Blog Insight

Put your money where your customers are.

For financial services brands looking to keep up with customers and grow business, evolving their brands and investing in digital are key.

Customers demand trust and convenience.

People traditionally chose a financial services company based on trust and convenience. Trust is the primary imperative because of the inherent value of money. Money represents all that people have earned and saved, their security, their family’s security, their daily survival, the health of their business, how much they can donate, and their dreams for the future: how they will live, recreate, retire, and donate and leave behind. All of this is tied up in their money. So choosing a financial services company, whether it’s a local bank or an investment services firm or a credit card company, comes with that level of importance. It’s not like buying clothes, electronics, or even a car. Trust is nonnegotiable.

The second critical factor is convenience. Because money is so vital to nearly every aspect of living, it can’t be a hassle to do the things people need to do with money, such as pay for goods and services, save for future purchases, and invest for growth, whether for an individual or a business owner. If a transaction is delayed, either by having to drive down the road to deposit a check or, in today’s world, not being able to immediately know where your money is and how it’s doing, it’s a flash point of frustration. If the table stakes of trust are covered, customers will look in different directions until they solve the issue of convenience.

Financial brands that don’t evolve die.

Because money is omnipresent in daily life, the varying types of financial services offered are vast, not to mention evolving every year. This complexity can make it easy for people who are busy with their everyday lives to be unable to or, frankly, uninterested in keeping up with it all. It’s like asking people to know every one of the channels from their cable TV provider and all the programs on each channel. It’s too much. So it’s crucial for financial services providers to clearly state who they are and what they provide, what types of people benefit from their services, and how to quickly and conveniently engage with their brand. People are not inherently interested in hearing the brand story of financial services companies, unless they are professionals in the industry. As consumers, they have other things on their minds. But when it comes time to partner with a financial services company, customers need an easy way to understand the services offered and have a seamless experience in obtaining services from the brand.

Optimize the brand experience in digital.

Decades ago, the brand story was communicated in advertising, through marketing collateral, and by representatives on the phone or at the local branch of a financial services company. But today, in the digital age dominated by mobile devices, the brand story and customer experience must happen in a way that is trustworthy and convenient in digital. As financial services companies evolve, either through acquisitions, market forces, or technology innovation, their brands may stop resonating with their audiences, and they may become dated or less relevant, sometimes imperceptibly so. Even the biggest and most successful financial services companies have had to update their brand style, graphics and imagery, copy voice and tone, company logo, and most certainly the customer experience in digital. New products and suites of products come online that need clear expression and customer-centric value propositions. In digital, the user experience of apps and websites needs to be redesigned to eliminate outdated information and intelligently organize new content in a way that doesn’t confuse or alienate existing customers and that attracts new customers. The goal of all this is not only to maintain the viability of the brand but also to invigorate it for new growth. It’s like pruning and shaping a tree so that it emerges stronger and healthier each time.

Financial brands are seeing success.

At The Garrigan Lyman Group (GLG), we help financial services companies refresh their brand expression and pivot the customer experience toward growth in the digital economy. D.A. Davidson Companies, an investment services and solutions company, partnered with GLG to revamp its website, go digital with its annual report, and leverage digital video to communicate the value of its investment banking services. GLG helped investment advisory firm Threshold Group update its logo, brand message, and digital presence to reflect its expanded set of services. “We hadn’t really invested a significant amount of time in telling our story and in our brand,” Threshold Group President Ed Lazar recalls. “What impressed us about GLG was the people, the processes, and the technology chops that they brought to the table.” And for Umpqua Bank, a community bank in the Northwest, GLG shared the brand story in a new market, Seattle, with a campaign that reflected the quirky character of the brand. “Our brand voice is so distinctive that we really look to people who can nail it,” says Valarie Hamm, VP and Brand Experience Design Director at Umpqua Bank. “What I really liked about GLG is that they kind of ‘got’ us.”

Understanding the brand, being experts in digital, and knowing the priorities for financial services customers make up the formula for moving financial brands forward in the digital age.