This blog entry authored by Taylor W. Wells,
Communications Director for On The Mark Strategies

As a single dad, you learn to develop a thick skin. However, a couple of things have always and still do terrify me. And both have to do with little girls. One is hair. Beautiful braids, pigtails and other styles completely elude my pitiful fumble fingers. It’s ponytail or bust for me.

The other is clothing. If you ever want to know true fear, as a father, walk into a large big-box clothing store and try to find things that will fit your daughters. Boys sizes I kind of get. But little girls? It’s a mystery to me.

That’s one of the reasons I was glad to find the Justice brand. Billed as a one-stop-shop for trendy styles for tween and young teen girls, Justice is now my go-to place for young ladies clothing.

And why is that? With all the many choices out there?

It’s not price. While reasonable, Justice certainly isn’t the cheapest.

It’s not location. There’s only one store in my town and it is a twenty-minute drive.

It’s not digital access. While their website looks fine, I’ve never made a purchase on it.

For me, it all comes down to the brand experience. When I walked into Justice, the staff there knows me by name, knows my daughters and their respective sizes and knows roughly the budget I’m willing to spend. It is precisely that kind of consumer engagement and bewitching brand that keeps me (and my dollars) coming back.

For most people, the world of banking is equally puzzling and, sometimes, scary. When consumers don’t understand something, like money, they tend to shy away from it, sometimes making poor choices. Your bank or credit union has an awesome opportunity to fill this knowledge gap and provide consumers with a Justice-style brand experience within the walls of your financial institution.

This goes beyond just the “know your consumers by name” application. That’s pretty much brand engagement 101. You must go deeper than that. You have to care enough about your consumers to actually get to know them, what they need and actually anticipate what they might need before they themselves know it. That’s one of the reasons why the sales reps at Justice are so terrific at cross-selling me on things. You must also work to develop a culture of retention, in which stellar frontline staff are kept in their positions and amply rewarded for their production. Having a revolving door at the consumer relationship specialist position is a recipe for disaster. Consider that application for your bank or credit union front-line staff. If they knew their consumers, really knew them, how much deeper could your overall product penetration be?

Branding and employee retention work hand-in-hand. If you have a strong brand, word will get around in your workplace community and qualified candidates will want to work for you. And it is these qualified candidates who are more likely to stay onboard and become seasoned, long-term employees that can then, in turn, deliver consistent brand experiences to your consumers.

If the sales reps at Justice simply sat behind the counter, refusing to make eye contact or help in any way, I would have left quickly and searched out another store. But they didn’t and the rest is history. To realize similar consumer engagement and brand exposure success in your bank or credit union, fine-tune your skills at consumer engagement training and qualified employee retention.

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