Why would you buy a Volvo? Safety. Why would you drive a Mercedes? The prestige. Why would you buy a BMW? The driving experience. Last question. Why would you drive a Yugo? Price.
Now for the reality. Volvo is not the safest car. For many years, Saab actually had a better safety record. Mercedes is only considered a prestige car in the United States. In other countries, it is just a car. It has been marketed here differently. And the BMW, well, I’ve driven one of those—it IS the ultimate driving experience.
In the first three examples, people are driven by the brand. They come looking for that brand, and even though Volvo does not necessarily always have the safest cars, it doesn’t matter. The consumer believes the Volvo is safest. Volvo is the position that is taken in the consumer’s mind when they think of safety. If they know they want Volvo, then they’ll pay two to three times what they would pay for a Yugo for that unique selling position.
After asking thousands of bankers what their unique selling position or brand would be, I’ve only heard one answer—customer service. Herein lies two major problems. First, customer service is NEVER a brand. It’s an expectation. Second, research shows that consumers feel that banks across the board have atrocious customer service.
Since most banks don’t have a brand, they compete on price only. It’s a game most can’t win. So ask yourself these questions: How are you superior to your competitors? How would you like to be superior to your competitors? Is it speed, is it personal financial counseling, is it the seminars you offer to help them make financial decisions? You can differentiate by your clientele. Are you the bank for the elderly? For small businesses? For large money accounts? For the middle class? For a minority?
There are many ways you can brand from how you do business to the clients you serve. If you do not consciously select and promote your brand, you will be playing the commodity pricing game. Take the time to choose wisely based on the trends that you can best serve.