Inside-out Blog

Don't leave employees (and customers) in the dark

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.

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Stop calling on the usual suspects for your advisory board

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.

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What tourist-y restaurants can teach banks about being sticky

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.

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Bankers: how excellent service devalues your brand

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?!

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16 easy ways to make commercial customers feel like rock stars

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.

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The surprisingly effective response to a customer complaint

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.

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4 tips to spark board engagement

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.

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Big Bad Wolves are not real—and there are no silver bullets

eye of a wolf brandThe monster lurking around the corner isn’t the economy or absence of a marketing budget. It’s a lack of strategy that keeps you from achieving your business development goals.

While Jack had magic beans, you don't.

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Marketing minimalism can create large ripples

pond rippleDoing the minimum.

This has such a negative connotation in our culture, but what if you embraced that concept? What’s the minimum you need to do in order to create the desired impact or change?

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Finding the Financial Forest in the Trees

big eye seen through magnifying glassSometimes when you’re working in the the business instead of on the the business, you lose sight of the big picture. You become so embedded in the details, the view is myopic. You’re dealing with trees when you should be managing the forest.

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Break the ice: 4 ways to better cold calls

defrost your cold callsWhether you’re growing customers, pitching a reporter or recruiting board members, you have to make some asks. It can be uncomfortable. But to advance your objectives, you’ve gotta brave the cold.

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Sweet 16: a (brand) new year is here

sweet 16 for your brand thumbnailThough this week heralds the arrival of a brand new year, we’ll be making resolutions for 2017 before we know it.

Don't let 2016 slip away because you were too busy.

Here are 16 strategies for a stronger, more profitable brand.

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Quit telling people you have clean restrooms

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.

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Pardon me, but your slip is showing

your brand slip is showingOccasionally a slip-up can make your brand look bruised. More than one can make it smell rotten. Your competitors may find it as entertaining as a Marx Brothers sketch. You won't.

Here are some trouble spots to look out for—and what to do about them.

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Practice makes permanent: for music and brands

piano lessons: practice makes permanentYou're heard the expression "practice makes pefect." Esteemed music professionals will tell you a better motto is "practice makes permanent."  

Here are their words of wisdom for bankers who want their business to perform like  rockstars.

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Choosy brands choose Groucho—right?

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.

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3 better ways to launch your next campaign: start with employees

employees help launch bank brands It’s time for an update. You’ve held the focus groups, shopped the competition and worked with your agency to create a brand that truly differentiates your institution from all others. One caveat: don’t launch it to customers and the public without a memorable premier for your most critical audience—employees.  

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Why your officer calling program is destined to fail

Bad sales program is a fail for bankersYou have new marketing brochures, a fantastic iPad sales presentation and you’re ready to turn your bankers loose. You're certain this is the time they’ll get out there and land some shiny new relationships.

Will they do it? Or are you going to be disappointed again? Here are 3 reasons your campaign is destined to fail—and how to fix it.

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Why a sales contest can put your brand on dangerously thin ice

bank brand on thin iceLast week at a social event, I spoke with a man who works at a local community bank. I asked about his job and he shocked me by saying “I hate it!” then told me about how he and his associates are pressured to sell additional products to customers and he feels it’s “immoral to try and sell them things they don’t need.” Yes, he said immoral.

This is frighteningly thin ice—especially for a financial brand.

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You're not making it easy for me to do business with you

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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Do I have that "new customer" smell?

dog sniffing out new customerOr have you gotten used to me? Every employee at every institution should be sniffing out new ways to help me as a customer—and build the business.

I recently visited a bank that is making a deliberate shift to a sales culture.

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3 things every bank can learn from IKEA

IKEA FamilyThink IKEA is just about low-cost furniture for dorms? Think again. It's a company well-founded in purpose, offering nesting and affordable design for all. IKEA can teach every banker how to grow loyalty and profit from the inside out. Read on for our 3 favorite ways:

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Employees: the power brokers of your brand

MBPiland Brand Touchpoint Infographic.Cropped2You work very hard to craft a consistent brand message. That only takes you so far.

The real power brokers of the brand are employees. Read more for just a glimpse of all the ways they can help build the brand—or torpedo it.

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Business spaghetti: stop waiting to see what sticks

marketing tactics like spaghetti"Things change so fast, there's no room for a plan," we've heard more than once—from more than one CEO. They don't want to be tied down, so they throw out random tactics and wait to see what sticks. Here are 3 ways to be ready for change while still working a smart plan for your brand.

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Environmental Branding for Total Brand Immersion

brand-immersion-croppedCreating a powerful brand experience goes far beyond having a sign outside and welcome mat at the front door. It's about expressing the brand's personality and promise everywhere. Read on for ways your environment can get your brand off the B list.

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5 ways to get a super sticky, can't-put-it-down brand

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.

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3 ways you can take your customer service from good to incredible

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 3.12.00 PMHere you are: Sensational Mr. or Ms. Business Person. But the sad truth is, if your company is selling a product or service, it's probably viewed by customers as a commodity they can get anywhere.

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