How to Stand Out in Community Banking
Many industries pit national brands against regional or local competitors, but none is more competitive than banking and finance. National powers have the scale to offer the widest variety of products and services and the resources to advertise and promote themselves. Regional and community banks are often at a disadvantage with fewer locations and smaller marketing budgets. For this reason, these banks also run the risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of their customers believing one regional option is the same as the next. When tasked to stand out in community banking, these are three necessities.
Define Your Brand and Push It to the Forefront
What makes your institution different from your competitors? What characteristics can you confidently promote? What are the unique reasons a customer would receive a better experience with you over one of your competitors? Defining the core of your brand and then aligning not only your advertising, but your business approach, philosophy and experience around your brand is the clearest and strongest way to bring distinction to your bank in your market. But most importantly, resist the urge to settle on generalities and make sure your brand is differentiated. If you have defined your brand in a way that others could also claim, then you haven’t dug deep enough. Your brand is ultimately why you are the only choice for your target customer’s banking needs, not just a definition of reasons someone needs banking services.
Offer Easy and Modern Digital Experiences
Has your bank enabled customers to handle all their banking transactions online from opening new accounts to applying for loans? And more than just online, what about through mobile devices? If your process begins online but has steps that require printed documents or physical signatures, then you run the risk of losing customers to national banks or digital-only institutions. Today’s customer looks completely different than a customer 20-years ago and your digital presence, services and experience should reflect how things have changed. A digital experience isn’t only through your website or on your app, but it’s also how you interact on social media, how you distribute information and content and how answer questions and fulfill requests with your customer services team.
Omni-Channel Campaigning with a Geographic Focus
The most successful community banks use all the same tactics and outlets employed by national campaigns – just limited to the geography of their target customers. A regional banking campaign doesn’t just mean billboards and sponsored community events; television, radio and especially search, social media and online display all need to be incorporated into your marketing campaign. A robust campaign balances ongoing brand awareness that establishes a community leadership position with the necessities of lead generation for your key financial services to drive business growth.
Jump Company has successfully partnered with regional financial institutions to define brands, reach target customers, and drive growth for the last two decades. And we aren’t just a marketer of community banks, we are also a customer.