While many things combine to make a successful brand, a common denominator is originality. Originality plays strongly into just how memorable your brand is in the minds of consumers. Think about it in terms of memorable pop-culture figures. Johnny Cash made a name for himself in country music as “the man in black.” In the early 1990s, a young Mark Wahlberg was the “it” spokesman for Calvin Klein. For years, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs walked out on stage in his trademark blue jeans and black turtleneck, you knew it was time for a new product unveiling.

You get the idea.

Being original and memorable makes for a strong brand. The strength of your brand is critical to the success and growth of your bank or credit union. After all, Johnny Cash was hardly the only country music singer in his era and Mark Wahlberg wasn’t the only model hawking underwear and cologne. Being memorable matters.

Here are a few simple litmus tests to consider when asking the question “Is your brand memorable?”

  • Does your brand represent the consumers we serve and wish to serve? In other words, do you look, sound and act in ways familiar with the people in your marketplace? If your brand serves a hip, upscale Millennial area, doesn’t look and sound like it? If your brand doesn’t (both visually and interpersonally) represent your existing and target consumer segments, it’s not likely memorable.
  • Does your brand look the same across all channels? Take a look at the retail appearance and layout of your branches. Now check-out your website. Next, pull up your app on smart phone. Check out your billboards, banner ads and business development materials. Does your brand look the same across all these (and other) marketing/advertising channels? If your brand isn’t consistent across all venues, it’s not likely memorable.
  • Does your brand make a personal connection? Are you reaching out to consumers with a voice they can understand, with images to which they can relate and in a way that encourages dialogue? Or are you simply pushing brochure-type language that focuses more on product features than benefits and using stock photography that any other financial institution could buy and promote? Most importantly, does your brand encourage a dialogue with consumers in which your bank or credit union takes the time to listen and educate as opposed to sell, sell, sell? If your brand doesn’t make a personal connection, it’s not likely memorable.

There’s a reason people talk about famous pop culture icons, sometimes even long after they passed away. These individuals found ways to promote an original and memorable brand for themselves. If your bank or credit union can craft, implement and consistently deliver a similarly memorable brand, it greatly enhances its chances of future success.