Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Let's Give 'Em Somethin' to Talk about. (Special Advertising Supplement: Executive Summary)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Let's Give 'Em Somethin' to Talk about. (Special Advertising Supplement: Executive Summary)

Article excerpt

No matter what your age, you probably still remember your first visit to the new McDonald's fast food restaurant when it opened in your town. Long before branding was the latest buzzword in the retail industry, McDonald's introduced the sweeping golden yellow arches framing a white rectangular building with red horizontal stripes. The expansive glass front of the building provided a clear view of the eager customers standing in front of a long sales counter. Even back then, the architects and designers of the McDonald's restaurant concept knew that creating a strong, architectural identity would be critical to the introduction, marketing, and success of this new fast food chain. Still today, and sometimes to the dismay of some parents, children at a very early age beg to go to McDonald's when they see those iconographic arches. So what does this McDonald's memory have to do with retail banking? Everything!!

Creating a strong architectural identity is one of the most obvious aspects in creating your brand image. Although the environment inside the facility is the primary venue for establishing a brand identity with consumers, the exterior of the building is crucial to attracting their attention in order to avoid becoming lost in the retail ever expanding marketplace clutter. The products and services you offer are similar to your competitions', your hours are similar. So what differentiates you from the other financial institutions in the area?

Many bankers fall short when it comes to their brand image because they don't integrate it into the consumer's lifestyle. Perhaps they are unaware that a brand is a promise and gives insight on what consumers can expect from a financial institution. Much like the McDonald's brand, one knows that the hamburger and chocolate shake they order in any city in Europe will taste just like the hamburger and shake back home in the states. In today's saturated financial market, creating and maintaining a brand image is essential in avoiding "clonitis"--a new term for "those who look and act like everyone else! …

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