Don’t Build Your Brand on Price

Consumers interact with financial services firms based purely on cost, right?

Wrong, according to Forrester Research study in Target Marketing. The study finds financial services firms mistakenly promote price as a brand differentiator when other factors are far more important to consumers.

Instead, research suggests financial services marketers should first:

• Build consumer trust. Less than half of Americans believe their financial institutions are good consumer advocates. Leading institutions highlight customer opinions, awards from neutral parties, and the transparency of business practices. For example, emphasize the absence of the “fine print.”

• Partner with customers. The consumer loan provider easyCredit in Germany, for example, promotes its loan with a fairness package that includes the bank’s promise not to take legal steps, but to find a solution together with the customer in the case of financial distress.

• Explain the value customers will receive through additional features and services. “Make commitments and guarantees,” the study advises. “France’s BNP Paribas offers to discount its mortgage fees by 50% if a mortgage specialist doesn’t call the customer back within 48 hours.”

• Promote the simplicity of your process. Have a fast, easy application process and assist new customers in switching accounts.

• Provide relevant offerings, and then present the price when it makes sense instead of as a default. Show how products and services match consumer needs and provide quality advice.

Differentiate your CU
Those five factors will help your credit union stand out from the competition. But thinking strategically about differentiation isn’t as easy as it seems.

Avoid “cliché differentiation,” advises marketing consultant Mark Arnold in CUNA’s 2012-2013 Credit Union Environmental Scan. “Is there a bank or credit union that isnot about service or serving its community?” Arnold asks.

Try answering the question, “What makes our credit union different?” without using the words service, people, or members, says Arnold. Differentiation is critical, but your credit union must dig deep to truly define it.

Source: Used with permission