Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director for On The Mark Strategies, authored this entry.

While conducting a recent two-day, deep-dive member engagement program training with a client, a discussion arose about individual roles as related to the overall brand.

As part of the training, we take great pains to emphasize the importance of everyone’s role when it comes to supporting a financial institution’s unique branding culture. However, during this discussion, the words of one young woman were particularly poignant and relative to the discussion.

During the class, she meekly raised a hand and (bravely, I think) said “But I’m just a teller. Why is what I do important to the brand?”

I had a mixed bag of emotional reaction to this statement. First, I felt empathy for the young lady, having had many jobs in the past where I didn’t feel that my contributions really mattered. I also felt that she was courageous in sharing such an honest opinion. Most importantly, I felt this was a keen “teachable moment” to really drive home a key point with the class.

When it comes to your financial institution’s brand health, everyone plays a vital role. It does not matter if you are the CEO, VP of Whatever, a back office worker or certainly a teller. Everyone must support the brand, from top to bottom, in order for it to survive.

And while buy-in of the brand is critical from the executive leadership team, I would argue that their role is almost secondary to buy-in from frontline staff, such as tellers. After all, tellers have far more face-to-face consumer interaction than the typical back-office employee. Certainly, the executive staff has to believe in the brand. But if the frontline staff isn’t living it, every day, in front of every consumer, it’s dead on arrival.

Nobody is “just a teller,” “just a CEO,” or “just a back office worker” when it comes to the brand. Your brand is only as strong as its weakest link. And that weak link cannot exist at any level of the organizational chart.