My oldest daughter and I recently auditioned for The Amazing Race at one of their casting calls. For those of you not into reality TV, The Amazing Race is a show where teams of two compete by racing around the world performing various tasks and challenges. While the audition was a total blast (and hopefully one day we’ll get the opportunity to compete), the show itself reminded me of several branding lessons.

When it comes to building a successful brand at your credit union or bank, remember these Amazing Race principles:

  • Think fast—In our tryout we had 90 seconds to tell the producers our story and why we would be perfect for their show. That’s not a ton of time at all. And when it comes to your financial institution’s story, you also don’t have much time to tell it. What is your unique selling/value proposition to consumers? Why should they choose your financial institution over all the others that are out there? You have to be able to answer those questions quickly (try about 30 seconds or less) and uniquely. When the cameras turned on, Elizabeth and I had to give a compelling short story and when consumers turn to you, your financial institution has to give quick answers for how you can help consumers achieve their financial goals.
  • Involve a team—The Amazing Race is not like Survivor, where you compete as an individual. Rather teams of two run around the world. When it comes to running your brand, you can’t do it in a silo or a vacuum. It will take a total team approach. We remind our branding clients regularly, that great brands are built by people: by visionary leaders, by engaged employees and by loyal consumers. Your brand will not succeed without everyone working together to make it a success. Elizabeth and I made the audition a team effort rather than the “Mark Show” and you have to make your brand about others and not just marketing.
  • Move constantly—When you are running The Amazing Race, you are doing just that: running. Or at least moving pretty fast from location to location via many modes of transportation. And when it comes to your brand, you better make sure it’s in motion as well. Your brand should rarely stay still. As Tom Asaker, author of A Clear Eye For Branding says, “There is no such thing as a branding ‘project.’ Branding is an ongoing process of renewal.” In other words, you should always be working to improve your brand. Rather than sit at home and talk about it, Elizabeth and I had to intentionally move to get to the audition and you have to intentionally move forward with your brand on a daily basis.

In many ways, branding is a race. And to build an amazing brand, think fast, involve a team and move constantly.