Whew. It’s so good to get that off my chest. As a former financial institution marketing executive, the idea that the brand is solely the responsibility of marketing is a heavy (and false) weight to bear.

For your bank or credit union brand to achieve success, everyone must realize that marketing is not solely responsible for driving the branding bus. It’s your CEO. It’s your CFO. It’s the back office. It’s the retail staff. It’s the person that drives your delivery van and the person that changes lightbulbs when they go out. In other words, the responsibility of your bank or credit union brand falls to everyone equally.

Certainly, your executive leadership team has to (no surprises here) lead the brand by example. And yes, to a large extent, your consumer-facing staff will have more implicit brand interaction just given the nature of their primary position. However, living the brand is the job of every single person, regardless of title, location, department, etc.

Your marketing staff puts the public face of the brand out there, primarily in the form of advertising. And it is important that your advertising is top-notch. However, marketing cannot force your staff to live the brand promise it makes in this advertising. That must come with all-staff buy-in and support.

For example, if marketing executes a terrific digital campaign that focuses on a home-equity line of credit (HELOC), your entire bank or credit union staff must be prepared to live your existing brand when consumers contact you about this campaign. You must be friendly/fast/accessible/insert-your-brand-proposition-here. Whatever it is your brand vision and subsequent marketing promises, your staff and its culture must live in person when interacting with consumers.

When viewed as the 360-degree function that it is, your bank or credit union brand will permeate every aspect of your financial institution. Hiring and employee retention – driven by brand. Appraisals and advancement – driven by brand. Executive succession – driven by brand. The kinds and colors of flowers and shrubs in front of your branches – driven by brand. Indeed, everything at your bank or credit union must be driven by brand.

However, marketing is not solely responsible for these many steering wheels. It takes every hand, on the same brand wheel, for brand success to occur.