This post authored by Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director with On The Mark Strategies

A few days ago, I made an early morning trip to a local big-box athletic supply store in search of new walking shoes. I entered the store as one of the first customers of the day and right away could tell they hadn’t cleaned up from the day before. The floors were dirty, merchandise was scattered about and nothing looked clean.

When trying on something in the dressing room, it got even worse. Un-purchased clothes from the day before still hung on the racks and dust bunnies and someone’s used Band-Aid (yuck) were on the floor. It just wasn’t a pleasant experience.

How your bank or credit union facilities appear absolutely matters to your brand. You can have terrific consumer engagement from staff and all the right talking points in your brand mantra but it doesn’t really matter if consumers are distracted by an unkempt appearance.

As we conduct mystery shops as part of the On The Mark Strategies marketing audit process, a few examples of “dirty” bank and credit union brands include:

  • Dead houseplants and/or greenery. What does it show your consumers about how you will care for their accounts if you don’t care enough about your plants to water them once in a while? I’d rather look at cheesy plastic plants than wilted, dead real ones.
  • Filthy restrooms. If your bank or credit union restroom has all the ambience of a heavily-used truck stop restaurant, your brand is in trouble. In branding, everything matters — from the boardroom to the restroom.
  • Cluttered bulletin boards. Unfortunately, we see this all the time. If your bank or credit union allows a community bulletin board in the foyer or lobby area, keep it clean. Yellowed, tattered and torn yard sale advertisements from months ago don’t help your brand and send a signal that you just don’t care how things look.

Branding is everything — including the way your physical locations appear and smell. Going back to the example above, if your brand has a dirty-used Band-Aid on the floor of the lobby, you’ve got trouble. Few consumers will trust you with their money if you can’t keep the building around it clean and attractive.