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Importance of branding for financial services companies
How critical is it to have well-developed branding for companies in the Financial Services industry? This all depends on the area of specialization of course, yet all companies share similar benefits and downsides of having and not having professionally developed brand identity.
Lets first of all discuss what we mean by branding and brand identity. Brand as defined by Wikipedia is a collection of experiences and associations connected with a service, a person or any other entity and brand identity is how the owner wants customer to perceive the brand. A fundamental component of recognition of the brand by consumers and how it differentiates from competitors. Brand identity often is mistakenly associated with logo design, and while it is most important component, identity in technical terms includes all aspects of your organization’s communication system and Identity Guide is a specific set of rules of how to and how not to treat your identity.
What’s so special about Logo and Brand Identity in the Financial Services Industry?
In the Financial Services industry there are many levels of organizations and each practices very different approach to brand identity due to consumer demand, popularity, marketing methods and so on. In other words what large bank does, small advisory firm can’t and should not try to do. It’s important to put your organization into context of your competition to do due analysis of identity on the market and take into consideration latest events which have influenced consumer view of many brands.
Main test of good brand identity is if the user can remember it and if it alters or supports his decision to use your organizations services or products. Not having a professional branding essentially puts your company outside of ones that do and any shortcuts directly influence your bottom line as your marketing expenses are not effective.
Logo Design and Brand Identity for Banks and Banking Industry
Logos for banks over long time were focused on solid, serious and conservative message stressing their stability. This key concept started gradually to deteriorate over past 10 years into more modern visual message which stresses how personal banking can be.Personal aspect vs stability is an obvious challenge and smaller banks and institutions try to appeal to local markets maintaining conservative branding as opposed to more aggressive and personal logos you can see from top nation’s banks
Lets look at few examples:
Regional and National brands
Time to rebrand financial institutions?
Not without exception, but we can identify certain trends in the examples above. Specifically local small banks rely heavily in textual treatment and more conservative use of color and in our view lack personal appeal which large national banks are able to create due to more friendly use of colors and design. While its important to maintain message of stability during these tough times, banking industry may be better served if the brands weren’t depreciated even further by appearing not friendly. Perhaps now is a good time to change the approach to banking branding and re-brand some local and regional financial institutions. Not that it will help to change the image, at least may present banks more friendly.