For financial services companies in a rapidly evolving industry, maintaining brand recognition and brand reputation are critical. The more frequent brand adjustments and refinements you can make, the more you can hold your position in the market without embarking on an expensive rebranding project.
To keep your brand operating at its optimal level, you need to be monitoring and refreshing every aspect of your brand system and making sure they are working cohesively. It also means having the right guidelines and processes in place to ensure brand continuity across every channel and platform.
Your brand needs to remain current and consistent so that it delivers reliable results through your website, social media, video, advertising, marketing materials, graphics and data presentations.
The same way keeping your car’s oil changed or maintaining your home’s roof saves you time and money on major repairs and renovations, regular tweaks and updates to your brand across all platforms save you from undergoing a long and costly brand overhaul.
Maintain Stronger Brand Relevance With Regular Maintenance
Leaders at financial services firms tend to either see their brand as a static, inflexible entity that should barely change or as a marketing tool that requires a complete renovation every several years.
The fact is that the most successful financial services brands stay true to their brand values while deliberately and systematically evolving elements to remain relevant. The best brands are carefully cultivated with regular pruning, care and feeding. They aren’t left to wither on the vine or be subjected to a complete transplant.
Chief marketing officers and other firm leaders should commit to conducting regular, quarterly check-ups on their entire brand system to identify inconsistencies and shortcomings.
Does your logo render accurately in high definition? Does your photography still resonate with your target audience? Do your analysts use infographics that meet your brand standards? Is your social media team using the right templates? For example, if you’re a real estate investment company, you should ensure your maps reflect your brand rather than simply using a Google feed.
If you regularly track your brand in the market, monitor how it stacks up to the competition, and know how it’s deployed throughout your company, you can make smaller, more incremental changes and more affordable changes.
Small Brand Adjustments Make a Big Difference Over Time
Major branding changes done infrequently often lead to big budgets, big timelines and, if done improperly, big disagreements that cause even bigger disappointments.
Conversely, if you commit to refreshing your brand on an ongoing basis, you can avoid such major expenditures.
When you make small changes on a predictable cadence, you’re less likely to draw unwanted attention or even opposition from within your organization. You’re also more likely to get approval for brand maintenance on a monthly budget vs. a big ticket, fixed-fee project like a brand overhaul.
Ultimately, making frequent, minor changes to your brand is easier on your team. If you involve them in reviewing and revising your brand system, they’ll be part of the process and work to see those adjustments to fruition.
Set Your Brand Up for Success With a Systematic Approach
It’s important to remember that making smaller changes to your brand doesn’t mean going about it in a piecemeal or ad hoc way. You can’t MacGyver your way through this by improvising and freestyling.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, determine a regular interval for checking up on your brand system. Identify which team members will be responsible for evaluating each area, how they should report their findings, and what they are recommending for a refresh. For example, how is your marketing team representing your brand on each social media platform? Are the fonts, colors, images and content consistent?
A systemic approach requires considerable dedication and discipline. Your changes need to be documented and socialized. If a change is being made, it needs to be made systematically and known widely. And all tweaks need to be tracked.
3 Steps to Starting With Your Smaller Brand Refreshes
If you’re considering taking a gradual, granular approach to brand refinements, here’s how you can get started:
- Determine up to five of your top touch points with your most important customer. Do they interact with your firm via social media? Mostly on your website? Digital advertising? An email campaign? Keep your list under five otherwise you risk your systemic approach.
- Examine how you are using each of those touchpoints. Is there a relationship between them? Are they coordinated efforts?
- Do your touchpoints look and feel like they’re from the same organization? Is the messaging consistent in its tone and information?
These simple steps can help determine the extent of the refresh you need to do. As you get into the routine, you’ll find your punch list grows smaller each time.
Keeping Your Brand Current Instills Customer Confidence
Financial services companies need to adapt and respond to market conditions as they arise. That’s what regularly refreshing your brand allows you to do. Whereas a full re-branding every five years is going to be expensive and could wind up confusing potential customers.
Instead, make your brand “stickier” in customers’ brains by establishing a program that keeps your brand updated and consistent. Doing so also builds confidence every time your target audience encounters your brand.
You’ll also spend considerably less time and money with this approach.
In the financial services sector, reputation is a primary selling point. If your brand stays fresh and consistent wherever customers come across it, they will learn to trust you.
And who would work with a financial services firm they didn’t trust?