Building Brand Value - 1Anyone wanting to improve their organization’s brand knows you start with your value. What unique value proposition do you offer consumers? For banks and credit unions this can be extremely difficult. After all, banking is now a commodity and every financial institution says they are about service, community or people.

So how can financial institutions build brand value?

One way is to read Building Brand Value, by Bruce Turkel. I’ve longed followed Turkel’s blog (he offers great insights and his blog is a must-read). So I wanted to dive into his book, which is aptly subtitled Seven Simple Steps to Profitable Communications. For banks and credit unions to build better brands, they can follow many of the suggestions Turkel offers.

As Turkel notes, “Each of the points can be expressed in only three words….it’s all quite simple.”

Below are three of the seven principles from the book and how we can apply them in the financial services world. For the remaining four, be sure to pick up a copy of Building Brand Value (it’s a quick read full of solid suggestions).

(1) All About Them

Turkel has a unique take on ROI (return on investment). He says ROI is not near as important as a new acronymn MOI—the French word for me, as in “What’s in it for me.” He says MOI is the best way to predict success with your brand. Consumers pay far more attention to messages that promise them benefits.

  • Application: While the internal components of your brand are critical, always craft your brand message around your target audience. Too many banks and credit unions are still trying to be all things to all people. Stop that. Now. Pick a few core niches and brand to them with customized messages.


(2) Hearts Then Minds

Turkel notes that, “most people make decisions based on their feelings and then justify those decisions with the facts.” Think about Harley-Davidson. Harley does not sell motorcycles. They sell an experience. Scott Talgo, vice president of marketing for Harley, once said “advertising grabs their minds, branding their hearts.” Turkel obviously agrees.

  • Application: Stop promoting rates, financial product features and terms. People really don’t care about those boring banking details. What do they care about? Stories. Dreams. Financial freedom. When it comes to building your brand, make sure you are building emotional connections with consumers.


(3) Make It Quick

Some of the best advice Turkel offers is “reduce, reduce, reduce. Then reduce some more.” He jokingly notes that Thoreau wrote “simplify, simplify” but that if Thoreau thought that was the best strategy he would have just said, “simplify.” When it comes to branding, communicating your message quickly is paramount.

  • Application: Cut the copy in your branding. Cut, cut, cut. You say more with less. Conduct a marketing audit at your credit union or bank to test and see how effective your brand is in reaching consumers.


Those are just a few key points from only three of the major principles in Building Brand Value. The book offers many other tips to improve your branding and your marketing. While it won't take you long to read the book (his writing style is quick and easy) you’ll walk away with so many ideas your head will spin.

Creating a strong brand starts with creating a genuine brand value. If you want to know how to accomplish that for your bank or credit union then read Building Brand Value