing agency and certified B Corp, with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, specializing in nonprofit marketinghealthcare marketingfinancial services marketingsocial impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses.