Laurie has over 20 years of go-to-market strategy experience and is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Smarsh.
It’s no surprise that a modern business’ success hinges on its brand — or lack of brand. In fact, a Strategy& study showed that brand identity had a significant positive impact on total shareholder return.
Whether you work for a large financial firm, a small startup or anything in between, your goal should be the same: to create a strong identity, surface values, build trust and find clear ways to communicate the brand through digital marketing.
The financial services industry has gone digital, and the competition is fierce. Now that many people are looking for financial information online, firms should learn how to attract clients and retain them by crafting a digital brand.
Consistency Across Channels
Consistency is the cornerstone of building a successful brand. After all, if your company looks and sounds different every day, how can potential customers ever get to know your firm and what it offers? A cohesive logo, color scheme, design and tone of voice are just table stakes when it comes to building a consistent brand identity.
Your brand needs to be visible across all platforms, including your website, social media and even in-person interactions with customers. All of these touchpoints should align with your brand’s chosen values and messaging. When your messaging is aligned across channels and the tone and voice of your content don’t waver, you’ve achieved consistency.
Personalized Customer Experiences
Personalization plays an outsized role in financial service brand building. Many banks have seen their customer retention rates decline drastically in the last several years. This decline is mainly due to customers feeling that they don’t have a personal connection with the company or its brand. A great way for financial firms to increase their customer retention rate is by providing personalized and relevant experiences to segmented audiences. As I outlined in a previous Forbes article, the first step in this process is understanding what specific customer demographics want and need. Then, it’s about simply and effectively providing it.
Offerings like customized investment advice, tailored product recommendations, and other hyper-focused content are all ways financial service companies can practice personalized digital marketing. By analyzing user data, firms can identify trends and use these insights to guide how they position their brands in the current market.
One of the most critical components of any effective branding strategy is omnichannel marketing that speaks specifically to each channel’s users. For example, an omnichannel digital marketing strategy might include an email newsletter to announce new services to existing customers, social media posts to share your firm’s insights on current events in the financial industry and targeted ads that direct specific audiences to landing pages.
Each channel has its own purpose and can feed into how you achieve higher brand awareness. In the past, financial service touchpoints consisted primarily of occasional, in-person interactions with a firm. Today, touchpoints should be more frequent and happen through various digital channels like SMS, email, social media and apps.
Meeting Customers Where They Are
It’s no secret that technology has changed the way consumers interact with brands. Consumers are more skeptical than ever, and younger generations have different expectations from brands than their parents did. In fact, in 2016, NTT Data, Inc. (via Businesswire) found that “23% of consumers would consider leaving their bank for a more modern alternative.”
Reading into and adapting to these changes is a huge part of what allows a brand to stay prominent well into the future.
One recent GOBankingRates study (via Yahoo!) showed that 34% of Gen-Z (born between 1997 and 2012) are learning personal finance strategies from social platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Finance companies have an opportunity to start meeting consumers where they are, whether it’s on social media or through paid search ads.
Bringing It All Together
The financial services industry faces a unique challenge when it comes to branding and digital marketing. Standing out among the increasingly noisy financial services space can be daunting, but it can also pay dividends when done correctly.
Because firms manage wealth and financial security in the long term, they need to establish trust with their audience on a much deeper level than an e-commerce business or even another service provider might.
If your customer is to trust you to meet their future (expected and unexpected) needs, they’ll need plenty of reassurance that your firm is up to the task. This can include proving that your firm is complying with industry regulations to handle their money responsibly and transparently.
When woven together effectively, your digital marketing efforts should give you an omnichannel presence and a strong brand that engages and inspires trust. In 2022, I’ve found that many customers aren’t just concerned with where they bank but also with whom they bank. How are you introducing yourself?