Revitalizing Community Bank Brand Equity

Refresh. Revitalize. Rebrand.

Get Sales and Profits Growing.

Older community banks have built substantial brand equity over the lifetime of their bank. Many of these organizations are constantly wrestling with ways to get their financial institution growing at a level that will satisfy their board of directors.

While there are many possible solutions to jump-starting their growth, this blog will examine a couple ways community banks have taken to get their bank on a sustainable growth path.

Most community banks have been adding technology to their consumer and business products, while also updating to new technologically advanced services to serve their customers better. These investments are being added to help their bank compete with other local community banks, credit unions, regional and national banks that operate in their footprint market.

In fact, many community banks have updated their websites, enhanced their presence on social media, made significant changes in sales culture and even launched new marketing programs only to see very little change in their sales and profits.

So why haven’t these changes worked?

Leap Marketing believes that their current brand and positioning is not helping most community banks get credit for those investments and sales culture changes with their current customers and future prospects.

Here are a couple approaches that have helped solve this situation.

Like many community banks, Bank of Galesville worked extremely hard at differentiating their brand by identifying themselves with the local communities they served.  In fact, this bank’s approach was to name their branches after the local towns where they were located.

While this community branding approach worked for many years, it also created execution and cost efficiency problems with marketing, difficulty building the overall brand awareness of the larger corporation and development of growth plans for this 136 year old financial institution beyond their current footprint.

The management of Bank of Galesville made a decision to rebrand themselves as Bluff View Bank and to reposition themselves in the larger geographical area where their current and future facilities would be located.

They created a new brand positioning and relaunched their bank’s brand to get their bank on a new growth path. This approach has worked and combined with a new communications and marketing plan is producing some outstanding results in a short period of time.

Other financial institutions we work with have made decisions to update their logo, tagline and develop a new marketing approach launched with new advertising campaigns to leverage all the changes they have invested in over the last few years.

If you are considering this updating approach, please take a few moments to look at Leap Marketing’s blog on how the marketing communications rules have changed for community banks because that environment has been undergoing radical changes over the last few years.

The Brand Equity Lifecycle

A primary principle of marketing is that every brand travels through a brand equity and performance lifecycle. So, while you don’t necessarily need to change the name of the company, you do need to find a way to refresh the look and positioning of the brand to regain sales and profit momentum.

The impact of brand equity has been evaluated by universities and companies across the globe for years. The sales and profits lifecycle of companies that have undertaken a revitalization of their brand are represented by the refresh line, while others who haven’t are represented by the sales and profits line that is in decline.

Bluff View Bank’s decision to relaunch their brand puts them at the very beginning of the brand equity lifecycle and the bank will enjoy years of sales and profit growth before they will need to consider updating their brand again.

Brand Equity

A brand relaunch, like Bluff View Bank, does require a revolution of sorts. Everything at the bank needs to be updated. Creating a logo, updating all their forms of communication with customers and employees, updating all their vendor agreements and even registering their new name with financial regulators and the U.S. patent office.

However, there are ways to update one’s logo and tagline that will revitalize their brand.  A revitalization effort of this nature doesn’t require a revolutionary effort, but can be staged as an evolution that takes place over a period of time.

What impacts the slope of the increased sales and profits is directly related to pace and depth of the brand revitalization effort, whether it be a new brand relaunch or updating an older brand without changing the name of the brand.

The scope and pace of the revitalization effort is directly related to the impact experienced. The greater the change and pace of that change is known to produce better results more quickly. In fact, if a revitalization effort is executed properly, it can literally generate sales and profit results similar to the original introduction of the brand itself.

However, if the pace of change is too slow, the impact will be more muted, and runs the risk of not grabbing the attention of the customers and prospects. Sometimes this approach will under-perform sales and profit expectations.

The pace of change can help control expenses, while generating a controlled, operationally sensitive change that will inspire the team members of the bank to help you grow the newly updated brand.

That is where Leap Marketing comes in.  The agency has helped many community banks, like Bluff View Bank, revitalize their brands. We can help you develop a plan for revitalizing your brand equity and generate a recommendation to help you differentiate your financial institution in your market or footprint.

If you would like to learn more about brand revitalization, just drop us an email or give John Verre or Laura Bonesteel a call at 262-436-4080.

Leap Marketing is an associate member of these community bank organizations.