by Mark Arnold | Sep 12, 2018
An interesting TV commercial for Woolite detergent caught my eye a few days ago. Yes, laundry detergent caught my eye. What stuck out most about the ad was its concluding line … “Woolite cares as much as it cleans.”
For most consumers, it doesn’t get much more humdrum than laundry detergent. We typically toss the same brand in the shopping basket as we have for years because … well, because we have for years.
Not much thought typically goes into such a seemingly mundane purchase. Unless, of course, such a banal product focuses its message on something that actually matters to consumers (caring about family, the environment, etc.) as much as it does on its cleaning properties.
According to BizReport, 74 percent of consumers want to feel good about the retailers and brands they use. Branding is becoming increasingly emotion-driven.
And let’s be honest. Your credit union or bank’s products and services are largely the same as anyone else’s. As cool as you think they are, they’re really just boring tools to most consumers.
Checking accounts? Zzzzzz. Online banking? Yaaaaaawn. Used car loans? Snooze city. Consumers expect these tools to work, to perform a specific function (much like laundry soap) and typically only pause to notice any difference when they don’t work (like if your detergent suddenly didn’t get out grass stains like it has for years).
The lesson from Woolite here is to lead with benefits, including emotional benefits, rather than with the tedious details of your products and services. Both your advertising ideas and your staff’s conversational approach to members should follow this benefits-first mentality.
Consumers need to know your financial institution cares about them and can relate to the struggles and triumphs of their daily lives. As Teddy Roosevelt said (and John Maxwell famously spread): “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
They also want to know you’re plugged-into the community and active in things that matter to them. In fact, a recent consumer survey from Accenture shows consumers are looking to businesses more than ever to define a social standard that serves their need for a deeper sense of meaning.
For too many years, credit unions and banks have led with product and service features when consumers care more about benefits.
Donald Miller explains in his book, “Story Brand” that consumers don’t care about our feature-focused marketing material because, “that information isn’t helping them eat, drink, find a mate, fall in love, build a tribe or experience a deeper sense of meaning.”
How can your checking account make their lives easier? How can your online banking simplify their financial routine? How can your car loans help them realize the dream of a souped-up dream car, or simply reliable daily family transportation?
This is the sweet spot for your brand, not the 27 bullet points from your brochure that detail the booooooring nuts and bolts of your products and services. (You’d be surprised how often see this issue when we conduct credit union and bank marketing audits.)
From a consumer perspective, it’s very much a “what have you done for me lately?” approach when it comes to relating to what you offer as a financial institution. Or, as Woolite aptly put it, does your brand care as much as it cleans?
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.