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Bank Branding: Why the Strong Brands Win

Bank Branding: Why the Strong Brands Win

If you want to stand out from the crowd when your customers shop for bank accounts, you first need to establish yourself as a strong brand.

As marketers, we try to understand consumers and their buying behaviours. Many brands fail to realise that we're not so different from each other as consumers—we all look for meaning and value in our purchases. 

While the world changes rapidly around us, we're looking for that tiny sliver of time we can spend with our favourite brands. We want to know that we can turn to them for a little peace and tranquillity during our day.

One of the best ways to get potential customers to notice you is to create a strong brand for yourself and your bank. Doing so shows your customers that you are different from other banks and better than others. You are the bank that cares about them, and you are the bank that has their best interest at heart. Essentially, you are offering something that makes them feel good about you and only you.

We've all seen banks or retailers trying out new logos and branding in hopes of standing out from the crowd. Unsurprisingly, most of these efforts fail to generate significant results.

To understand the difference between a bank with a strong brand and one without, we've looked at 5 of the most critical factors that create strong bank branding.

Why Banks Should Build a Solid Brand

Bank Of England Branding Identity

The banking sector has had a rocky year, with scandals, fraud, and cyberattacks. It's a time when banks need to put together a strong brand strategy to convince customers that they are here to stay.

But the challenges for banks extend beyond rebuilding consumer confidence. Banks are also trying to cope with the increased competition from tech giants such as Google and Amazon. Consumers increasingly use alternative channels to research products and compare prices, making banks less attractive.

However, there is still plenty to gain from maintaining solid relationships with customers, says Stephen Wood, a banking analyst at KPMG. “There is a sense that banks are still very much stuck in a pre-digital world,” he explains.

Banks should use digital platforms to build strong brands, says Wood. They should provide a seamless user experience across channels, use AI to anticipate customer needs, and create a strong brand image through consistent branding and design.

This will help banks overcome the obstacles that the tech giants pose. The technology giants have access to a lot more data and can offer a more personalised service than traditional banks, which are constrained by the laws governing financial services.

“A customer has no idea whether they are dealing with a bank or a tech company,” says Wood. “Customers want to know whom they are dealing with, what product and service they are offering, how to reach them, and how much it will cost.”

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One area where banks could improve their performance is in terms of customer experience, says Wood. 

“Customers are always on the lookout for the best value, so banks have to make sure they are providing them with what they are looking for,” he says.

“Banks must move away from the transactional model and consider customer relationships. They should start thinking of themselves as advisors to the customer rather than as intermediaries,” adds Wood.

Digital platforms can provide banks with the insights needed to be good advisors. “AI-enabled chatbots will be able to answer a variety of questions, such as which financial products will suit a customer best,” he says.

According to Wood, banks must also be innovative in their customers' products. “They are offering products which customers find hard to understand, such as the increasing number of products offered by fintech,” he explains.

“People can't understand what fintechs are offering, so they are going to them to ask questions,” he says. “Customers need to feel that they are receiving a consistent level of support from banks, which means they need to be offering the same products and services in the same way.”

The next generation of banking will include “the customer at the heart of the business, not just the customer at the end of the process,” says Wood. “It's about building a relationship and understanding what the customer is trying to achieve.”

To do this, banks will need to work on improving the “human element,” says Wood. “They will need to train their people to be ambassadors, helping their customers navigate the new environment,” he says.

Banks are also going to need to spend money on marketing. “Marketing budgets are likely to shrink for the foreseeable future,” says Wood. “It's going to be tough, but banks must invest in their brand.”

5 Elements of Strong Bank Branding

Digital Bank Branding Example

The Five Elements of Strong Bank Branding include:

  • A clear mission statement.
  • A strong vision and values statement.
  • A strong identity.
  • A robust set of core values.
  • An engaged customer.

Let's take a look at each one of these five elements of strong bank branding in more detail:

A strong mission statement.

When you think about your bank brand, how does it make you feel? Does it make you feel you belong, are valued, and can be trusted? A strong mission statement will help to build this feeling in your customers, helping them to trust you. It is a statement of what you stand for, what you value and how you would like to be perceived.

A strong vision and values statement.

Your vision and values should help define you, your brand and how you operate as a business. They are your guiding principles for how you wish to conduct your business. Your values should be your guiding principles for how you want to conduct yourself. They are the reasons why you are here and the reasons why you exist in the world.

A strong identity.

The best brands have a unique and recognisable identity. Your bank brand should reflect who you are and what you stand for. This means it must be a strong, consistent and coherent identity.

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A strong set of core values.

Your bank brand should have strong core values that are most important to you and your customers. If you are unsure about these core values, it is worth having a conversation with your team to discuss them and then writing them down. It will help you focus on what matters to you.

