Do Customers Identify With Your Brand?

This content is provided by our sponsor, and neither is written by nor provides endorsement from ICBA.

Periods of change or struggle often cause business leaders to re-evaluate their strategies, but how often do leaders re-evaluate their brand?  Unfortunately, not as much as they should.

Your brand is an intangible asset and as Marty Neumeier famously said in his book The Brand Gap, “Your brand isn’t what you say it is.  It’s what they say it is.”  They, your customers and potential customers, will describe you based on the experiences they’ve had, or the accounts they take from others they trust.  The description isn’t carefully calculated and properly weighted, rather, it will reflect what they most recently experienced, or the highest (or lowest) point in their relationship with you.  If they don’t have a true experience, it will be a surface level assessment of what they can easily see, your building, signage and possibly a website.

For business leaders who don’t know what their customers or potential customers are saying about their brand, the answers aren’t always bad, but not knowing almost always leaves something on the table.  “What we find when we work with banking leaders to assess their brand health is that the market often has positive things to say,” commented La Macchia Group President, Tom Kennedy, “but the aspects customers regard as most salient and positive are different than what leaders and staff say.”  By identifying areas of synergy and bridging gaps, financial leaders can craft a plan to express their brands in ways that resonate deeper with customer values and needs.

So what can you do?

The first step involves an analysis of your brand and the needs and values of those who would define it.  With that information, your brand identity can be strengthened, and in some cases, rebuilt to form a solid foundation for future growth.  The final step is to express your revitalized identity in the channels your customers can experience it, seeking to create powerful first impressions and the long-term potential for memorable moments.  For example, when Virginia-based C&F Bank was looking to create a new financial center in downtown Richmond, VA, they embraced a design that conveyed a balance of their energy and history, and the tech-savviness of their new community.  Localized, human-centered content filled the lobby and connected to messaging on other channels.

La Macchia Group’s in-house branding expert, Rachel Scott says of the effort, “The expression of our clients’ brands is where things start to feel real – most people think of the color palettes, updated logos and taglines, but the reality goes much deeper.”  She goes on to state, “Your brand is expressed in everything you do.  While the words in your messaging are certainly important, you brand is reflected in your policies, your operating model and in your physical spaces.  Environmental – and truly experiential branding – is the way the financial industry is headed.”

To learn more about getting the most out of your brand to fuel your growth, visit