community banks

  • MM sweeten your brandAre you making yourself indispensable to your business customers? Treat them like rock stars and they’ll have little reason to consider doing business with other institutions.

    You don't have to stock their offices with M&M's (minus a certain color) and a special brand of sparkling water.

  • sticky tapeFor many, branding involves only 1 or 2 sensory experiences. But brands that engage all 5 senses create something super sticky. Like double stick tape, 
it's nearly impossible to put down. Here are 5 ways to bond your brand to its fans.

  • dollar devalued brand mb piland croppedI recently asked a variety of C-level people how often they were called on by a banker trying to get their business. I heard one thing that surprised me—and it’s not what you think.

    Several said they don’t really need a loan, so they weren’t that interested in talking to a banker. Wait. What?!

  • 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.

  • Groucho knows brand strategy inside and outGroucho Marx is famously quoted as resigning from the Delaney Club quipping "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member."

    Whether or not the story is actually true, it leads us to wonder why some brands are so eager to accept just anyone.

  • Groucho knows brand strategy inside and outGroucho Marx is famously quoted as resigning from the Delaney Club quipping "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member."

    Whether or not the story is actually true, it leads us to wonder why some brands are so eager to accept just anyone.

  • 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.

  • nice piggy bank no fees A bank president recently told me he lets safe deposit box rent renewal notices slide because he hates to bug people over something so small, and he wants to be nice.

    It made me wonder whether he’s nice or just afraid to risk irritating a customer over a relatively small fee.

  • 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.

  • hound dog loyalty bankingMy 93-year-old father-in-law Ralph is a WWII veteran and serial entrepreneur. Over the years, he’s owned a night club, a dry cleaning shop, a demolition business—and more. He’s an excellent negotiator and he knows how to lead and inspire a team.

    And he knows first-hand the value of a strong banking relationship.

  • 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.

  • tarnished pennies brandI talk about banking with a lot of people. So last month, someone told me about accidentally hitting “submit” on an ACH twice. Fortunately, a banker called right away to inquire about whether it was a duplicate and got it reversed. There was a $30+ charge for that fix, but it saved some money and hassle in the long run.

    Now, compare that to an accident the bank made on this same company’s credit card accounts.

  • brand is more than clean restroomsToo many institutions tout fast, local loan decisions and personal service like they're the only ones who have it. Guess what: that's as effective as a sign saying "clean restrooms."

    Here are 3 ways to make sure you’re presenting a better and—yes, unique—brand to your customers and prospects.

  • Stop using the S word bankersMany community bankers struggle with getting all of their staffers to feel confident with business development. That’s because staffers are afraid of the *S* word.

    Don’t tell them to SELL, teach them to LISTEN.

    Use our “Business and Baby” rule as your internal rallying cry.

  • 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.

  • 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:

  • banker gift certificateI recently had trouble with a community bank’s technology and emailed a banker there to complain in what I hope was a polite—but very frustrated—manner. The response was swift and unexpected.

     She thanked me.

  • saymyname MB PilandAlmost every community bank will boast that they know their customers by their names. But do you really?

    And do you teach your bankers to go further than just recognizing familiar faces and say customers' names out loud? It might be a little old school - but it will be music to their ears.

  • Wet naps for sticky brandsI was a tourist in Branson, MO recently and as to be expected, had some sub-par experiences in the crowded restaurants. Many seemed perfectly happy offering mediocre food and sticky seats. They know I probably won’t be back, because some other stranger will take my place. They're just in it for today's dollar.

    On the flip side, you actually want stickiness in your institution. You're in it for today's and tomorrow's dollars.

  • BANKERS: WILL YOU NOTICE WHEN I'M GONE?Dear Community Banker X: Your technology is behind. Your ATM is dysfunctional and you don’t seem to care whether I can easily do business with you or not. I’m sending out an SOS.

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