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Branding Blog

  • Branders: stop shouting and start listening

    megaphone branders must stop shoutingThe strongest brands on earth have a two-sided relationship with their fans. Like any real life relationship, there’s give and take. Speaking and listening.

    If you’re only focused on advertising, posting, tweeting and shouting, you’re going to miss what people say—and think—about your brand.

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  • A dear john letter to my (former) favorite brand

    Dear Brand You Broke My HeartI’ve been a loyal Mercedes Benz driver for nearly 20 years and four different E Class sedans. The last one let me down so hard I won’t go back. The reason: they cut corners and it broke my heart.

    Here’s a warning to brands everywhere about the dangers of subbing cheaper materials and snubbing your loyal fans.

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  • Culture lessons from a turkey wrangler

    Turkey culture bad for businessMy mother grew up in West Virginia. Like many families at that time, hers had a sizable garden and some chickens and turkeys. Typically, my grandmother tended the garden and kept all the myriad household projects neatly organized and running smoothly. (Martha Stewart would be proud.)

    Occasionally, the family’s turkeys made a break for freedom, heading directly for the road in front of the house.

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  • Banish the skeletons in your brand closet

    brush up your brandBranders often overlook or ignore things that can have a big impact on the impressions they make on their customers. Case in point: the coat closet.

    Some organizations inadvertantly leave others with a bad taste in their mouths over their closets—or lack thereof. Here's why:

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  • Do you have a credo? How having a heart matters.

    Martha heart painting croppedWhile many organizations say they have heart, rare are those who have created a culture that truly inspires passion. The word ‘credo’ (I believe) comes from ‘cor do’ (I give my heart).

    Do employees, customers and community give their heart to your brand? Here are some things to seriously consider:

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  • Is your brand as appreciated as an extra button?

    ButtonWhy should you be an “extra button” brand? The extra button brand is the one who gets a customer by when he’s in a pinch. It's the brand that helps a customer save face. It's the brand that has your back.

    Deliver that kind of service, and you’re the life saver that builds unquestionable loyalty.

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  • There's no excuse for "nobody told me."

    orange cross sick brandI recently heard someone in the c-suite of a company say that a key business development strategy hadn’t been launched because nobody told him to do it. I was shocked.

    Why is he waiting—and by whom—to be told? Is this laziness or a symptom of something else?

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  • Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth: an 11 point audit for your internal brand

    Zipped lips hurt brandsKeeping your brand aligned means paying attention to the messaging and stories you tell inside your organization, not just what you say in public.

    Why? Because without an intentional internal brand, your public-facing messages will never be truly authentic.

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  • 10 things that are often overlooked during a brand audit

    Brand Audit Checklist MB PilandKeeping your brand aligned means regularly auditing everything that tells your story. When you evaluate advertising and PR messages, you should never overlook the many other things that speak loud and clear.

    Here’s a starting checklist of additional things to monitor for your public-facing brand:

     

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Financial Blog

  • Better business development starts with heartburn: part 2

    Solve their brand heartburnWhen a bank's business development team gets charged up and ready to call on prospects, they’re often so eager to talk, they forget to find out about what’s keeping the prospect up at night. "Me, me, me!", they say. Don't be that guy.

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  • First national banks are confusing the heck out of us

    First National Bank of No BrandWhen I was a new college freshman, a classmate who was also from out of town attempted to make a deposit in the local “first national bank.” It wasn’t the same “first national” that she had at home, but she hadn’t realized that. Some big confusion about her account ensued. 

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  • What’s green and goes round and round all day?

    Blending bank board culturesYour first answer might conjure playground riddles from first grade: a frog in a blender. But it also might be the answer to a common struggle for merging institutions: their advisory boards.

    Without proper planning and an intentional effort, blending cultures of two advisory boards may cause things to “go round all day.”

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  • Do you live your slogan, or are you a copycat bank?

    me too bank brand signNearly 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.

     

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  • Blending cultures in a merger–3 lessons from the Brady Bunch

    Brady Bunch is like blending bank cultures; Photo from Wikipedia and ParamountMergers and acquisitions are increasingly commonplace in the financial industry. So if your institution is joining or acquiring another, what do you do to ensure a perfectly blended culture that leads to consistent brand and customer experience at all branches?

    Look no further than the '70s-era TV show, the Brady Bunch for inspiration. Here are 3 takeaways you can use to get started.

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  • Strategic alliances can multiply your reach—and your value—to customers

    ripple effect of alliances

    When was the last time you thought about putting your well-known contacts and customers together to bring more value to everyone? As a banker, you know lots of people. Are you using that knowledge to expand your reach?

     

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  • What bankers can learn from Girl Scouts about customer experience

    Girl Scout Cookie for bankersSoon, Girl Scout Cookie Time will return. Over the years you’ve come to expect—and thoroughly enjoy—your purchase experience. Whether your favorite is Thin Mints or Samoas, you might think the cookies are a little pricey. And you also think they’re worth every indulgent bite.

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  • Make your customers look good to their customers and win at customer loyalty

    block and tackle for your brandMany community financial institutions say they’re customer-centric, yet have a brand promise too focused on the bank. What if your brand difference is about helping your customers win with their customers?

    That would merit some roaring fans. Here's how:

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  • Stop hiring tellers—you need listeners

    Stop hiring tellers—you need listeners

    The moniker “teller” has been around in banking since time immemorial. And while it may feel comfortable to you, it sends unintended messages. It positions banker relationships as one-sided—with the bankers holding all the power—and the customer taking what’s doled out.

    You can be better. Here are 3 ways to get started:

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MB Piland Advertising + Marketing: Culture Quiz
MB Piland Advertising + Marketing: Health Check