Developing a successful set of branding strategies is absolutely crucial when marketing for banks. In fact, it’s highly possible that branding strategies play a more important role in banking than in any other industry. Why? The answer is relatively simple. Although price plays an important role no matter what the product, it’s rarely the only factor a consumer considers when making purchasing decisions. In the case of computers, for instance, consumers don’t simply select the cheapest computer they can find; they also take into consideration the computer’s components and features. This gives computer producers some leeway with their marketing. If their computer is expensive, they can downplay that fact by instead focusing on the computer’s capabilities.
When it comes to something like an auto loan, however, it’s a different story entirely. Most individuals looking for an auto loan will simply choose the bank with the lowest rate and base their decision on that factor alone – giving marketers little chance to influence their decision (aside from appealing to their sense of brand loyalty). After all, if they can buy the same vehicle no matter what loan provider they choose, why not go with the cheapest option?
All this may lead you to wonder: “Why bother with branding strategies at all? Why not just give up now?” But don’t lose hope if your bank happens to have higher rates than some of its competitors. Abundant proof exists that brand loyalty can – and does – trump price for many consumers. Just look at the jewelry powerhouse, Tiffany & Co. Thanks to the company’s branding strategies, women continue to clamor after their jewelry even when other companies may be offering similar items at lower prices. Their branding strategies have, in fact, become so successful that today it almost seems as if Tiffany’s renowned blue boxes are even more sought-after than the jewelry itself.
So when it comes to marketing for banks, what can you do to develop a set of branding strategies that will successfully differentiate your institution from the competition? First and foremost, you must understand that branding strategies do not simply refer to your logo, colors or other design elements. Rather, your branding strategies should influence the entire experience a customer has when dealing with your bank and should align with your business model. Consistency is key, so make sure every single member of your bank’s staff – from the president to the tellers – has a clear understanding of your brand and how to convey those brand elements to consumers.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to bring emotions into the equation. If your bank prides itself on having a family-like atmosphere, tout that emotional benefit in your marketing – and be sure to follow through and deliver on your promise when customers visit your bank.
Finally, remember to be flexible when marketing for banks. Branding strategies that may have worked well twenty years ago might not necessarily work well today. For instance, a bank that focuses on convenience may once have promoted this fact by advertising its many branches and drive-through locations. Nowadays, banks with a branding strategy built around convenience should instead advertise services like online and mobile banking. While your brand values themselves may not change, the way you market them should.
Ultimately, by following the steps above and creating branding strategies that resonate with consumers, you’ll set yourself up for better customer retention, increased loyalty and higher profits. And you can take that to the bank!
Maureen McHale provides marketing help for businesses of all sizes, in a variety of industries. Visit hiremaureen.com for more information.