An engaged customer.

Your bank brand needs to engage your customers. It needs to be relevant to your customers, and it needs to be relevant to them. It should provide value to them. 

Suppose your brand doesn't engage your customers. In that case, it won't matter whether you have a robust set of core values, a strong vision and values statement, a clear mission statement or whether you are providing an exceptional customer experience.

The 5 Elements of Strong Bank Branding can help create a positive feeling around your brand to make you feel valued, trusted, and part of something bigger than yourself. If you are interested in building a solid bank brand, you may wonder how to start. 

The first step is to decide what you want your bank brand to be. Then, it is vital to get your team together to agree on a clear mission statement, a strong vision and values statement, a robust set of core values and an engaged customer.

If you would like any further information on building solid bank branding, don't hesitate to get in touch with our Customer Experience team, who can assist with any of the following:

  • Building a solid mission statement
  • Identifying a clear vision and values statement
  • Assessing your bank brand and how it reflects your personality
  • Building a solid set of core values
  • Engaging with your customers
  • Raising awareness of your bank brand

How to Build a Brand Strategy

Bank Brand Strategy Example

A bank's brand strategy must include two elements: a customer strategy and a market strategy. This article will explain each element and how to build one.

Customer strategy

A bank's customer strategy focuses on customers and their relationship with a bank. A customer strategy is crucial because it includes everything about a customer's experience. So, if a customer feels appreciated by the bank, they will feel a sense of loyalty and trust in the bank.

Market strategy

The bank's market strategy focuses on the market and what the bank has to offer the market. A bank's market strategy is a part of its overall marketing strategy. The marketing strategy should provide a detailed plan to deliver a bank's brand promise.

For instance, a bank may offer its customers services like loans and mortgages. It will make sure that these services are delivered on time and correctly. It will also make sure that the loan application is processed correctly. A bank's marketing strategy should tell its customers what it does and why. It should also tell them how it intends to use this information to get a return on its investment.

A bank's customer and market strategies should determine its vision and how it plans to accomplish that. It should also be focused on what the bank will do in the future.

How Banks Lose Market Share

When a bank is hit by fraud or runs into difficulties, how do they lose market share? The answer is usually: badly.

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There are many reasons banks lose customers. The financial crisis has made us wary of banks is just one factor. Banks are seen to be part of a broader culture of financial irresponsibility.

So how can banks build their reputation for reliability and competence when they are not reliable and competent? The solution is for banks to invest in their brand. They need to understand their customers' concerns, address them, and explain their steps to ensure things never happen again. And banks have to act as role models, encouraging other organisations to follow suit.

Banks should be responsible and transparent about their business practices, procedures and systems. This is a big challenge. It is easy to claim to be customer-friendly and then say things like, “we will not allow this kind of fraud to happen again.” But the truth is that they will not know if they are successful until the next fraud case occurs.

It is not surprising that banks have had to pay such a high price for their failures.

How to win back market share

Bank Branding Mobile App

Banks have been slow to adopt social media tools. But with the rise of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Social media channels have become the new place to broadcast brand messages. Social media advertising can be seen as an extension of brand communication. However, brands need to know how to use social media effectively to benefit. Here are some ideas to make this happen.

Build a Brand Social Media Presence

In today's world, having a presence on social networks is essential. The more popular and visible a brand is, the easier it is to reach out to customers and other interested parties. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide a powerful platform for promoting a brand. The key to successful social media marketing is to know what you want to achieve.

Know Your Audience

Social media marketing is a two-way street. While you can target a broad range of consumers, you must know your target audience. For instance, when using Twitter, it's essential to understand the different demographic groups within the Twitter community, especially teenagers and young adults. Knowing what type of message and style you want to send will help determine the strategy you will follow.

Create Content and Interact

Once you have built your brand social media presence, you must create content related to your target market. You can do this through blogging, videos, podcasts, and many other forms of media. But it would be best if you did it with a purpose. The goal of social media content should be to inform and interact with the target audience.

Use Relevant Images

To engage your audience, you need to offer images and visuals. When choosing images, consider the following:

  • Think about the visual appeal of the image. Is it professional? Does it attract attention?
  • Use relevant keywords in the image title.
  • Keep the image file size as small as possible.
  • Create a high-resolution image to ensure the best viewing experience.
  • Make sure the image is optimised for search engine optimisation.
  • Use relevant keywords and phrases in the image's description.
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Think Like a Customer

The social media landscape has changed customer relationships. Customers now have a say in what they want. Brands can respond to what their audience wants and act accordingly. But the trick is knowing what your audience wants. Understanding the target audience and their needs will go a long way in providing a superior product and service.

