It’s time for an update. You’ve held the focus groups, shopped the competition and worked with your agency to create a brand that truly differentiates your institution from all others. One caveat: don’t launch it to customers and the public without a memorable premier for your most critical audience—employees.

Every successful financial institution—whether launching a CD special, a new advertising campaign or a brand overhaul—includes and involves employees before it shows anything to outside audiences.

Taking the extra steps to involve employees along the way—and capture their hearts by giving them the first look—ensures that the effort will have real momentum.

Here are some of our favorite examples of brand launch events that captivated employees and built business.

break the ice

The CEO of one bank we worked with wanted to make a big impression on his bankers when he introduced the new brand at their annual meeting. We had an ice sculpture of the old logo wheeled out on a cart. After a few introductory remarks, the CEO pulled out a sledge hammer from behind the podium and smashed the sculpture to smithereens.

Needless to say, everyone’s attention was riveted on him—and what he would say next.

The message was clear. We’re discarding an old logo, but also an old way of doing business.

As he outlined the vision for new direction for the institution, its business and marketing plans, bankers were hanging on to every word. Then he went around the room and cut off their ties.

By the end of the meeting, everyone knew where they were going. They felt like insiders. And they were charged up and ready to make the new vision into reality.

Another banker we know literally cut off ties with the old brand.

businessman cutting ties with old brand 2

drink your own kool-aid

Another bank we know launched a new brand for their internal culture because they wanted to up their already-strong customer service game and turn it into something legendary.

We worked with them to create a service promise that grew out of employee input.

The 5-point promise was a commitment of what employees would do for bank customers. What’s even more exciting: a 5-point promise from Management about what they would do for employees.

Plans were communicated through coffee-and-cookie staff meetings at the individual branch level. A visit and short comments from the president helped everyone feel their input was valued—and heard.

The service promise is now delivered inside and outside the institution, much to the delight of employees and customers.

throw out the cookie cutters

When another financial brand wanted to launch its new business plan and marketing campaign to employees, logistics made it impossible to bring everyone together in one place for a presentation.

So we worked with the marketing director to create launches in each of their locations across the country. She enlisted the help of the office managers in each location. A smart idea, because having the office managers as allies meant changing stationery, supplies, templates, etc would be much easier.

It was the office managers who decided whether the launch in their office would be over lunch, breakfast or some other time of day. They each had budget authority to choose newly branded swag, food and everything they needed to orchestrate a memorable event. We provided a newsletter with a special greeting from the CEO, and talking points for that location’s VP. There was also intranet content and other communications so that each event had consistency in message delivery.

Employees were wow’d. The client’s leadership team received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the new brand, the company goals and the means of learning about them.

roll out the red carpet
All of these institutions are reaching or exceeding their lofty goals. They have enviable cultures and are recognized market leaders. They roll out the proverbial red carpets because they recognize the importance of growing their brands from the inside out.

These leaders also know that internal brand engagement isn't a "one and done." They continue to monitor, encourage, report results and coach. They're in it for the long term.

Building employee enthusiasm and deep awareness of their important role in your organization’s success is powerful. It creates advocates who propel your brand ahead for lasting results.

For help growing your financial brand with a program that morivates and activates employees, contact Martha Bartlett Piland direct at 785.969.6203