Part II: How to build a Strong Financial Service Brand Today

Part I of this blog, posted on March 20, discusses the impact of the struggling economy and global financial crisis on financial service brands. The resulting climate of skepticism has created customers who are now, more than ever, looking for trust and integrity from their financial service brand. This can only be generated by identifying and tapping into the DNA of the company.

There is a silver bullet when it comes to building a strong brand, particularly in the financial services industry. But it doesn’t happen without effort. With so much skepticism and mistrust toward financial institutions today, much work and due diligence is necessary to create and build a brand that will resonate with customers, overcome the cynicism and most importantly, deliver on its promises. While it may appear challenging, significant opportunity exists for financial institutions that are willing to put in the effort. These brands will reap the rewards, attracting new customers and capturing new business while securing existing customer loyalty.

Do your homework

The first step is to find out what customers really want. Is it 24/7 service? Is it personalized attention? Is it specific products or services? Or is it convenience through technology? Maybe it’s all of the above. And maybe it’s different needs for different customers.

At the same time, figure out what is unique and different about your financial institution. What is its DNA? Think about the culture, the people, the internal processes. What makes it tick? How is it unique?

Then use these insights to shape the brand paying careful attention to the following areas:

  • Transparency. No surprises. Tell customers everything they need to know, in easy to understand language.
  • Build realistic relationships. Customers yearn for an enduring relationship and the best products to meet their needs. If you build a realistic relationship, you can create long term value.
  • Company DNA. Always come back to the company DNA when developing the brand promise, the communication style and the service offerings.
  • Communication. Develop a brand architecture that is simple, intuitive and easy to understand. Find out where the customer is and use unique communication channels to reach them.
  • Customer service. Understand what your customers want and need and go above and beyond. Delight the customer. Exceed expectations at every turn.
  • Commitment. Gain commitment to the brand from the leadership of the organization. Implementation must be consistent across all aspects of the organization.

Success will not happen overnight, but now is the time to start the journey.

Michelle Stearns is a brand strategy consultant with BrandTaxi, a world-class branding firm that delivers powerful insights and branding ideas to drive business growth and bottom-line results. Michelle has almost 20 years experience in classic CPG and corporate branding and marketing. She helps shape brands that resonate with audiences and create long lasting relationships to deliver the greatest value possible. Visit the BrandTaxi blog page.