Understanding how your brand message resonates internally and externally will help you grow
At Raddon, a Fiserv company, we work closely with financial institutions to ensure they are using insights and data to create intelligent action plans for growth.
We’ve observed that institutions showing the strongest performance actively cross-sell households to ensure a deeper share of wallet and minimize the number of single-product households. And that translates to greater profitability per household over time. Successful institutions employ a multitude of data-driven levers to get such results, including in-depth market research and customer surveys, as they seek to match their core competencies with the needs of consumers.
But before any external brand marketing programs can be effective, there is foundational work to do inside the organization. Every financial institution needs to consider two basic questions as it takes its brand proposition to the marketplace with ambitions for growth.
1. Culture is king: Are your employees engaged and delivering on your brand promise?
In this high-tech, high-touch world, your employees are a distinct asset when it comes to achieving strategic market depth. Often, they are the front-line image of your organization. It is imperative that you understand their viewpoint to help them deliver the right message as your brand ambassadors.
At Raddon, we research and spend time with financial institutions to understand employees’ perspectives on their work roles and their ability to contribute to the financial institution’s brand. We also recommend that institutions solicit the views of various departments about how well they support each other within the organization.
The departmental view. The information you gather here needs to measure not only a department’s self-ratings, but also its ratings by other departments. At Raddon, we suggest doing a gap analysis: Gauge self-perceptions of the delivery of services, and then compare those to the ratings of service delivery from outside departments to get the most accurate picture and discern what kind of help your employees need.
The results may shed light on multiple scenarios:
- Are your departments too humble? If so, coaching should be centered on encouragement and helping them see they are delivering well against expectations.
- Are the departments too boastful? Some departments may feel they are delivering to their internal customers better than they actually are. A gap analysis based on solid research will identify coaching and development opportunities to help the team understand where they are not meeting expectations.
- What do accountholders say? Compare the employees’ evaluations to the results of accountholder satisfaction surveys (which you should be conducting regularly) to identify gaps that may need to be addressed. Again, compared with accountholder expectations, are your employees humble or boastful? Then, develop processes, procedures and expectations to adjust and coach accordingly.
Employee engagement. This type of research helps an organization discover cheerleaders among the staff. It helps gauge overall satisfaction and whether employes are willing to tell their friends and family about working at your organization. Once you can identify, categorize and measure staff responses in this area, you can make changes to the organizational culture to drive greater employee satisfaction with the company, the social atmosphere, the rewards of the job and, ultimately, the job itself.
Employee contributions to the brand. Your employees have good ideas. They can help you identify areas for improvement relating to accountholder satisfaction, the likelihood of customers to recommend your institution and how easy it is to do business with your organization. Your staff knows these things because many of them have direct contact with accountholders. Their insights are invaluable. Ask for them.
2. Disciplined management and metrics: Do you know yourself?
As you cultivate your staff as brand ambassadors, you need to refine the message they carry to consumers. That begins with really knowing your organization, using data tools and disciplined analysis to understand what your financial institution needs for growth, and how to get it.
First things first. Start with your business model and review your demographic makeup. Understanding this will help you focus on product, channel delivery and employee needs to deliver the right products and services to the right people at the right time.
Growth essentials. Growth in new households and accountholders will often be stronger if you have a robust branch presence, have a positive brand image and are seen in your community as a helpful corporate citizen. Review and research these factors as they exist for your institution, and make a plan to effect any needed changes.
Tapping your base. The quickest path to growth requires effective engagement and cross-selling to your current accountholders. That means you have to know them, and your relationship, well. For example, how many of your households added a product they actively use (that carries a balance) in the past six months? The industry average for this metric is around 10%, but high-performance institutions get closer to 14%. Know your number in this category. This measurement helps determine if you have engaged households.
If your results are low in this area, it could be for several reasons. Ask these questions:
- How strong is your primary financial institution (PFI) status with your accountholders?
- Do you have the right products and services, priced effectively, to meet the needs of your demographics?
- How strong is your sales culture? Are your employees (especially those at the front line) asking consumers for their business and delivering on your brand promise?
Success in cross-selling into new and existing households will help reduce your number of single-product households. Aim first for a benchmark of two to three products per household. And for those households that already have two to three products with you, focus on the next, best product for that particular household or accountholder to move to the four-plus level.
The bottom line
With a focus on deepening your relationships, you can enjoy a higher deposit and loan profit per household. But remember: Before your financial institution makes a renewed effort to push a refined brand proposition to the marketplace outside, make sure you’re doing the necessary prep work on the inside. That means knowing well where your institution stands today, and commissioning employees as brand ambassadors to deliver your message to consumers.