I love Nike. Why? Because Nike never lets me down. They’re constantly working on our relationship. Whether it’s a shoe for every possible need I could imagine (that always fit better than the rest), to workout clothes that stretch, breathe, keep me warm, cool, fit me tight, loose and so on – they have it. They’re accessible and reliable and they seem to always be one step ahead of me. They know (more than I do frankly) about what I’ll need to succeed in my active life.
I trust them because they’re consistently there for me and they intentionally position themselves that way. For a brand, that level of customer-focus is critical. According to Interbrand’s 2017 Best Global Brands report, the top growing brands understand the importance of customer-centricity. Everything they do is deliberately built around customers’ needs and desires. Great brands know what they stand for (and what they don’t stand for), who they care about, and what solutions their customers need them to provide.
In today’s multichannel world, brands have lots of opportunity to position themselves effectively. Like it or lump it, one of the most popular ways to do that is with digital. Creating a trusting online relationship is really no different than creating a healthy in-person relationship; the same rules apply. It starts with introducing yourself clearly and then providing multiple opportunities for people to get to know who you are, what you value and how you want to support them. Then you can consistently engage without feeling like you’re coming on too strong. Customers want you to get what pains them and offer a solution. They crave a personalized experience, so prove that you’re going to give them just that.
It’s not always easy, especially if you’re in an industry that has a lot of competition. How do you stand out? For credit unions for example, the landscape is fraught with financial solutions that claim to be better, faster and easier. How do you position yourself as the best choice?
Here are some tips to consider:
1. Be strategically visible.
It’s not enough to just post some content once in a while for the sake of it. Be strategic, be intentional, acknowledge issues customers face and offer solutions on topics that matter to your audiences. Go to where they are, find out what pains them, what moves them, what they like and don’t like and post content that is relevant to that. In other words, get to know them. Spend the time courting people and showing them you’re authentic, reliable and willing to engage.
2. Position yourself as the expert.
We seek expert opinions all the time so if you want to make your mark as being knowledgeable, trustworthy and credible, you better position yourself that way (and have the experience to back it up).
3. Be bold and intentionally stand out.
Be willing to break the mold. If you want to be heard, sometimes that means messaging that is unconventional or different. Make your brand’s voice stand out. Consider a break from the sea of same – unless you want your brand to get washed ashore. Own your value proposition. Just as important on being clear on what you are, is being clear on what you’re not.
Although credit unions have been around for a long time and have been leaders in customer service and banking product and service innovation for decades, the competition is real. The need for ongoing relationship-building and strong brand positioning never stops and our recent digital effort is one way we are trying to connect with people and let them know what credit unions stand for and what they don’t.