Financial branding may sound touchy-feely, but make no mistake; it impacts directly on a firm’s bottom line. Financial branding is a tangible business asset; more important than factories or conveyor lines when it comes to deciding how much a firm might be worth.
A brand can be the most valuable asset of any business, more so even than its people or buildings. The term originated when farmers burnt a mark into their cattle to distinguish it from those belonging to other people. Things may have come a long way in some senses since those days, but the ideas remain remarkably similar.
Financial branding matters because it is so influential in terms of generating goodwill. Estimates suggest that the HSBC brand alone, distinct from any other part of the business, may be worth as much as $27.6bn. If somebody wanted to take the bank over, they would be doing so at least in part for the firm’s branding, unique and irreplaceable. Small wonder that firms go to such lengths to protect their brands and reputations.
Creating the right image for your firm
Financial branding is the net result of every interaction between a firm and its customers. It stems from the entire organisation’s efforts to create a perception in the public mind at the mention of a firm’s name.
Financial branding is a reflection of how customers think about a firm. But it is also more than that. Financial branding is a two-way process, since it is also a way of telling customers that you are a trustworthy organisation; that money is as safe as bricks with you.
Financial branding conveys all kinds of information to potential and existing customers. It comes together from logo, letterhead, advertising, website, sponsorship, client service, product and media to create an image of your business. Consider UK bank first direct’s financial branding. The company has no High Street branches and wishes to portray itself as a no-frills, low-cost but trustworthy bank. It promotes those values through its black and white, bold lettering on all it material. It spurns images, sticking with text. On its website, the bank displays its name discreetly down the left-hand side of the page, flagging up (without necessarily actually saying so) that this operation prides itself on putting customers “first”.
Successful financial branding
Another example of successful financial branding is the Halifax Building Society. The mortgage lender ran a series of famous adverts based around its slogan “Get a little extra help”, connecting with the “x” in the lender’s name. The team work shown in the Halifax adverts of people coming together to form a human installation (such as a house) reinforced the idea of a mutual building society. It was clever stuff and cemented Brand Halifax as the nation’s favourite lender.
There is usually a psychological aspect to financial branding, as the Halifax story shows. People build up brand associations like thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and so on that become linked to the brand. Halifax’ financial branding became linked with fun, team play and helping one another.
Whatever the image you wish to portray, (fun, down-to-earth, eco-friendly, youthful, innovative, trustworthy, mature or a combination thereof etc) we can help you decide the strategy for your financial branding, then work with you to put those ideas into practice.