There is home banking. There is mobile banking. There is digital banking. And then there is “me” banking. The brainchild of Donna Kimes, vice president of marketing for Farmers & Merchants Bank in Arkansas, “me” banking is an example of a successful financial institution’s brand. Below is a brief Q&A with Kimes and how Farmers & Merchants brand works.
(1) Can you please explain Famers & Merchants brand “me banking?”
We came up with the idea of giving our level of service a name in about 1998 or 1999. There was a of lot talk about branding back then and through a series of long discussions with our ad agency, they suggested Me Banking. It literally came from discussions with employees. I asked our staff to be sure to wear their nametags when they were outside the bank for about a month and tell me about their interactions. The break through was when employees said how proud it made them feel when someone in the public would say “Oh, that’s MY bank!”
(2) What does “me banking” mean?
During this development phase a catch phrase was “It’s all about You!”We’ve since ditched that because it became so overused. Me Banking means giving the customer MORE than expected.
(3) You even have the “me banking” concept down to your URL and your e-mail address. Why is that?
Our url was fmbarkansas. Quite literally all I could see was Barkansas, which I hated. Fortunately our customers knew the Me Banking brand so well, it was an easy transition. Plus, it fits perfectly with putting banking right in the hands of our customer….My Bank=Me Bank.
(4) What results and feedback have you received from “me banking?”
When we launched the brand to the employees in 2000, they stood up and cheered. Gives me goose bumps remembering that. It’s so entrenches in our culture that often when customers need/want something a little extraordinary, they will say “Hey, I need a little Me Banking…” I just love that!
(5) Cynics will say that banks are never about “me” but always about themselves. How do you communicate your brand to your customers?
It’s really about actions, isn’t it? No matter what you say, it’s what you DO that counts. We could never have pulled off Me Banking if our people weren’t already doing it.
(6) How do you get your staff to live the “me banking” brand?
One word: Pride.