Nearly every financial institution has a slogan. They believe it helps set them apart from competitors. And they think it’s a key part of their brand. While that may be so, we see two big problems with a majority of these slogans: 1) they don't truly differentiate, and 2) there’s no real support behind the promise.

That's a big, bland problem.

Go to The Financial Brand website, and you can find a listing of 1,000 bank and credit union taglines.

do they really differentiate?

Take a look: many sound very similar. They promise to pay attention to the customer or to be the hometown bank.

Yours might be there.

Of course, your color, logo and slogan aren’t the only things that comprise your brand. They’re merely what make up the shorthand for your story. So while there may be some similar taglines, there’s a real opportunity to take your visual identity and differentiate your institution by creating a story about what you offer—and living up to it.

wear the shirt and walk the walk

What does it mean to live out the slogan on a daily basis? It means that every employee inside your institution knows and embraces your purpose—and understands how to exemplify it.

This isn’t just for public-facing employees. Everyone in your institution can be a marketer and a brand ambassador if you give them the time and tools to help. Here are some examples to inspire you right now:

if your slogan is "Keeping It Local" you could:

  • pledge to purchase supplies and services only from local vendors
  • support the charities who keep their services and research local
  • allow employees to volunteer on bank time to help local organizations
  • offer meeting spaces to local groups at no charge

if your slogan is "Committed to World Class Service" you could:

  • have a concierge to assist bank clients with all their financial needs
  • offer 24 hour access to safe deposit boxes
  • go to the customer’s location to sign loan papers instead of making her come to you
  • give employees the “Nordie” mindset so they can deliver on the promise as needed
  • dispense hand sanitizing wipes at the drive through

if your slogan is "We Make Banking Easy" you could:

  • ensure your digital branch technology is second to none
  • pre-fill paperwork so when you meet with customers, their time is kept to a minimum
  • set up automatic approvals of safe deposit box and CD renewals
  • don’t charge for depositing checks by mobile phone

It's easy to come up with ideas on your own. What's hard is establishing consistent actions that deliver the brand experience for customers every time. While the marketing department might take the lead, this will require the efforts of a cross-functional team: HR, operations and other departments must work together with marketing to make it happen.

If you develop brand experiences that truly differentiate your institution from your competition, your marketing ROI will exponentially grow. When you do, your brand will be worth more than its weight in gold.

If you need to spiff up your bland—er, we mean brand—call Martha at 785.969.6203.