Picture it. You are ABC Bank or Credit Union, proudly serving your customers or members since the beginning of time. As part of your mission to provide the best possible financial solutions to your target audience, you have formed partnerships along the way which provide additional benefits to members or customers – maybe investment services or discount programs to save them money. As you grow, you see the value in supporting meaningful outreach programs like the Children’s Miracle Network. Who doesn’t want to help kids? All of these partnerships fit into your brand and make your customers or members genuinely proud to do business with you.

Sounds good so far, right? As time goes on, you agree to help promote these corporate partners. After all, you want your target audience to know these benefits are available to them, right? You put a stack of brochures here, a small banner ad on the website and maybe an article in your e-newsletter…for every single partner. Before you know it, an innocent desire to promote a partnership makes your financial institution look more like a bus station or one of those welcome centers you stop at after crossing the state line on a road trip. Brochures everywhere! The only problem is, they’re not yours. STOP. THE. MADNESS.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. We find this in our marketing audits all the time. We call it marketing collateral crap, and it literally just creeps up on you.

“We learned some surprising things in our marketing audit. We had 35 brochures in our lobby and our lobby looked cluttered. Less is actually more,” said Glenn Styer, retired CEO of Bucks First FCU (Now Inspire FCU).

This is particularly true on your website. A cluttered desk may be the sign of a creative mind, but a cluttered website is the sign of a confused brand, which only serves to confuse consumers. Your website is precious space. Your branches are precious space. You must control the marketing clutter and say NO when something doesn’t match your brand.

Remember, attention to detail is critical to your brand – including how you present yourself to consumers. You must make your financial institution memorable for the right reasons, not because your branches look run down and your website is too overwhelming for people to navigate.

“Branding is about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem,” writes Bob Frankel, author of The Revenge of Brand X.

No doesn’t necessarily mean never. Your might rotate ads for your partners once a week or once a month on your website. Or, create a partners page on your website and put all of their logos and special offers there. It may not be prime real estate, but you’re probably not on their home page, either.

For brochures, display one small row of partner brochures in an inconspicuous spot of your branches. Maybe set up a small space for a community bulletin board and dedicate that space to your partners.

Compromising with partners does not mean compromising your brand. You must execute brand consistency to maintain a strong brand.

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

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