“So in the majority of other things, we address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit.”
– Musonius Rufus, Roman Philosopher

Habit. Routine. The way we do things. The way we’ve always done things. It’s all too easy to fall into what the author above referred to as wretched habit. Sometimes routine is a good thing. But when it comes to the brand at your bank or credit union, doing something habitually may come at a price, especially when you’re doing it “just because we’ve always done things that way.”

For example, if you’re running a used car loan promotion every April simply because you’ve always run a used car loan promotion every April, it might bear reconsideration. Similarly, if something as mundane as your dress code (let’s say coat and tie) no longer matches the look and attitude of your consumer base, you need to think about it.

Most powerfully, if you haven’t taken a good, hard look at your brand and the experience consumers go through when interacting with your bank or credit union in a while, it’s time. Getting into bad brand habits is detrimental to your financial institution. You may be interacting with consumers in a way that doesn’t help grow and maintain your brand.

Examples of bad brand habits that can harm your bank or credit union include:

  • Greeting inconsistently. What you say and how you say it matters, even to people that come into your branches on a daily basis. A standard greeting representative of your brand is important.
  • Living with stinky restrooms. In branding, everything matters — from the boardroom to the restroom. A malodorous restroom speaks poorly of your brand.
  • Trying to be all things to all people. To be successful, your brand must target carefully cultivated niches of consumers rather than trying to cast an impossibly wide net over everyone.
  • Failing to train staff to brand. Your staff can’t live his brand unless they are trained to it. Good brands are backed up by good training programs.
  • Using brochures as a crutch. Brochures, like most things, make good servants but terrible masters. If your staff must rely on reading verbatim from a brochure when discussing products and services with the consumer, you’ve got problems.

Breaking a bad habit isn’t always easy. Ask anybody who has tried to shrug things from cigarette smoking to nail-chewing. However, in the case of your bank or credit union brand, breaking out of a habitual rut is important to your overall success.