Brand = ???

Are you like many professionals who do not really understand what a brand is or why it’s important to have a clearly defined one? Most of you know it’s not just your logo and colors – they are only part of your brand image — but they are not your brand.

You may not realize that a strong brand contributes to the bank’s bottom line and specifically influences success in the following areas:

  • Asset quality – are you attracting and keeping strong credits?
  • Deposit mix – can you keep your core deposit customers or do you have to rely on high rate promotions to attract new customers?
  • Profitability – are you retaining your profitable customers or are you constantly churning?

It’s with these factors in mind that I am reminded of a conference I attended many years ago on bank branding where I had the opportunity to hear the top branding agencies in the world discuss how they defined a bank’s brand and how to most effectively understand, evolve and communicate it to key stakeholders.

Not surprisingly each agency had their own definition of what a brand is – and although they were similar in overall concept they were all very different in how they defined it. The definition I find the most clear is the following:

Brand = Reputation + Expectations + Experience

Your brand is the sum of how your stakeholders think about your bank, which sets their expectations on what they should experience when they interact with you. All three components must be consistent for you to have a strong brand.

Also – did you know that you do not own your brand? The marketplace owns what and how they think of you – you do not. You influence it by the things you say and do through your image, marketing efforts, and all sales and customer service interactions. Others – such as the media – also influence your brand. Be sure you really know who else influences how others think about you — and make sure these influencers think of you the way you want to be thought of.

The best example of great branding and brand image, frankly, are these guys:

 

 pirate

You got it – pirates! Their reputation is well known. If you are unfortunate enough to encounter them, you will expect to be robbed, and more likely than not, you will be. Perfect branding!

Our advice – be proactive in influencing your brand. Define the reputation you want to be known by – make sure all your outgoing communications and image are consistent and set the right expectations — and then deliver the right experience.

So, if you find yourself wondering what this means for your brand –give us a call –.we’d love to help. Stay tuned as we’ll be discussing what defines a strong brand and the elements of branding in future emails.

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