business strategy

  • 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:

     

  • pink electric spark for webYour board meets regularly. Maybe they sign loan approvals or give advice. Do they do anything else for you? What about growing your organization? It's time to amp up expectations.

    Whether you’re working with a governing board or an advisory board, here are a few simple steps to spark more engagement from your board of directors and boost your business development program.

  • DHS thumbnail Have you put off planning, budgeting and—dare I say it—dreaming? If so, you’re probably working too much in the business and not enough on the business.

    Don't wait for a crisis. Plan now.

  • vitaminis for your brand It’s an all-too-common malady: sales are flabby or fundraising goals are lagging, so leadership determines that a fresh new ad campaign is just the thing to make everything right.

    When we start asking questions to diagnose the situation, we often discover something else: an internal problem.

  • antacids for brand heartburnWhen a 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.

    Leading with what you have to offer is wasting that precious appointment you finally booked. Start with your prospect's pain and you'll have a much more productive conversation.

  • 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.

  • bad tag for business processesIt’s been a while, but I’m still fuming about the dry cleaner who wrote my name inside my clothes. With a Sharpie. Really!? This isn’t summer camp and I’m not 8 years old.

    While this happened months ago, I’m still dismayed.

  • 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.

    That's a big, bland problem.

  • open door webEveryone is busy. Like many high-performing employees, your people may be running as fast as they can. The problem: somewhere along the line, they’ve been taught to mind their own book of business, not the business of the entire bank. They're in the dark.

  • Dirty laundry dirty brandYou may think that because your website is updated and your new video takes your customers’ breath away that your brand refresh is spotless.

    Employee behavior contrary to your brand promise will soil your brand overnight.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

    A couple of the frat boys next door thought it was hilarious. 

  • Foosball table is not cultureWatch any company’s recruitment video these days and you’re likely to see a foosball table, an espresso bar and a workout room. You may be wondering if you need those to attract great employees, too.

    While games and fancy coffee are nice “extras,” they’re not the foundation of your culture. There are better ways to cultivate a winning internal brand.

  • lip service for your financial brandMany financial institutions struggle with differentiating themselves in this commodity-mindset industry. “We need a new slogan,” they say. And, “let’s talk about our great service.”

    Service is not a position and you’ve got to pay more than lip service to your brand.

  • Casablanca title 2Lots of community banks have an advisory board of 8-10 local movers and shakers. Some of these boards have diverse representation. Unfortunately, many are filled the usual suspects. If you want to stand the test of time, you must attract and retain the next generation of movers and shakers.

  • brand danger parking brake on If you ever put your car in drive with your parking brake engaged, the car lets you know it right away. Ignore the warning at your own peril.

    You know not to do it to your car. So why let it happen to your brand?

  • old school sales process bad for businessOld school sales guys will tell you sales is just a numbers game. Get enough prospects into the funnel and they’ll dump out X% of customers at the bottom. Easy.

    News flash, Herb Tarlek: your lack of a system is as outdated as your plaid polyester coat.

  • 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?

    It's time to step back and think about how you can help others with more innovation and less "banking as usual."

  • Customer and employee journey Marketers are spending a lot of time talking about the customer journey. We’re not hearing the same talk about the employee journey, and that’s a shame. Because the customer journey with your brand will be bumpy at best if the employee journey isn’t thoughtfully mapped out and put into action first.

  • 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?

  • What will you NOT do for your brandMany organizations have spent a significant amount of time thinking—and talking—about what they will do.

    “We will deliver excellent service every time,” or “we will always be at the forefront of innovation.”

    But what won’t you do?

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