As of June 2017, more than 3,500 NEW WINE products had hit the shelves in the last year. There are roughly 25,000 items in the category.

That is a TON of choices! While there are more than 10,000 varieties of wine grapes, do any of us really know anything about wine aside from Chardonnay, Pinot, Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Sauvignon blanc? I mean, aren’t they all just fermented grape juice?

Now consider this … There are roughly 6,800 banks and 6,000 credit unions in the United States.

That is a TON of choices! I mean, aren’t they all just places that take money from one person to lend it out to another? Aren’t they all just free checking, mobile banking, ATMs and loans?

Imagine if we lined up 100 banks and credit unions all on one street and you only had a 3.5” X 4” label to make or break your success. Fourteen square inches to tell your entire story and differentiate yourself from everyone else. For most community bank and credit union marketing budgets, that’s exactly how we feel.

According to “How Package Design Attracts Today’s Wine Consumer,”  only 29% of consumers know which brand of wine they intend to buy before they enter a store. The rest decide while they stare at the labels.

Is banking really much different? We have our Barefoot, Gallo, Sutter Home and Beringer in Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citi. The “go-to” brands that most everyone knows. While they are far from the best choices on the wall, you’re reasonable sure of what you’re going to get when you uncork the bottle.

Doesn’t that make community banks and credit unions the local “craft” wine of the industry? The higher-quality, lesser-known alternative to the nasty big name box wines?

Don’t Let Your CEO Be Your Creative Director

Among wine distributors, the label is everything. But, they have the same creative issues that we have.

Primary Influences on Design Selection - NielsenIn the 2016 article, “Should CEOs Be Creative Directors”:

“According to a recent Nielsen survey of consumer packaged goods (CPG) professionals, 53% say that that the opinion of senior executives is one of the sources given the most emphasis when making design decisions.”

Even more troubling:

“Often, senior stakeholders arrive late to the process with different opinions, which results in longer timelines. Moreover, to achieve consensus, clients will often make unfortunate design compromises by arbitrarily combining elements from different designs. More than three in five agency professionals agree that this tendency to create “Frankensteins” is pervasive and problematic. In fact, 63% of agency professionals feel that the base design they present to clients is often better than the final version that addresses all their refinements. In the end, the design process often turns out to be longer, more frustrating and more expensive than anticipated—only to yield sub-par results.”

So, your homework is to go to your local wine store (It’s OK to do on “company time,” I’ll send a note). Review the selection and determine what stands out to you. Buying and trying a few options is totally up to you!

Now consider your bank or credit union’s 3.5” X 4” label:

  • What does it say about you? Is it what you WANT it to say?
  • Does it make you stand out or does it blend into the wall?
  • Does it look like a $9 bottle or $30 bottle? Given your market, what should it be?
  • Is it based on your target’s feedback or is it straight from your CEOs preference?

A Label Only Gets You So Far

Whether you drink wine or craft beer, we’ve all been fooled by fancy labels.

We’ve all experiences the bitter, putrid, nastiness of a company who spends their entire budget on a label with little focus on the product.

Your brand will entice trial, but your service, experience and product delivery are the taste, aroma and texture of your institution. It is what gets people drunk with love and keeps them coming back for more.

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