Branding is everywhere. From billboards on the highway to jumbotrons in sporting arenas, from park benches and public bathrooms and from clothing lines to tattoos, consumers are exposed to thousands of brands with thousands of marketing messages every day.

With all that marketing noise, is there really a way for individual brands to be heard? The answer is yes, but you have to push through the noise instead of adding to it. In other words, focus on telling your story to the right audience with the right message at the right time. Often that is easier said than done. Here are some tips for cutting through the noise.

Create strong content and make it brief

Content is still king when it comes to marketing.

In fact, it’s more important than ever as digital media becomes the go-to source for information and attention spans get shorter. Content must be relevant, interesting, valuable, and brief. Get to the point quickly! In a day and age when people can’t even put down their phones to drive, you have about eight seconds to grab someone’s attention before they move on to something else. Teach them important financial lessons like improving their credit scores, buying a home, saving for retirement, etc.

Consumers – especially Millennials – need an advocate to help them navigate what has become a complicated world of financial resources. Be their advocate by backing off on the marketing lingo and educating them with valuable content.

Target, target, target

As the marketing noise gets louder, targeted marketing becomes more important. Consumers are more likely to do business with someone they know and like. You have to connect with them on a personal level and get as personal as possible. Obviously, this is easier with existing customers or members. Instead of sending them mass e-mails, send targeted, personalized emails offering solutions or benefits they can use. If possible, market solutions to them inside your online banking platform. Send them personalized text messages. Send personalized mailings via snail mail and follow them up with phone calls.

Targeting potential customers or members is more challenging and often goes back to good, relevant content. When you create content your customers or members want to share, you build a base of followers. That takes time but is worth the effort. If your financial institution has a YouTube channel, a blog, an Instagram account, etc., encourage existing customers or members to share your content. Enable consumers to subscribe with an e-mail address or other information so you can capture that data and expand your target audience. If you have partnerships with businesses, be sure your agreement allows you to market to their employees or members by name and other demographic information.

Associate your branding with a cause

This is especially true of Millennials, but it works for older generations as well. People feel good when their purchases benefit someone or something they care about. Let’s say you run an auto loan promotion and promise to give a quarter percent of the final loan amount to an organization that benefits sick kids or disease research or even a local food pantry. That turns heads and gets attention. Even rate shoppers would have a hard time turning that down if the cause is near and dear to them. Get permission to use the charity’s logo on your marketing materials. Often, consumers will see that logo before they see yours.

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages every day. Instead of adding to the noise, find ways to cut through it with messages that connect with them through personalization, relationships and emotions or values.

Note: This article originally ran on Deluxe.

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