There are just under 8,000 banking institutions in the U.S. and nearly as many credit unions. Add in retail brokerage and insurance companies and you understand why so many consumers have a hard time distinguishing one from the other.
Take Minnesota, for example. Today there are 404 banks in a state of 5.3 million people. That’s roughly one bank per 13,000 people. That might not sound like a lot to you but the national average is one bank per 41,000 people.
So, Minnesota has roughly three times the national average of banks compared to other states. And if you’re one of those Minnesota banks, you’re competing against not only an oversupplied banking market but also credit unions, Wal-Mart and other financial institutions.
With all of this financial congestion, few financial institutions realize that their brand can separate them from a very crowded field. In truth, most want a compelling, credible brand but are too distracted, busy or otherwise lazy to dig in and really uncover their true identities.
And it’s as easy as starting with your customers. When’s the last time you talked to them or offered a survey to really uncover why they do business with you over everyone else? Before you invent some brand you’d like to be, find out where you are in your customers’ eyes. After all, that’s all that really matters.
Finally, when you do decide what you are, do something different to promote it. Get noticed. It’s a big world out there with thousands of competitors, tens of thousands of cable channels and radio stations, millions of Websites and a zillion other distractions that bombard your customers every day.
So if you’re serious about brand identity, don’t be afraid to stand up and stand out.