Plenty of banks and credit unions participate in some sort of mystery shop process. However, we’re talking about a different kind of mystery shop — a brand mystery shop that focuses much more on your unique brand culture and how well it is (or is not) lived by your employees in front of every consumer, every day.

Why should your bank or credit union conduct a brand mystery shop as part of a larger marketing audit process?

  • To tell you more about your competition. Typically as part of a marketing audit, we mystery shop not only the bank or credit union client but also competitors identified as important in the marketplace. By mystery shopping your competition, you gather invaluable business intelligence regarding their approaches to consumer engagement, which you can then compare and contrast to the results from your own internal mystery shops.
  • To see what happens to your brand when you’re not looking. Remember how wild kids in class went when a substitute teacher showed up? And how well-behaved they (hopefully) became when the regular teacher returned the next day? The same sort of dynamic applies here. When a bank or credit union president/VP or manager is in the room, you can expect staff to (typically) more actively and enthusiastically live the brand. However, how they behave (both with each other and with your consumers) when there isn’t a constant management presence is important. A mystery shop will let you know if your staff is living the brand without management oversight.
  • To shine light on things you might not notice. Because you spend so many hours a day in your office (or branches) it’s easy, over time, to stop seeing little things that matter in branding. And you must remember — everything matters in branding. A good mystery shop experience with a granular focus can illuminate things that, due to the grind of daily work, you might miss. Examples include outdated marketing collateral, violations of dress code, extended consumer wait times and other unpleasant surprises. A mystery shop might even let you know, as has happened several times during our mystery shops, that the background radio station you pipe into your lobbies also regularly plays commercials from your competition. Not a good thing.

The mystery shop element of a marketing audit will give your bank or credit union many things, both positive and negative, to consider. In order to maintain/improve your brand and safeguard market share, you must be willing to hear both. An honest mystery shop does that for you.