Bank Brand Identity — Remaining Relevant To Customers?

CEOs, CIOs and pretty soon, CDOs, need to establish a framework with the ‘Outside-In’ lens as a base principle or construct for product and service development.

The banking industry is under pressure — there is a need to improve customer experience, increase revenues, and still ensure costs are contained. A tough task — but a necessary one.

Design has to be at the center of your business. Tolerance levels for a poor user experience is declining as the millennial segment start engaging with businesses.

An increased engagement with your brand, translates to increased usage of services and products. More engagement builds information and data being mined and collected for additional customer insights.

Typically, these type of experiences are cohesive in nature, incorporating multiple eco-systems with open integration capabilities allowing for rich experiences. Altogether, transcending user brand loyalty.

This is the sweet spot: once you’ve established the engagement principles of always enchanting your customers, it will be simpler to create the stickiness required for brand growth and expansion.

Apple is a great example in this regard. I’ll point out a simple change with the release of the latest iPhones. There was an update in the battery charger adapter. It hardly caused an outcry from the consumer — it but only enhances their already enchanted experience when using Apple products.

In contrast, when there is a shift in operations or product changes from a bank, it is so much tougher to sell a new concept or change behaviour because customers do not engage banking services daily. It also implies that the customer journey mapping and experience management is lacking and therefore diminishes adoption rates.

Banks need to start re-imagining the customer experience.

Brand Relevance
According to Interbrand, Apple has topped the brand rankings for 2016, with tech giant Google in the top 5, Amazon and Facebook closing off the top 15.

What is interesting, is that these tech companies have already made their plays in the financial services sector:

For these brands to further extend these opportunities, and with the ease of use and a high propensity for services or product adoption by an existing consumer base — is concerning incumbent financial institutions.

Brand equity helps businesses grow, gain market share and deliver value to customers. What is differentiating banks from the disruptors and entrants into the financial services sectors? Accept for still providing a level of trust to consumers, I dare to posit — not much. Services have to start evolving around the customer and banks should be agile to start building the equity required and surface to the top of well loved brands.

If not already positioned, institutions will have to:

  • Build capabilities from scratch (a challenge due to legacy constraints); or
  • Create strategic alliances (partner with fintech companies to remain relevant) or;
  • Acquire IP where gaps exist in the business.

Digital transformation and delivering enchanting user touch points is ultimately the catalyst in driving future growth and loyalty for banks remaining relevant in today’s demanding consumer economy.

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