A recent article in Forbes highlights the importance of “inside out branding” — or rather, the importance of considering all of the human senses when it comes to portraying your brand.

Perhaps the two most important when it comes to the brand of banks and credit unions are sight and smell. Both senses are capable of generating powerful emotional reactions from deep within consumers. Is your financial institution making the most of each?

For example, when it comes to sight, is your bank or credit union as visually appealing as possible? When doing the mystery shop component of marketing audits, we take special care to note critical visual elements of a financial institution. These include the attractiveness and visibility of signage from nearby street level, the general neatness and outer appearance of the physical facility and even landscaping. Believe it or not, if your bank or credit union has dead or overgrown landscaping (such as bushes and flowers) it’s a turn-off for consumers. It says that you don’t care about the way your financial institution looks. Inwardly, consumers then make the connection that if you don’t care about how your financial institution appears, why should you care about their business and their financial well-being? We’re not talking about a massive redesign or remodel of your brick-and-mortar facilities. But if all it takes are some well-kept plantings and attractive, visible signage to positively impact consumers’ sense of sight, it’s worth it.

We’ve written about the importance of clean restrooms. And that’s still critical. However, odor and the sense of smell go beyond just your restrooms. For example, think about the critical role of odor in certain brands. I’ve often thought Great American Cookies in my local mall as the best advertising around simply with the delicious aroma of fresh-baked cookies in the air. Walk by any local barbecue joint that cooks outside and see if that delicious aroma doesn’t draw you. Other examples such as deodorants, cat litter and perfumes/colognes are obviously big players in the aroma department. For your bank or credit union, this could mean finding some type of pleasant odor for your lobby. Obviously, you want to keep certain allergies and other health factors in mind. It could be something as simple as a few baskets of potpourri or room deodorizers set to a timer. Baking cookies, popcorn, etc.

When we think about branding, we often focus too much on the print or digital side of things. While these are important, banks and credit unions should also keep in mind appealing to all the human senses in such a way that reinforces their brand. Sight and smell are two important parts of this.

Is your brand rounded out in such a way that it interacts with human senses?

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