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Three ways to cut through the clutter with your brand story.

MARKETING FOR ALL ORGANIZATIONS HAS SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED OVER THE YEARS. Wireless technologies, big data, the shift from push to pull marketing strategies and the idea of the customer evangelist have all had a huge impact on how we promote products and services.

And, now, we have come to a point in the history of marketing where consumers have stopped listening. It's estimated that consumers see between 250 and 20,000 marketing messages per day. Consumers hear and see so many different "brand voices" screaming at them on daily that their/our brains are not capable of completely processing all that is seen.

Advertising must be compelling and, even when it is, it sometimes is drowned out by the other noise around our target consumers. That's a big problem for financial marketers in particular as financial services can easily be seen as a commodity. So, how can we cut through the noise in the financial industry without being seen as a commodity?

* Through Usability: Every marketer has heard the expression that "every impression counts." With mass adoption of smartphones and social media, we're reaching our customers and prospects more frequently than ever before. But in saying that, what do those impressions look like?

It's sometimes hard to financial marketers to envision something that's outside of their existing tool set. A good example is the mobile app. Many banks simply choose an app vendor because it's the path to least resistance and sometimes the most efficient way to go. But, is it the best for the customer? Consider this: you review the mobile app that a given vendor can provide and realize there are major usability flaws in the app for your customer base. But, they work well with your core provider (or are your core provider) and you can get the app at a decent price. You are being pushed heavily by other staff members to get an app. What should you do?

Simple. Figure out the path to create the best impressions. The majority of consumers state that a bad experience in a mobile app creates a bad impression of your brand. This same rule applies for every customer touch point: the experience on the website, at the ATM and with a customer service representative. Optimize your consumer touch points based on use to build positive brand impressions.

* Through Your Customers: This one seems simple, but we sometimes seem to forget that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Utilizing customer testimonials, video and your customers in your social media efforts can go a long way to building brand awareness without the necessity of marketing telling the brand story.

* Through Social Causes: Social cause marketing has been around for more than 30 years, but over just the past five years, we've seen a number of major brands become more active in their use of it. Through social cause marketing, an organization has the opportunity to tell its brand story through the eyes or voice of another organization.

In a recent video from the Yahoo! Advertising blog, Chris Osner-Hackett, senior director of North American Media for Kellogg Co. stated that as long as the social cause ties back to your brand values, it's worth the risk. These efforts provide great content for social media efforts and to tell about who your financial institution is without having to state the values on your own.

NICK KASTNER serves as marketing manager and adjunct instructor for the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia. He also serves as member of the faculty for the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management.

This column is written by faculty members of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management. For information about attending the school, go to
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Comment:Three ways to cut through the clutter with your brand story.(STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE)
Author:Kastner, Nick
Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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