My soon-to-be husband and I recently purchased his wedding band through an online store called Manly Bands.
“Man branding” isn’t an actual term, but after my interactions with this company, I’m ready to coin the phrase and add it to the dictionary.
Manly Bands is an online-only shop that prides itself in “saying no to boring wedding bands.” Just watch their promo video and you’ll see how the brand is keenly (and hilariously) geared toward men who feel a little clueless when it comes to wedding planning.
The Manly Bands brand doesn’t zing simply because they market to men (trust me, I’m ALL about girl power). Rather, it’s their incredible understanding of their own market that sets them above their competition.
Here’s what Manly Bands does right, and what your credit union or bank brand would do well to follow:
1. Know your people
Donald Miller said it first: “Niches lead to riches.” You cannot be all things to all people.
After just a cursory glance through the Manly Bands website, it’s pretty clear that they’re not trying to reach women. And frankly, they’re probably not trying to reach older men either.
They know their people beyond simply definition. They know them like a friend. Manly Bands could likely tell you exactly what their customer wants to be in life, what frustrates them and what they need to do to overcome it. StoryBrand calls this “aspirational identity.” Connect with who your audience wants to be in life, and you’ll have them with you for life.
2. Talk like your people
Once you know your people, you talk like your people. (Note: I don’t mean talk AT them. I mean talk with them, like you’re having a conversation.) This even applies to the call to action.
Each Manly Band band (and there are hundreds of them) has its own description, not of the band but of the type of guy who would wear that band.
Check these out:
The average American reads at a seventh grade level. The average financial institution website is written at an 11th grade level. To say they’re a little confused by what you’re saying is an understatement. Make your writing more conversational and, where appropriate, more colloquial.
3. Cheer for your people
Without question, what makes Manly Bands so standout is how overtly for their people they are. Read their copy and you can instantly tell they want their customer to succeed (i.e. they make the customer the hero of the story, not Manly Bands).
Even better, they practice what they preach. From the chat function to the shipping email, every communication we received from the company said loud and clear: we’re here for you to win. We’re here to make sure you have a wedding band exactly the way you want it, in time, without adding stress to your big day.
Every FAQ was answered in video format too (an extra plus considering people only read 10 to 16 minutes a day). They know how to talk to their people. Ensure every interaction you have with your people is about them, not about you.
Bonus: To find out if your credit union or bank’s brand is putting its money where its mouth is, the best thing to do is conduct a marketing review. This one endeavor will mystery shop your competitors, your own branches and your marketing material.
Here’s how Susan, VP of Community Engagement at Smart Financial Credit Union in Houston, described what the marketing review did for her credit union:
“It was great to have an objective third party look at our information. They gave us a lot of great suggestions and small tweaks and changes to make sure what we wanted to communicate about our brand was coming through. They made sure we had a consistent look, feel and message across all of our different communication platforms. It was extremely helpful.”