While driving down the interstate recently I saw a billboard that made me cringe. I cringed because it was bad. It was so bad, the company that paid for it should ask for their money back plus extra for the embarrassment.
The copy on the billboard said this:
Action Item #1:
Tell People We’re a Bank
Then, at the bottom of the billboard was a small logo of the company. The logo was tiny compared to the size of the text at the top.
Call me stupid, but, if your company is a bank, shouldn’t your company name make that obvious?
Of course, it should. At least, it should if you want to attract more customers.
I understand if a bank is new to a market, then Job 1 would be to get the word out about who they are and what they do. But this bank has is very well known. They’ve been around for longer than most other banks in Minnesota. And it’s a big bank with over a billion dollars in assets. They have branches all over Minnesota and Wisconsin.
They’re not even close to being the new kid in town.Name recognition is not a problem.
So, why would a large, well-established and respected bank pay for such silly advertising? One reason might be that they really don’t understand marketing. Or, they really don’t get why people do business with them.
The sad thing is, this bank has a rich legacy and a good name in the community. But they don’t seem willing to use their existing reputation and their true strengths to get more customers.
Instead, they seem to have bought into some consultant’s or ad agency’s “big idea”. Maybe this is the new trend. Maybe this is hip, cool advertising that I just don’t understand because I expect advertising to have a point.
Rather than spending good money on bad advertising, they should find out why people do business with them now. What do people (customers, non-customers, employees and competitors) think about them? What do they do better than any other banks in their markets (at least in the eyes of their customers)? What special strengths do they have that their competitors can’t match?
They’d be better off finding ways to be the best at taking care of their customers. That would do several things for them:
1. Improve their operations so they truly are meeting their customer’s needs.
2. Attract more customers through word of mouth marketing.
3. Give them a better marketing message for their next campaign.
When you thrill your customers on a regular basis you develop an infinite number of powerful stories to tell. Then your message is easy. Your message is what you do for your customers every day.And you’ll know what it is because they’ll tell you.
Tell these stories and you’ll get more customers. Leave the goofy ad campaigns for someone else.