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Alarm! The March Banking Crisis

June 6, 2023

Banking Crisis. Five Days That Changed Everything

The March Banking Crisis. Did you know that five days in March changed everything? Those changes may have seemed insignificant if you are a small to mid-sized bank with a strong balance sheet. Is the 2023 bank crisis over? (Read our recent blog on Big Challenges for Banks and Credit Unions)

banking crisis rebranding company Other branding agencies rebranding servicesThose customers that consider you their primary bank stayed put. Every bank executive and board warily took a deep breath and a sigh of relief. “We are unscathed.” “We survived the banking  crisis.”

But my business is stealing share (and my business is Stealing Share). And in my view, your marketing strategy and growth potential fell off a cliff— plunging onto the rocks below.

 You might not have noticed this seismic change. After all, your loyal customers are still loyal.

They continue to trust your institution, and not much has changed. It’s the classical story about lawyers— “They are all crooks. Except mine.”

Let’s Get Some Perspective

Let’s step back and look at what happened during the banking crisis.

Broadcast, print, and digital media made the failure seem endemic. Even Wikipedia currently speaks to that banking crisis time as cataclysmic. “…swift response by regulators to prevent potential global contagion.

During the banking crisis, Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank, both with significant exposure to cryptocurrency, failed amid turbulence in that market.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed when a bank run was triggered after it sold its Treasury bond portfolio at a large loss, causing depositor concerns about the bank’s liquidity.”

For the most part, in the minds of average customers (meaning they consider their primary bank to be one of the national giants), they took away reassurance.

After all, their bank was stable and in a hero’s role. They took over the assets of the failed intuitions. Thus, reassuring their current customers that they are too big to fail. They are unscathed from the banking crisis

Your Advantage Just Vanished

Understand what I am saying: the tightly woven fabric of your bread-and-butter plan to grow your share at the big bank’s expense vanished during the banking crisis.

banking crisis

Those potential customers now view their current choice as best (as a result of the banking crisis customers are no longer indifferent), and your bank is now risky.

I’m sure, on an intellectual level, you recognize this. But emotionally, it’s hard to look at. You are a fiscally responsible entity.

Engaged in the community— maybe even considered hometown authentic. Your balance sheet is healthy. You serve the community first.

You exemplify civic citizenship. But it is more complicated than that. It’s quicksand. It’s the real banking crisis quagmire.

Solve The REAL Problem

When considering any change, the crucial jumping-off point is identifying the correct problem.

Once you are confident of the problem, you hypothesize a solution. Then you execute that solution in your brand messaging and marketing. 

It appears to be relatively straightforward.

But it is far from straightforward. The competitor’s customers, those you covet, are reassured in their past banking (or credit union) choices as a result of the banking crisis.

In the past, before the banking crisis, this relationship was not highly emotive. We know from research that banking choices are (were) not emotionally intensive.

Our research proved the myriad of options seemed similar and undifferentiated. In saying this, I run the risk of angering you.

Banking: Suddenly Emotionally Intensive

That undifferentiation changed because reassurance is emotionally intensive. Why? Because fear ignites it, and fear is THE highest emotional intensity in humans.

The solution to this problem seems simple enough. “Let’s reassure potential customers that our bank is safe, reliable, and responsive.”

branding experts have open minds banking crisisBut that is precisely NOT the right thing to adopt or say, not since the March banking crisis.

There is an old axiom that came from the airline industry. If you are old enough to remember the 1988 movie, Rain Man, perhaps you have even streamed it; lately, Dustin Hoffman’s savant character would only fly Qantas Airlines.

He stated matter-of-factly, “It’s the only airline that has never had a jet crash.”

Why did Qantas and other airlines not begin to market a strong safety record (aside from any Nepalese Airline, this is a defendable statement)?

Because history demonstrated that airline safety (like bank solvency) is a table-stake in the industry.

Everyone MUST assume the airline they are boarding will arrive safely. We suspend doubts. If we did not— no one would choose to fly at all.

Safety and Reliability Won’t Work

When airlines tried highlighting their airline safety records, it adversely affected sales. Never remind anyone of the dangers of chance. They hide from it.

banking crisisWhen you say you are safe in our hands— by default, you say there are unsafe choices elsewhere. You break the 4th wall.

You remind people that nothing is entirely safe—even you.

I do not have the secret sauce for your market. Every market is different— unique in circumstance. But I do have a history of finding that answer.  

We research the market when we rebrand or adjust a brand’s position. Using our behavior modeling science, we test the precepts (beliefs) that drive your prospect’s behavior.

We identify the most emotionally intensive beliefs and align your new brand message with that belief system.

We harness the powerful emotional currents that drive behavior and link that power to your new rebrand message. We use their fear productively. 

Ignore Your Hesitation

The only fear stopping you from emerging from this desert is your fear of contacting us and asking for our expertise.

Never be satisfied with the status quo, and never assume anything. I know we are never guilty of either. The March banking crisis changed everything.