When a company rushes to redefine its branding in the marketplace, an interesting thing can happen. They forget to deliver on their promise. A classic example of that occurred in my own back yard. (While I would normally change the name to protect the innocent, I’ll just put this out there. Maybe they’ll see it and fix the glitch in their process).
A branding misstep
Bank Midwest is a community bank headquartered in Kansas City. They were purchased in mid-2010 by a holding company in Boston. Big plans were put in motion with further acquisitions and consolidation under the Bank Midwest brand. Along with that, came a new branding campaign taking shots at common perceptions of banks as inaccessible, unfriendly and just plain out of touch. They even coined a new tagline, “Where common sense lives.” Evidently not everyone in the organization got the memo on the new mantra.
In these photos you’ll see a series of shots from a local Bank Midwest branch location. First a billboard that says, “Saturday afternoon. Yes we’re open.” This is located adjacent to the branch. In a subsequent shot you’ll see a close-up showing the property up for sale. The locator on the Bank Midwest website says the branch is still open, so I called customer service to make sure. They said the branch is indeed closed. This issue of conflicting ‘we’re open / we’re closed’ signage isn’t something that happened overnight. It’s been that way for months.
Branding is what you do, as well as what you say
Change happens. Branches open and close. Billboards go up and come down. But when the messages you send to the marketplace are so blatantly mixed it makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention. Maybe they have a long-term contract on the billboard. If so, common sense says they should just burn the money, take down the bank signage and move on. A ‘closed sign’ on the only branch in a seven-mile radius doesn’t exactly give fuzzy feelings to folks driving by, regardless of what your billboard says.
The lesson in all this is simple. According to Harvard, 90% of strategies fail due to lack of execution. In marketing, making big statements but missing the little things can hurt your branding in the marketplace. Don’t let it happen to you.
- It's not enough to message, you have to deliver on the promise in the marketplace.
- Misplaced messaging can actually do harm to the branding.
- 90% of strategies fail due to lack of execution.