Differentiating Bank Products

All checking accounts are the same. That’s not a true statement, of course, but it sure can seem that way sometimes. When rates are low, the difference between an account that earns nothing and an account that earns next to nothing can be hard for consumers to comprehend.

Sometimes banks can add on features, but if they are good features, they tend to be copied almost immediately. As a result, deposit accounts at a bank tend to look a bit like commodities, and that is never a good thing. Think about the commodities in your life. If the store was out of the brand of milk you normally buy, would you wait until they got some in? Would you even ask an employee to check for more? Most of us would just grumble a little and grab a different brand of milk.

To ensure that your customers don’t find it this easy to open an account with the competition, banks need to develop a strong brand for the institution as well as a strong brand for the accounts themselves.

Ask somebody about their favorite make of vehicle, and they will often describe their relationship to that brand: their dad loved the brand, they remember when it took them on vacation, they like how they look, etc. Many of the most important reasons they have for loyalty to their favorite brand of car or truck have nothing to do with gas mileage or dependability.

Imagine that your deposit accounts had that kind of cachet. What if your customers felt that those accounts said something about their own personality or lifestyle? Can this really be accomplished? Yes, but it takes resolve – and creativity.

First, make sure that an account has a memorable name. We’ve all seen a million “lifestyle” or “plus” accounts by now. Remember, you can name your account anything you like. Why make it sound like another bank account? Push the boundaries here. I recall when it was first accounted that Miami’s NBA team would be called the Heat. “That’s not the name of a basketball team,” everyone said. Indeed it sounded very odd. That is until they played for a few years (and won a championship or two). Now we can’t imagine that team being called anything else.

Next, don’t be afraid to have features that allow your customers to make the account their own, such as customizable check cards. You might even consider branding accounts to certain target groups. For example, if you are located in lake country, what if you had an account that you marketed specifically to those who enjoy fishing? You might even donate a certain amount each year (based on the account balance) to wilderness support charities.

Remember when I said that this strategy takes resolve? You can’t build a brand overnight, and that certainly goes for bank accounts. You will need to initiate interesting ways of communicating with your target audience (YouTube pre-roll ads, perhaps). You will need to do some leg work (do you have somebody going to Muskies, Inc. meetings?). You will need to have patience as word-of-mouth advertising does its job. It’s worth it, though.

Imagine a conversation where a proud fisherman takes out his check card to show another because it proves just how much of an outdoorsman he is.

There are a lot more ways to set your deposit accounts apart, of course. Contact me and, and we can discuss them. Together, we’ll create brands that have personality and your customers who are loyal.