4 Steps to Building a Unique Brand for Your Financial Institution

If you’re the CEO, CMO or board member of a financial institution, one of your greatest challenges is likely differentiating your brand from those of your many competitors. The financial industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in our country leaving little maneuverability when it comes to designing products and services. So, how do you distinguish your brand from the many brick and mortar as well as virtual competitors you have out there?

By: Pat Seroka

Well, the good news is that you can create a financial industry brand, one that draws attention, is unique and gets mentioned and recommended in social conversations as well as corporate board rooms. The other bit of good news is that it’s not the higher savings rate nor the lower lending rate you may be able to offer from time to time. Rates that move up and down are short-term benefits and do not retain customers over time.

Rather, it is through creating a unique brand image. One that draws peoples’ attention and is hard to ignore. An image that sets an expectation in prospects’ minds of what benefit(s) they will receive.  For example, when you hear Ritz Carlton or Hyatt, both great brands with unique purposes, what do you think of? You may go on a vacation and stay at a Ritz while you and your associates may attend a convention and stay at a Hyatt. Or what images pop up when you think of Mercedes and Ford? Both are great brands that have a clear, unique niche and generate concise customer expectations.

You can, should and must create a unique niche for your financial institution as well. Not doing so will prevent you from earning a reputation that will build your customer base and inhibit your financial institution’s growth.

But how you ask, can you do so considering the regulated nature of your business?

Simply stated, it’s done by identifying and optimizing your brand’s unique characteristics. That’s why we created the Financial Industry Brand Optimizer process or FIBO.

Our FIBO process is broken into four distinct components:

  1. We start with a Brand Audit Research Tool that measures how your financial institution’s brand is perceived by both your employees and customers. It helps answer several key questions namely, “What is the current positioning/perception of your brand? What are you known for and why have customers come to do business with you in the first place? And, equally if not most importantly, why do they stay?
  2. We then conduct a competitive analysis of the other financial institutions in your market that details who and what you are competing against, what are their strengths and weaknesses, what is their brand image, and what demographics do they “own” and specialize in?
  3. Next we facilitate an internal meeting where we identify your financial institution’s most meaningful and relevant value propositions – and define how you are unique and can stand out from your competitors.
  4. Lastly, we engage in a deliberate and tested practice of creating a strong brand, promise and tagline that will permeate your market.

Our FIBO process is proven and has provided others, just like you, with an opportunity to stand out, be memorable and be sought out for your unique attributes.

If you’d like to know more, contact us – We would like to help you build the best financial institution brand that will create positive conversation in the market and drive more customers to your door.