Lots 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 advisory board's purpose
The real purpose of such a board is to help grow the institution through influence and advocacy. An effective advisory board does 3 things:
1. offers suggestions and insights on how to improve offerings
2. acts as the eyes and ears of their social and business circles to give you good feedback on perceptions of your brand
3. opens doors for new business with referrals and recommendations
which target audiences are eluding you?
Lots of community bankers are scratching their heads about how to attract and retain young professionals. While fintech offerings are a way to be sure you have the right product mix for up-and-coming people, that’s not enough. More of your competitors are adding these products every day. That's not a differentiator, it's an expectation.
go get the Millennials
Be bold. Don’t just add one or two to your existing board (though that might be a start). Go all in. Create a separate advisory board so you can center specific conversations around younger peoples' needs and concerns.
recruiting is easy
- reach out through your local Chamber and civic organizations to spot the ones who are leaders and influencers
- ask your young CSRs and tellers to nominate some peers
- work with a local university to recruit a few of their topnotch seniors in business and entrepreneurship
tailor it to them
- pay an honorarium
- meet at a time convenient to them (don’t assume they’re free for lunch or during business hours)
- ask questions and be ready to listen, even when what they have to say stings a bit
- make a big deal of it: share their recruitment to your board through local media, customer communications and your website.
Once you have input, develop ways to test and put into action the ideas they have. Your job is to listen, act and report back.
If your board looks more like the Old Boys’ Club than the United Colors of Benetton, get busy. Your future customers thank you. Need help getting it underway? Call Martha direct at 785.969.6203.