At my youthful age of 26, I have closed three bank accounts out of frustration, anger, or flat-out indifference. I learned long ago on that my bank doesn't care about me; at least not to the degree that June Gregg's bank cares for her. Gregg, a 100-year-old woman from Chillicothe, Ohio, has had the same savings account since her birth, when her father opened it for her and deposited $6.11. Without question, Gregg's story says a lot about her brand loyalty to her bank; she's also been very blessed to live a long enough life to accomplish such an interesting feat. Yet, I cannot help but wonder if there is a marketing lesson somewhere within our very different banking habits.
After reflecting on our stories, I think that lesson to learn is that banks don't care about people. They're inherently incapable of it. Every single one. In fact, every corporation is. The reason for this? They actually cannot because they don't really exist. But what does exist are a group of people, the actual guts of a corporation, who are very capable of caring. Not surprisingly, I couldn't give you the name of one person at my bank; however I'd bet that June Gregg could if asked. They cared.
Only real humans are capable of being accountable and working hard to deliver happiness to their customers while getting the most out of their jobs. But, if it sounds so easy, why doesn't everyone love their bank or their financial planner or their mechanic like June does her bank?
I think the reason it's difficult for workers to be caring is because we often don't work like humans should. Punch that clock and we sometimes become a different species. I think it comes from a combination of settling for less and being forced to at the same time. Some "people inc." settle into a pattern of manuals, standard protocols, hierarchies, timesheets, departments, seminars, passwords, fineprint, efficiency methods, and logistical processes, thus making life way more difficult than they need to be and also less enjoyable.
For a brand to actually care, it must hire people that do. Even harder, it must let them behave, and subsequently care, as a human would.
This post also appeared on Talent Zoo Media's Beneath the Brand blog. Also, please enjoy some bonus bank brand content below. It's an alexander-branding.com exclusive!
Without question, my nearly four-year "relationship" with Chase bank has included some tumultuous moments. They main reason I haven't left them is probably that I'm close to indifferent at this point. I guess I like them enough to keep them around because their is a branch close to my house.
Regardless, I recently read an article that demonstrates the degree to which Chase is out of touch with their consumers. In an article published on AdAge.com, the CEO of Chase's consumer bank Ryan McInerney said of their new title sponsorship with Madison Square Garden, "This whole partnership is really about our customers," and he added that a goal of Chase bank is to "continuing to provide our customers preferred access to events and unique experiences."
Really, "access to events" is a goal of my bank? Okay, I refuse to actually believe that access to events at MSG is a mission of Chase bank. However, I do think the ridiculousness of that quote makes a strong statement about the real value of a sponsorship and naming rights as part of their marketing mix. Is that really the only thing that the CEO can muster about it's value to the brand for industry trade news? Well, people seem to like it, so we don't mind writing the huge check and hanging our name on everything. Does that really make people better of Chase?
Please use the comments section to actually tell these banks what they could really do to make you happier or how they could connect with a customer better?