ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2015 - (Page 48)

> MARKETING/RETAIL The Fight for Relevance T Marketing amidst the chaos MICHAEL KEMPNER HERE was a time when banking transactions required more than a few thumb taps on a three-inch screen and when engaging with customers meant a phone call or an actual branch visit. There was even a time when you could attract new customers by giving away free toasters. The current banking environment couldn't be further from that picture-or more chaotic. With heightened regulatory scrutiny, new technologies, cybersecurity threats and the incessant expectations of hyperconnected consumers, community banks face enormous pressure to change how they operate just to stay afloat. But when it comes to building trust with their most important stakeholders, they're still relying on the proverbial toaster to market their most valuable and, too often, unrealized assets-their brands. Customers don't want toasters, they want a relevant financial-services partner that consistently proves it understands their needs and demonstrates a commitment to grow with them. It's no longer enough just to do business. You have to matter more to the people you're doing business with. This is especially true for community banks, whose success hinges on the 48 ABA BANKING JOURNAL | MAY/JUNE 2015 ability to develop lasting personal relationships in the communities in which they operate. It starts by understanding not just how you can engage with them, but how you can help them engage with you. A strategic marketing approach gives banks the tools to distinguish themselves among a sea of sameness, gain a crucial competitive edge and, most important, build the trust of their employees, customers, shareholders and influencers. While any strategy needs to be tailored to a community bank and its customers, there are several essentials to any marketing program today (and trust me, none of them include kitchen appliances). Leverage your brand At a time when banks are grappling with the changing face of the entire banking industry, they may not even be thinking about their business as a brand. Yet these intangibles make up 63 percent of a company's market value. A strong brand always starts on the inside. Think beyond logos and taglines. Start by evaluating your brand attributes and personality- have a consistent look, feel and tone. Do you have a recognizable identity that reflects the bank's founding values, culture and commitments? Can customers instantly distinguish your bank from others just by looking at your website or ATM screen? Showcase your brand in everything you do and say-every internal and external message, every component of your website and mobile app and every piece of marketing and advertising collateral. Make it all part of what your brand stands for, and consistently talk about it-via press releases, email communications, website updates, social media and so on. It can mean the difference between customer attrition and lifetime loyalty. Get in the conversation The banking sector has arguably been hit hardest by a degradation of trust, and in this new day of total transparency, consumers crave authenticity. People put their faith in people, not companies. They make decisions based on recommendations from their network of trust: friends, relatives, social media, bloggers. So while paid advertising still has its place in your marketing mix, a strategic media relations and PR program centered on earned media opportunities is critical. To get in on the conversation, place a stake in the ground. Have a strong point of view on the issues impacting your customers, and position your leaders to frequently comment in the media. Supplement that with original content that further

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2015

CHAIRMAN’S VIEW
UPFRONT
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
LEGAL BRIEFS
PICTURE THIS
CELEBRATING A TRADITION OF INNOVATION
SOUND RISK CULTURE
AN INTERVIEW WITH FDIC’s MARTIN GRUENBERG
NEW RESPA/TILA MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES
BANK DOMAIN ROLLOUT
INVESTOR PERSPECTIVE
MARKETING/RETAIL
PAYMENTS
ADVOCACY
ABA COMPLIANCE CENTER INBOX
CYBERSECURITY
MORTGAGES
OPERATIONS
BOARD MATTERS
FROM THE STATES
BANKER RECOMMENDED READING
INNOVATIONS IN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2015

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