Every credit union or bank wants to increase their share of wallet with consumers. They want more business with existing customers or members. If someone has a checking account with you but no loan, go for that auto loan. If they have a checking account with you but no credit card, go for the plastic. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach. In fact, gaining more wallet share is often a key strategy for most financial institutions and an easy way to increase profitability.
But what about gaining more share of heart?
When I mention “share of heart” I’m referring to how the consumer feels about your credit union or bank. Not whether or not they use your products or services but rather what images or thoughts come to mind when they think of you. The more positive feelings they have towards you then the more share of heart you have. And if they don’t feel anything about you (positive or negative) then you don’t have a large share of heart.
Here are three ways to increase the share of heart someone has with your financial institution:
Improve your brand—The best brands going today are the ones that engage consumers emotionally. Think Apple and Amazon. People love those brands. They don’t just have consumers’ wallet, they have consumers’ heart as well. Don’t think a financial institution can illicit positive feelings because banking is boring or a chore? Then think about USAA and how it consistently ranks number one in net promoter score. If you know someone who uses USAA chances are you know someone who loves USAA. Improving your share of wallet will mean improving your brand.
Update your marketing—The marketing at most financial institutions focus on particular products’ features. The rate, the term, the function, etc. However, to truly touch consumers’ hearts your marketing should emphasize your products’ benefits. As someone once said, “features tell, benefits sell.” When we conduct marketing audits for our clients it is amazing to see how much of their material is dry, boring and a feature dump. We encourage many clients to make sure their marketing is emotional. Gaining more love for your bank or credit union will mean updating your marketing.
Change your training—No matter what you say your brand is and no matter how cool your marketing messages look, it’s your people who have to deliver (or sell) to consumers. So when was the last time you really trained your staff to your brand or trained them on connecting with consumers? Too much training within the financial service industry is focused on basic service skills, product knowledge or operational issues. Rather than offering the usual training material, try doing generational training, brand training or engagement training. Connecting deeper with consumers’ hearts will mean changing your training.
So does all this love really impact the bottom line? Absolutely. While love may be a squishy subject it is also a realistic profit driver. As Ray Davis, former president of Umpqua Bank said in Leading for Growth, “If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know that your brand is just about the most valuable asset you’ve got.”
In recent posts I’ve talked about Four Branding Myths and Four Strategic Planning Myths. While we referenced Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and Elvis, we also “myth busted” a few common assumptions when it comes to branding and strategic planning.
The same holds true for marketing. There are many myths, half-truths and false assumptions when it comes to the important role marketing plays in the growth of your financial institution. It’s critical that executives don’t fall for these marketing folk tales.
Marketing is advertising—When you say the word “marketing” most people immediately think of their favorite TV commercials, radio spots or billboards. The reality, however, is that those are just advertising mediums. Marketing is WAY more than just advertising. As Alex Goldfayn says in The Revenue Growth Habit, marketing is “systematically communicating your value to people who can buy from you.” The reality is marketing is goes beyond what you say in your ads.
Marketing is a department—Who is in marketing? The answer to that question should always be “everyone.” Every single person at your credit union or bank is in marketing. Yes, even your collectors and accounting personnel. In fact, your staff are not just employees; they are brand ambassadors. The reality is marketing touches everything.
Marketing is an expense—Ask any CFO what marketing is and the vast majority will say it’s an expense. As John Wanamaker once family said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Therefore, marketing should provide a return on investment for those marketing dollars. If you try and cut marketing to save your budget dollars this year, what are the long-term impacts of that down the road? The reality is marketing is an investment.
Marketing is just about creativity and having fun—In one of my favorite Dilbert cartoons, his boss family says “You will now be working in the marketing department until further notice.” Then on the next frame you see the doorway to marketing, which says “Marketing Department: Two Drink Minimum.” Unfortunately, that is the perception of most marketing departments: it is just about creating pretty pieces and having a good time. However, marketing is more and more about data and analytics. To succeed in reaching consumers today, you must mine all the data you have on them. The reality is marketing is just as much science as art.
Obviously, there are key aspects to marketing that involve advertising, marketing personnel, money and creativity. However, to believe those things are the keys to marketing is to believe in a marketing myth.
in Laramie, Wyoming is well-known locally for having a fun, vibrant and college-centric brand (which makes sense, as Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming).
However, a 2016 college football upset victory gave a whole new meaning to the words “fun and vibrant.” Playing against ranked Boise State at home, UW notched a last-second safety for the victory. The ensuing end zone dance (paired with the 1982 Men Without Hats pop hit “The Safety Dance” led to some great video/brand thinking at UniWyo FCU.
“The whole town was fired up after the game,” said UniWyo VP of Marketing Mindy Uitterdyk. “Laramie is a college town and our credit union is proud to serve the students and staff of the University of Wyoming. In our marketing and brand, we strive to create a voice that will resonate with this market. After the upset victory over Boise State, and using a little pop-culture knowledge, doing our own ‘Safety Dance’ video was a no-brainer.”
The credit union created its own version of the now-famous end zone celebration dance by taking a crew of managers (including its president) to the actual end zone of War Memorial Stadium to have a little fun with the music and the dance. “The university actually put on a “Best Safety Dance Video’ contest in which we were happy to take part,) added Uitterdyk.” We did have to show some of the younger staff members the classic video so it would make more sense, but everybody had great fun with it in the end.”
The credit union heard terrific feedback about the video from its members and the community at large. “We really think the video speaks to the culture of our credit union”, said Uitterdyk. “We recognized that our college crowd was totally hyped over the game and we decided to join in on the fun with a video that capitalized on the moment and helped express the cool, generationally-impactful brand we’ve developed over the years.”
