Would you trust a stranger to handle your money?
That’s why a branding and marketing team plays such a crucial role in a financial institution’s success. People need to know they can trust a bank, insurance company, or investment firm to handle their money. A strong, consistent brand helps communicate this professionalism and reliability.
Over the course of their lifetimes, however, financial institutions encounter unique challenges that may depreciate the brand and lessen its impact across their customer base. Let’s examine a few of them:
1. Mergers can muddle the brand message
When a financial institution merges brands—whether by acquiring new companies or consolidating existing ones—you risk losing that crucial connection with each brand’s customer base. The more successful brand might suffer from the poor reputation of the other, for example. Or the new combined brand could have confusing messaging that drives customers away. Either way, there is a high risk of brand dilution.
The post-merger branding strategy depends on the individual brand identities, but there are key things you must communicate as you redefine brand voice.
- First, come up with messaging about the merger that will put customers at ease—or better yet, excite them.
- Second, communicate with people in both companies so they both understand and implement the new brand voice or guide.
- And third, and give them the tools they need to make implementation simple—so there are no excuses not to do it! Things like an easily accessibly brand guide, templates with the new logo and messaging, and clear instructions for how new messaging should be distributed can make both of your jobs less stressful.
2. Advisors as maverick marketers
Financial advisors operate with a great deal of independence in terms of mobility and initiative. Because of their goal-based objectives, they have the freedom to work in a manner they deem to be most effective. While this arrangement is fantastic for meeting sales goals and improving customer relations, it can be problematic when applied to marketing communications.
Financial advisors who make unauthorized changes to approved brand communications may think they’re being efficient and clever, but it can often wind up being more damaging than helpful to the brand. Copy ends up being stilted and riddled with errors. Layouts break, and design rules aren’t followed.
The best solution is to give advisors editable communications templates. This way, they can personalize a document for the customer while not straying from established brand guidelines.
3. Connecting to multiple audiences
Financial institutions rarely target only a single audience. And even when they do, that definition is so broad that it still covers a wide spectrum of people. Finance brands must overcome the challenge of speaking to multiple audiences without being contradictory or diluting their message so much that it loses relevance.
Brands can still target multiple audiences without diluting their message if they approach different audiences through different mediums. Some audiences are more open to direct mail, for instance, while others prefer social media. You can also adopt different tones when shifting audiences, the same way you would address your teacher one way and your friends another.
To do this successfully, make sure you have a brand guide in place that highlights the ways your communications must be consistent (such as when describing the values of the company) and where the brand deviates (such as the voice used when speaking to well seasoned investors versus those who are opening their first checking account).
Above all, the true key for financial institutions to retain brand potency and strength is staying true to your brand identity. Every marketing communication, campaign or customer interaction has to match your brand’s personality and goals. It’s this familiarity and consistency that will eventually connect with people and generate a truly loyal customer base.