The Financial Choice Act is being finalized in Washington and is expected to be enacted in the coming weeks. It allows small banks to escape the debilitating regulations of the Dodd-Frank law. Dodd-Frank imposes such detailed regulations on financial institutions that most small banks were forced out of existence. The new act is said to replace regulation with capitalization. Meaning that if your bank is financially strong enough, you can ignore the regulations that delve into the minutia of your product offerings.
That means small banks won’t have to spend great sums of money just to make sure they are in compliance. It will allow new banks to be established, and existing ones to grow. In essence, whether or not your bank will take advantage of the new law, your competitors will. That means more competition for the finite amount of money in your area.
To take advantage of the new law, existing banks should work toward solidifying their customer base. The most important way is to sell a new product to existing customers, especially those who currently hold only one product. Those second and third products are typically the most profitable for the bank, thereby contributing to raising that Tier One ratio. It currently looks like 10% will be the point at which a bank can opt out of Dodd-Frank.
Bringing in new accounts will likely be more difficult after the law’s passing due to the new competition it is expected to unleash. New banks will be desperate for new business, since they don’t have an existing customer base. That means they will provide stronger reasons for new customers than existing banks are likely to be able to deliver.
My bottom line advice to existing community banks. Cross-Sell and start right now. Don’t wait for the law to do so. The details of the law are just details. The principle is baked in. Before those new competitors are allowed to start, solidify your customer base.
To really reach a prospect or customer, take what you have learned about sales technique, and do it backward.
The traditional method stresses the concept of being different. Specifically, find the category in which you lead, and stress those differences to the right audience. Lets take Michelin as an example. Goodyear is the most popular tire out there. Michelin recognized that and knew it had to lead a sub-category. So it stresses safety. Who can forget the image of an infant safely enjoying sitting in the protection of a Michelin tire?
So introduce your product (the tires), then explain why your offering is different (the safety USP). That is the formula for a USP driven marketing message.
Reverse marketing introduces what your company believes first. It might suggest that your family’s safety is our concern. We use the best materials and build catastrophe out of our products. We make the safest tires on the market. That appeal introduces the company as being concerned about safety first, and the tires are an outgrowth of what they believe, not a way to carve out a niche.
This emotional appeal will allow Michelin to stand out in the mind of the audience. We want to establish a single thought in the mind of our audience. One that transcends words. The emotional appeal is the best way to do that.
The tough part of visiting a prospect is that no matter how well it goes, the minute you leave, they become surrounded by the realities they postponed during your visit. Your equipment list, or quality processes are quickly forgotten. It is because you didn’t reach them on any level other than your impressive statistics. You were appealing to the wrong part of the brain.
For a marketer, the brain has sections, two of which are important. You can divide the brain into the reptilian section, the limbic brain and the neocortex.
The reptilian brain is responsible for reflexes, breathing, hearbeat and fight or flight response. It is the most primitive part of the brain and it really doesn’t concern us.
The limbic brain developed as we became mammals. It is called the emotional brain. The limbic brain is responsible for our memories and the judgement between good and bad among them. It is where loyalty and fear reside. Most importantly, all our decisions are made there. However, it has no capacity for language so you have to reach it in other ways.
The neocortex is our most advanced part of the brain. Calculations, judgement, and language reside there. It is why we can understand business. However, it simply processes this kind of data. It doesn’t make judgments on it. That is the responsibility of the limbic brain.
When Maya Angelou claimed that she had learned that people won’t remember what you said, nor what you do, they will remember how you made them feel, it is because that feeling is where you reached the limbic brain.
Marketers tend to push a company’s USP. Its unique selling proposition. Only the neocortex can process that. But to reach the limbic brain and make them feel, you have to appeal emotionally. Begin your conversation with what you believe, not what your end product is. The end product of what you produce should be the end of a story. What you believe has to drive you to your USP, then to the finished product. Otherwise they will forget what you presented the moment you leave the room.
“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan”. It is true of great creative. Great creative starts with a daring client who understands that as long as the marketing and branding goals are met, be as outrageous as you dare.
It takes a marketing plan that everyone believes in and makes realistic sense for the brand.
Finally, it takes a creative mind capable of getting into the mind of the audience, then is able to interpret the benefits of an offer, and blending it with the rules of the media used, the brand and psychology delivers an impact.
All that has to go into it for it to be good. It wasn’t just a useful brainstorming.
Widget Maker: We are a new company. We have a great location, a recognizable name, a solid market that will love us, and now we need a logo.
Marketer: No you don’t.
Widget Maker: That is silly. Of course we do. We need something to put on our building, business cards and stationery.
Marketer: Why not just put up this recognizable name of yours? Why make people go through the steps of visualizing your logo just to recognize your name. Just put up the name instead.
Widget Maker: Get out. You don’t know anything about marketing.
Marketer: I know about human nature. You don’t need your name to be read aloud, you need that name to mean something. Surely one of the best ways to deliver the meaning of your brand is through a logo. People will recognize it in a snapshot, but that is only useful if they recognize the meaning of brand that logo represents at the same time. Your brand doesn’t need a logo, your brand needs meaning. Without that meaning, a logo is useless.
You will get a logo. But it is only a tool to convey the meaning we will help develop for your brand. If I were to give you a logo first, I would be providing you no service.