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Becoming the Starbucks of Financial Services

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Starbucks makes great coffee, but their brand adds value to one of the most tangible commoditized things ever. So much so we are willing to pay $5.00 for a tasty Starbucks concoction, which is essentially — coffee.

We have found some financial services companies struggle with the notion of brand. Some don’t know why they need one. Some have parent brands that are the antithesis of what the sub-brand is trying to do (i.e., a wealth management division of a retail bank).

In the retail consumer products world, brand is everything. Our experience indicates that for financial services companies, brand is also important in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Picture your company on a shelf in a grocery store sitting next to hundreds of competitors.

A successful brand is made up of:
• An overall promise to the customer of what their experience will be
• Graphic identifiers (logo, colors, typography)
• Integration of your look and feel in marketing communications, print and web

How your brand should work for you:
• Creates a perceived value that is in line with your promise
• Helps customers associate you with specific attributes
• Creates awareness about your services
• Legitimizes your company and services

A brand will NOT work for you if you don’t use it consistently. Your brand also has to be the “right fit”, truly representing your company.