The credit union used the video across various social media channels, including Facebook, YouTube and its own website where, in total it has gathered thousands of views, comments, likes and shares.
As we have noted in past blog articles, video is a terrific way to attract consumers. UniWyo FCU hit on all cylinders when it comes to their recent “Safety Dance” video, including an innovative strategy, supporting a cause in which consumers believe and employing humor. Other financial institutions can learn from this compelling example.
This article written by Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director with On The Mark Strategies
I was an early adopter of the Netflix platform years ago when it was solely a direct mail DVD subscription-based company. However, over time and due to (what I considered) a lack of interesting titles, I canceled my subscription.
Fast-forward a decade and I now find myself once again a Netflix customer. However, this time it is to take advantage of their huge library of streaming online content. Add Hulu to the mix and I had a compelling question jump out at me when I sat down to pay my most recent cable bill.
Why in the world do I need cable?
I actually called the cable company and asked the same question. In many ways, this is similar to a question we ask banks and credit unions during the mystery shop process of marketing audits — Why should I do business with you? What’s the compelling reason to bring my business here? Why should you matter to me as a consumer?
The cable company representative was as taken aback by my question as most bank and credit union professionals are when I pose it to them during a mystery shop. She really didn’t have a good response. That’s one of the reasons why I will more than likely drop traditional cable in the next month or so.
Banks and credit unions face the same dilemma in many ways. The financial landscape is not what it was ten years ago. A host of upstart nontraditional financial institutions have entered the landscape. Crowd-sourced lending is now an option many consumers seek before even checking their local bank or credit union rates.
The lesson here? Banks and credit unions must constantly search for reasons and ways to remain relevant to modern consumers. If you don’t offer what consumers desire, there’s plenty of competition out there that does.
While the quest for relevancy involves many factors in a constantly-evolving technological landscape, there are several things on which your bank or credit union can focus. First, you must be simple with which to do business; as simple as your favorite retailers, like Amazon, Apple or Zappos. If you’re not, consumers can easily find someone who is. Second, you must demonstrate your relevancy to younger consumers, particularly Millennials. Millennials need a reason not just to need you but also like you. What are you doing in your community and are you telling your story? A great example here is AmeriCU CU in upstate New York and their military member outreach as part of the Mountainfest concert series. Lastly, you must keep consumers at the center of every decision you make. Before taking on a new strategic planning initiative, training program or brand plan, ask yourself — will this benefit our consumers and how?
Banks and credit unions face the same uphill climb as any other retailer when it comes to maintaining relevancy in the eyes of consumers. Take a look at the struggles that slammed once-popular retailers like Blockbuster Video, Radio Shack and The Limited. However, by focusing on simplicity, cultivating fans amongst younger generations of consumers and focused decision-making, they greatly improve their chances of success.
The importance of using online video in your digital marketing portfolio will only continue to grow. Increasingly, banks and credit unions invest more money every year in using video to attract new consumers and retain existing ones.
While it is now obvious that consumers are drawn to video content online, you must remain aware of exactly the kind of video for which they look. Simply slapping something in front of the camera will not necessarily do the trick. According to a recent study from Accenture Interactive, there are caveats to consumer video affinity.
You must use innovative video technology and strategies. Is your video content optimized for both traditional computer screens and mobile devices (smart phones and tablets)? Are you simply posting videos to your website, or are you concurrently running them on social media platforms where your consumers are likely to congregate? Golden 1 Credit Union recently utilized a compelling video strategy in a sneak-peek of the opening of the Golden 1 Center.
You must support a cause in which consumers believe. More and more, consumers (especially Millennials) are drawn to brands to support causes in which they believe. Do your videos clearly show your bank or credit union involved in local community events?
You must provide humor. Yes, humor is tough. However, the financial institution that can pull off genuine and authentic humor in its video strategy is a step ahead in the game. For example, check out this Pinterest page.
You must provide visually appealing video content. Your video content must also catch the eye. You simply can’t get away with two people talking in front of a white background anymore. Your video, in order to catch the consumer’s eye, must offer deeper and richer visuals to compel attention. GTE Financial accomplishes this in their “Magic Minute Dash” video.
You spend time and money on your financial institution videos. It makes sense that you fine-tune them for success. Using innovative strategies, supporting causes, employing humor and presenting visually appealing content are keys to making this happen.
In the financial services industry we can obsess over our competition. What is Jones National Bank doing in the community? Have you tried the mobile app from Big National Bank Brand? How is ABC Credit Union opening so many new accounts?
While it’s important to maintain a healthy eye on your rivals, when it comes to branding your credit union or bank you should focus your efforts on your audiences and not your competition. Why? Because branding is often more about internal aspects than external factors.
One of the main internal components of your brand plan is your audience (and note, we’re not using the term “target” because that implies you are going to shoot your targets (no one wants to be a target audience).
Here are three ways to make sure you maintain your focus on the consumers and not the competition:
Develop a brand plan—Every financial institution needs a brand plan, a document that details its vision and its messaging. One of the brand plan’s key components is a list and description of whom your financial institution is trying to reach. You cannot be all things to all people. So stop trying. Determine which consumers you want to focus your branding and marketing efforts.
Train your staff—Once you have your key consumers identified, then you can provide specific training to your employees on how best to connect with those key consumer groups. For example, we’ve conducted generational training for some of our clients. This instruction helps employees learn how to talk with consumers that are different from them.
Please note I’m not saying the competition doesn’t matter—it does. As you develop your brand you certainly want to create one that is unique and different in the marketplace. Of course, the only way to do that is to make sure you don’t replicate what others are doing.
However, the best brands worry far more about the consumers than the competition.