Every credit union or bank wants a strong brand. And branding is often an initiative on many strategic plans. However, wanting a strong band and actually having a strong brand are two completely different things.

So how do you know if you have a strong brand? You can give it a “Three E” test. On a scale of one (low) to five (high), grade your financial institution in the following areas:

  • EmotionAccording to a recent survey from Customer Thermometer, 64% of women and 68% of men have felt an emotional connection with a brand or business. The survey noted, “…it pays to develop an emotional bond.” So how do you do that with a checking account or a loan? You don’t. You need to make sure your brand is not about your products or services, but rather about how the consumer feels when doing business with you. The more emotion you inspire in consumers, the stronger brand you have.
  • Engagement—The financial services industry is a relationship-based business. As a recent CU Times article noted, “Is your staff developing personal relationships with members? Do your members know you care?” Your employees need to stop selling and start connecting. If they engage with consumers, the sales will come (in fact, we have found that engagement training is much more effective than traditional sales and service training for our clients). The more you engage with consumers, the stronger brand you have.
  • ExperienceA great article from The Financial Brand recently spotlighted Solarity Credit Union and how they are competing primarily on experience. The credit union wanted to be the number one experience provider in financial services nationwide and were recently recognized as just that. The credit union developed an entire CX strategy, changed their hiring & training practices, used experience as their guiding strategic principle and created feedback loops among other proactive steps. They just didn’t talk about experience, they created and delivered it. The more you give consumers a differentiated experience, the stronger brand you have.

Giving your credit union or bank the “Three E” test is the easy part. The challenging part is taking the steps necessary to build a successful brand around emotion, engagement and experience.