Note: The following is an excerpt from 30 Ideas to Build and Live Your Brand. For a free copy of the complete book, click here.

Everything about your financial institution communicates something about your brand – even how your bathrooms look and smell. Think about it this way. When you are on a road trip, are you selective about where you take your pit stops, or will you stop anywhere?

I realize nobody is going to stop at your financial institution just to use the restroom, but if they don’t trust your bathrooms, they may not trust your ability to handle their money, either.

When Toys R Us was rebranding, it brought in a third party expert to lead the process. One of the first things the consultant did was walk the CEO all the way to the back of the store where the restroom was located and ask if his wife would feel comfortable using that bathroom. Why? Because it’s important to look at these details from the customer’s perspective. Women are the toy retailer’s key demographic. If they won’t use the bathrooms, or more importantly, if they won’t let their kids use the bathrooms, they aren’t going to shop there very often.

We have a client that gave its customers a big piece of wood with a key attached to it when they needed to use the restroom. That screams truck stop, not financial institution. Think about it. If you manage potentially thousands of dollars of someone’s money at your financial institution, don’t they deserve something a little more tactful that doesn’t scream, “I’m going to the bathroom,” to everybody they pass on their way to the restroom? If your bathrooms can’t differentiate your financial institution from a truck stop, how do you expect your brand to differentiate your bank or credit union from your competition?

These may seem like small details, but they matter. Starbucks once did a study on how much money it could save by switching from two-ply toilet paper to one-ply toilet paper. That one seemingly small detail would have saved the company thousands of dollars, but the CEO wouldn’t hear of it. He said everything matters, and he was right.

Do you have cheap, ratty toilet paper in your bathrooms or do you provide your customers with Charmin? Does your bathroom look freshly painted or old and worn? Are your sinks and toilets clean…really clean and not rusty or stained? Do your faucets and fixtures shine? How does your bathroom smell? Have you looked at your bathrooms from a female perspective?

If you are targeting women – the people who manage the finances in the majority of U.S. households, you have to appeal to their standards. Does your bathroom pass the smell test? Do yourself and your brand a favor and smell your restrooms.

For a free copy of 30 Ideas to Build and Live Your Brand, click here.

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