Many financial institutions struggle with differentiating themselves in this commodity-mindset industry. “We need a new slogan,” they say. And, “let’s talk about our great service.”
Service is not a position and you’ve got to pay more than lip service to your brand.
Here are some ways to set your financial brand apart, then pay it off with real-life, believable actions.
make a pledge
One institution we work with has a 4-pillar pledge:
With each of these values, there’s a 1-2 sentence description of what it means. This pledge applies to all its audiences—customers, stockholders and employees—so everyone knows what to expect.
The pledge is posted in the lobby, on the website and in the break room. It’s memorable, repeatable and it drives decision making.
stake a claim
Another institution we admire has created an internal rallying cry, “Be Bold!” Unafraid to step out of the traditional banking comfort zone, they’re getting out in the community and surprising customers and prospects with new ideas that say “I’m thinking about your business and I’m ready to help you grow.”
Bankers at this institution are each given a small budget and a lot of latitude to boldly go where no banker has gone before. They’re being creative and getting noticed in ways that set them apart from their competition.
At staff meetings, they share the stories of what they’ve done and new connections they’ve made. They encourage each other and collaborate on ways to venture further.
When leadership is truly committed to a promise, it filters all throughout the organization. It means that when people interact with the institution—no matter which market they’re in—the experience is designed to be consistent and authentic. Over time, the bank truly sets itself apart from the competitors in every marketplace it serves.
To deliver results, you must be strategic. Both of these banks have clear parameters around what they’re donig. You should, too:
- know why you’re doing this
- know what goals you’re trying to reach
- know how you’ll live out your promises
- know who you’re building relationships with (you can’t target everybody)