Your brand is the personality, heart and soul of your institution. It provides the emotional and rational reasons for people to choose you over all the competition.
Sounds pretty damn “touchy-feely” doesn’t it?!?! How the hell are you supposed to sell THAT to your Board or your CEO?
“Does it sell loans?” Not directly.
“Will it bring in more people tomorrow?” Not like a promotion would.
So why concern yourself with brand? Why not just keep giving away toasters or iPods or gift cards or whatever? Because, when your brand differentiates you from the competition and gives people a reason to try you, you’ll have more sustained growth and will need to “bribe” people less.
So how do you determine the ROI of Branding?
You can’t just hope to show growth without know where you are and where you’ve been. Each item below demands a baseline of information. Provide as much historical trending as possible to see if there is a difference after the brand is live.
Monitor the search volume of your brand terms in Google AdWords. Google is often the first step in consumer research. If your terms are getting searched more, you’re doing something right.
Survey your market. We recommend at least 3 questions:
1. Unaided, top-of-mind: Name the first three financial institutions that come to mind. (Are you one of them? Do they list you as 1, 2 or 3?)
2. Aided awareness: (If you’re not mentioned) Have you ever heard of __________ ?
3. Perception: (If they have heard of you) Is your perception of ________ positive or negative?
3(b). Consideration: You may also want to consider asking: Would you consider using _______ the next time you have a financial need?
Conduct a survey like this before you make changes to your brand and periodically afterwards. Note the changes.
This is where you get your ROI! An increased awareness, more positive perception and increased consideration will lead to increased acquisition.
Is there a lift in your new customer acquisition? How does the increase compare with your trending?
For example, if you average a 5% customer growth rate each year and post-brand launch, you experience an 11% increase, you can assume that most of the incremental growth was due to the brand initiative (particularly if it is supported with increased awareness.) If you can ballpark a Lifetime Value of a customer, you can determine the real bottom line impact.
Share of Wallet
Your brand not only drives people to you, it also creates the culture that keeps them coming back.
Measure and track your:
- Retention rate
- Services per customer
- Key balances per customer
Do you see a difference from your historic trend pre-brand and changes post-brand? If you do, it will affect the customer Lifetime Value. A strong brand should lead to increased customer value.
The Snowball Affect
A strong brand will increase interest in you. It will raise awareness. More people will come to you and, when they do, they will have a better experience and bring you more business. This can all be measured and analyzed. But, when done right, a strong band will also help you connect with your customers and the community. It will generate a “buzz” that leads to increased word-of-mouth. Your social media mentions will grow. Positive feedback on Yelp will come. In short, your unpaid reach will expand.
I Want It Now!
You will not be able to effectively measure brand ROI overnight. It will take some time to see the impact.
- Interest should be impacted immediately. You can gauge success through search engine monitoring, but it won’t provide a true ROI.
- Awareness can be measured as early as 3 months, but we recommend 6 months to one year. Again, it will provide direction but not ROI.
- Acquisition & Share of Wallet are where you get the ROI numbers that your CEO cares about. Measure it monthly (or at least quarterly), but don’t plan on seeing a clear trend for at least 6 months to one year.
(Increased Profitability – Brand Budget) / Brand Budget
When you can identify the lift over your historic trending and can determine a change in Lifetime Value, you can calculate the profitability. Simply subtract the branding budget from the profitability and divide that number by the brand budget again.
Have you been considering a rebrand? Feel free to print this article out, right now, and march down to your CEO’s office. Slap this on their desk and demand that they pay attention. And if they have any questions, have them call me.
In addition to being a strategic consultant for community banks and credit unions, MarketMatch also has nationally and internationally requested speakers. Contact us to bring our marketing ideas to your institution or next conference.