Effective Bank Brand Management Requires Employee Support

Effective brand management by banks requires developing a good relationship with three important targets: market, customers, and the often-ignored employees, who could unintentionally or intentionally disrupt the whole marketing process.

Raddon, a Fiserv company, said in a report it is imperative that marketing leaders think of brand management in the three pillars that make up a financial institution’s brand: market, customers, and employees. All three are critical to the strength of the brand.

The challenge, according to Raddon, is to consistently allocate brand management time and deliverables across all three areas. The report indicated most financial institutions spend brand management time conducting customer surveys, embarking on demanding customer journey mapping, and strategizing ways to improve market share by positioning and delivering a distinctive value proposition of products and services. However, many banks devote insufficient time to managing the brand with employees.

Raddon’s Employee Viewpoint Survey found 55% of employees disconnected with the brand of the typical financial institution. Some 29% are not only detached but actively disruptive and negative toward the institution, even sabotaging the company goals and objectives. Financial institutions need to not only focus their investment of time and money put toward improving the customer experience, but also ensuring they actively engage their frontline sales team their workforce, as well.

Raddon suggested by not managing the institution’s brand with employees, there is a risk of disrupting the brand with customers. When customers encounter a negative experience with a detached or complacent employee, that experience will ultimately negatively impact the brand in your market.

The fastest method to boost employee engagement is to help staff comprehend the company vision, and how their role influences the vision and the bottom line.

Raddon recommended financial institutions formulate a marketing strategy for employees. That involves identifying the audience, channels to use, the way to engage with and seek feedback from associates, and the way to measure success, identify issues and highlight best practices.

Utilizing one-way passive channel communication tools such as emails or post content on an intranet, are not as effective as leveraging interactive channels. Over-reliant on passive technology could lower the quality of communications because messaging is about relationships as well as information.

Suggested communication could include biannual face-to-face branch visits, “lunch and learns” or video chats; quarterly inter-department sit-downs; and monthly managers meetings.

“Just as you would consider how to best position product messaging to resonate with your target market, you must consider how employees will best engage with your messaging,” Karen Kislin, Raddon strategic advisor, recommend in the report all internal communications meet at least one of seven internal communications drivers that help answer, “What’s in it for me?” Such as reward, recognition, opportunity, process, personal pride, product, and working environment.

The Raddon report also recommended measuring marketing and sales success by including metrics that support the vision of the institution, starting with results at the institution level, and then breaking it down by marketing campaign results including product penetration and balance growth. Then drill down the results even further by individual branch sales results.