Financial marketing was never simple—and mobile and online banking have only increased the number and complexity of the challenges. That’s because banks and credit unions aren’t just competing against the commercial or community bank down the street, but against regional and national behemoths with the resources (and media budgets) to spare. So, in the middle of an economic situation most of us have never experienced before, how are you supposed to differentiate your banking brand in that crowded field?
Use strategic communications, specifically marketing public relations for banks, as a force multiplier for your marketing budget.
Here’s why: While there are never any guarantees in public relations for banks’ (or really any other industry’s) media efforts, these initiatives also are very low risk. And the investment you make in public relations for your bank or credit union almost always generates assets that can be redeployed in your social media and content marketing programs, as well as in customer channels like emails, newsletters, and even in-branch communications.
Take the initiative by pitching editorial content to news media, thus building awareness of the advantages of banking with your financial institution. At the same time, you’re demonstrating your bank’s breadth of services and depth of expertise, and helping earn goodwill with regional news media and the wider community. That may later come in handy in the event of any unplanned—though practically inevitable—crisis communication situation.
To be effective, financial public relations must be:
• and most importantly, relevant to the audience that your targeted news media outlet is trying to attract.
The simplest way to accomplish that is to provide useful information that will actually help consumers and businesses. And that means going beyond promoting your latest rewards offer or special financing rates.
Banking customers consistently report that how their bank or credit union responds when there’s a problem has a major effect on their overall perception of the financial institution. Obviously, a public forum like your financial public relations campaign is not the place to address the concerns of specific customers. But your internal team has a wealth of information about what leads customers to experience those problems, how to resolve them, and—and this is key—how to avoid them in the first place. All of this is potential content for your financial public relations program.
After a prolonged period of historically low interest rates on both the deposit and lending sides, we are now serving at least half of a generation of clients and members with nearly zero experience in a more … kinetic economy. These families and businesses are looking for guidance on how to manage their checking, lines of credit, savings, credit cards, merchant services, mortgages, and more while navigating an entirely new landscape.
Your bank or credit union brand can be their trusted guide through that wilderness, explaining how current events and economic conditions will affect their financial lives and what they can do now to use the situation to their best advantage.
This kind of approach—strategic public relations for banks that actually delivers value to both current and potential customers—will reinforce everything you say about your brand in other marketing and communications channels. It supports your identity as a trusted institution, managed by people who are not only smart, but are also on the side of families and businesses in the community.
And strategic financial PR has the added advantage of being more credible than your other marketing messages. Why? Because it’s being delivered by their preferred local news outlet. Which they have chosen. And whom they already trust.
Sounds like a win to us.
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To learn more about how to apply strategic public relations for banks and credit unions or other brands in any sized market, give Daniel Lally a call at 513.956.3851.