Effective strategy leverage branding and marketing to make an emotional connection with your audience. Research shows your financial brand will have a 35% higher lifetime value if it makes an emotional connection. That’s 35% more value — not from technology, rates or even the customer journey. Just from branding. It’s that powerful and should be central to your bank’s strategic plans.
According to analytics platform FICO, 52% of consumers are more likely to open an online bank account than before the Covid-19 pandemic; Forbes notes that nearly eight in 10 consumers now prefer to bank digitally. Those numbers can’t be ignored in your strategic branding plan.
To stay competitive and release untapped opportunities, forward-thinking financial leaders are introducing incremental innovations that can bring updated tools and efficiencies to market quickly. They are also entering niche markets and offering targeted niche products and services for specific communities, along with tailored branding that helps deliver sizeable results.
Redefine Community With Real Client Data
Community is no longer a physical construct. Banks can take advantage of this by bringing new products to market that serve specifically defined communities with branding that galvanizes these customers to action. Niche financial products and brands resonate in groups defined by their profession, culture, passion or any other identify demarcations.
To help identify a customer segment that’s a natural fit for your financial institution, first consider your own analytics. Often, incisive data analysis can reveal patterns like a high concentration of consumers in particular fields or stages of life that can benefit from tailored services that your institution can provide.
Leverage Niches to Your Advantage
More than a few community banks have chosen to invest in niche opportunities, from full-service banking experiences to bespoke products that serve specific needs. For example, Greenwood, an offering from Coastal Community Bank, a $3.1 billion bank based in Everett, Washington, is tailored for customers who identify as members of the African American and Latinx communities or seek to support them.
Greenwood’s “financial movement” offers incentives such as automated meal donations linked to account creation, spare change round-ups that benefit charities and monthly small business grants to Black- and Latinx-owned businesses. This community reinvestment, combined with personal financial education tools and requisite security and convenience, makes for a powerful branding package to Greenwood’s audience.
Watseka, Illinois-based IF Bancorp launched Hitched in 2021, marketing its digital brand to help newlyweds build shared financial strength. Solutions such as shared savings, collaborative goal setting and financial education for couples help this unique community of consumers build their financial future together. Hitched partnered with popular wedding sites like WeddingWire and leveraged bold, eye-catching design to make a splash as a new banking brand.
To appeal to young Generation Z consumers, Holyoke, Massachusetts-based PeoplesBank developed ZYNLO,. ZYNLO offers mobile-optimized account opening, early access to direct-deposited paychecks, daily balance alerts and 24/7 customer support. To market these offerings, ZYNLO partnered with social media influencers in home renovation, dining out and finance for endorsements that resonated with young consumers.
Try All Ideas, Big and Small
Finding your bank’s niche does not have to mean fully reinventing your brand. Financial brands that identify niche markets can start building brand loyalty by providing new, digital solutions to their shared problems. Transformation can start with something as simple as one new or reimagined service, branded for a specific community. Implementing micro-innovations to serve them can power change for now and beyond.
As financial institutions look to modernize their decision-making processes and build strong brands, it’s important to consider the evolving concept of community in the digital age. By identifying and targeting specific groups of consumers with tailored services and branding, financial brands can build relationships and drive growth in the digital marketplace.
It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel to appeal to niche customers. But it is necessary to understand their needs and provide functional solutions. Start by solving their biggest problem and delighting them with services that speak to them with ongoing micro-innovations that reinforce loyalty to your brand.