Use Social Media as an Advertising Tool

Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer a variety of ways to advertise. These channels allow businesses to promote their products and services uniquely. They also allow businesses to access a wide range of potential customers. Social media also provides the opportunity to share information. The idea is to share information and let people choose the products they want to buy.

It would help to consider how you can benefit from these powerful new tools. With the right approach and planning, you can use this technology to promote your brand, build a loyal customer base, and increase sales.

What Is Brand Equity?

Bank Brand Equity Chart

Brand equity is a brand's value–the total goodwill it generates for consumers. It is a complex concept but here, we attempt a brief explanation of how brands are created and the benefits they bring to the business.

Brands are built on consumer knowledge

Brands are built on information. They are based on what consumers expect of a product or service, which leads us to our next point. Consumers have expectations of products and services created through previous purchases.

We have all heard the phrase ‘you buy it once, you buy it twice', meaning that consumers will buy a product because it meets their expectations. In other words, if a product doesn't meet expectations, consumers won't purchase it.

Consumers can be highly discerning and have a choice of products and services. They can use their knowledge of what is expected to help them choose what products to purchase.

Consumers are often faced with many options when choosing between products. For instance, they may be offered many types of toothpaste or a wide range of detergents and fabric conditioners. In this case, they must choose between these options based on their benefits.

What makes a brand successful?

As mentioned above, consumers must buy a product or service to meet their expectations. In other words, they must choose a brand because it meets their needs.

This is the basis of brand equity. Brands are built on the fact that consumers choose to purchase them because they meet their needs.

Brands need to be unique

Consumers look for unique brands. They want to see and feel that the brand differs from the competition. This is because consumers are more likely to trust a brand that stands out from the crowd. Consumers will pay more for a product or service when they know the brand is unique.

Brands build trust

If a brand is trusted, consumers are more willing to purchase the product or service. This is because they are more confident about the quality of the product.

The next thing to remember is that when consumers trust a brand, they are much more likely to purchase it again. Trust is built with every purchase.

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Brands are worth more than the sum of the parts.

Consumers do not buy brands in isolation. The brand is an asset to the business that owns it.

Brands build reputations for companies

A brand provides a company with a certain reputation. Consumers choose a particular brand because they believe the company behind the brand has certain qualities.

The company's positive aspects, such as reliability and trustworthiness, can be transferred onto the brand. Therefore, consumers are more likely to choose a brand which they think is associated with good qualities.

Brands cost money

Some brands are expensive to produce and advertise. Others are cheap and easy to produce. What costs money is the time, effort and money the business spends to make the brand successful. It also requires the investment of money into the advertising of the brand.

All businesses want to invest money to promote their brand, so how do they decide how much to spend? The amount spent on promoting a brand depends on its potential to generate a return.

Consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if they know it will be worth the extra money. This is why creating a unique brand that builds a reputation of trust is vital.

How to increase brand equity

How To Build Brand Equity

As a brand, you need to make sure that you have brand equity. Brand equity measures how much your target audience recognises your brand. You can improve your brand equity by using different marketing tools such as advertising, marketing campaigns, promotions, branding, etc.

One of the most effective methods of enhancing your brand equity is through advertisements. You should advertise your products or services to build your brand equity. This is because people tend to respond favourably to familiar brands.

In the case of banks, brand equity is significant because they deal with high-income individuals who tend to be conservative about spending their money. Therefore, to improve the brand equity of a bank, you should focus on how your bank is perceived.

Marketing campaigns are the most common way for your bank to increase its brand equity. A marketing campaign is an approach used by a business to attract potential customers. You can use different types of campaigns to enhance your brand equity. These include print, radio, television, Internet, mobile phone, etc.

As a bank, you can start by creating a logo and branding your products and services. The logo should communicate the purpose of your business and should also include the bank's slogan or motto. You should use these elements to establish yourself as a credible institution that people can trust.

You can also use different forms of promotional marketing to increase your brand equity. These include giving away prizes to customers. You can also send discounts to people who use your services. You can also give discounts to regular customers. You can also use special offers to reward your existing customers.

You must establish a good relationship with your customers when marketing campaigns. You can do this by offering quality services at affordable prices. You can also make sure that your staff is well-trained. You can also offer your customers the chance to meet your employees.

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You can also use other ways to increase your brand equity. One of these ways is through the use of customer service. You should ensure that your customers know whom to contact in case of problems. You can also make sure that you respond quickly to complaints.


The strong brands have developed unique and memorable identities, and they keep those identities consistently alive through all aspects of marketing communications. They take advantage of a wide range of marketing communication channels. They build their brand awareness through traditional and digital marketing strategies that appeal to the entire consumer audience. They use social media to communicate effectively and recognise the importance of investing in good creative and production values.

Learn the bank branding strategies and tactics that make banks like Bank of America, HSBC, Chase, and US Bank stand out in the crowd.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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