It’s one of the most important elements of digital growth but is often left out of the conversation altogether. 

Simply adopting the latest and greatest marketing and sales technology isn’t enough. The nature of financial services is inherently complex, so connecting with humans and building trust should be at the heart of every digital growth strategy.

This human connection can happen online—through a chat or even something like FaceTime or Zoom—or it can be face-to-face. What matters isn’t the channel of connection, but the connection of humanity. And the greatest opportunity for your financial brand to connect with your consumers is through purpose-driven banking

Define a Purpose Beyond Dollars and Cents 

Consumers are looking for someone they can trust to guide them toward a bigger, better, and brighter future. Building trust can take months or even years. But losing it can happen within seconds. Financial brands that are positioned around a purpose bigger than profits are able to bridge the ever-widening consumer trust gap

Trust has to be built with a digital-first mindset. It has to be established long before a consumer enters the branch (if they come at all). Having a purpose that transcends profits, beyond the promotion of commoditized products, and is deeply rooted in empathy will make an emotional connection in the brain of your consumer. 

Think beyond what you, as a financial brand, need to what those in the communities you serve need. If your consumer is succeeding and thriving, then your financial services firm is going to do the exact same.

Gain an Understanding of How Consumers Shop 

The problem I see time and again when it comes to financial brand marketing messages is that it’s always been about the financial company. Most leaders in this vertical are brilliant, left-brain-driven people who crunch numbers and manage risk. When it comes to managing money, this is exactly what you want But when it comes to branding, financial companies need to rely on the other side of their brains.

People shop with their right brain. People shop with emotion.  And, as Will Leach shared on a recent Banking on Digital Growth Podcast, nothing is more emotional than money. 

There is a gap in the mind. If we can bridge that gap and provide awareness into the shopping behaviors and emotions of the consumer’s side of the mind, then we have a unique opportunity to transform our messages and conversations. 

Oftentimes when it comes to technology and financial services, we find ourselves doubling down with the cognitive load we are giving people. Then we begin to deal with the stress and insecurities that follow. If we remove ourselves from the center of the narrative and see how financial stress takes a toll on people’s mental health and well-being, we can become the physician that provides a prescription or treatment plan. 

Consider building a coaching mechanism, which is where I see the biggest value happening in the next 10 years. Guidance. Advisory. Accountability. 

Help your consumers gain an understanding of how their finances work, what their goals are, and what roadblocks are preventing them from a bigger, better, and brighter future. 

This can be done judgement-free, digitally, and in less than 15 minutes.  

That’s the future: financial health and financial wellbeing.

Learn How to Tell a Story That Sells

We’ve heard the idea of using stories in marketing to differentiate our brand and build connections with consumers. But there is some confusion about what exactly it means to tell a story. 

We’re not talking about a fictional, sit-around-the-campfire folktale. We mean crafting messages around literary and narrative elements to connect with consumers on a more subconscious level.

Storytelling is how people make sense of the complex world around them. Storytelling is what gives your financial brand a competitive advantage over the others that simply focus on their rates and commoditized products and services.

After two years of studying literary and narrative history, we’ve found distinct patterns and frameworks that can be found in almost every story to date. 

And for financial brands, we have narrowed down three-story archetypes or structures that work:

  1. The Hero's Journey 
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. Voyage and Return

Let’s focus on the voyage and return structure. 

In this story structure, the hero sets out to achieve a goal. They try but fail, so they return home and find a helpful guide to join on the journey they were looking toward.

As financial brands, we spend so much time talking about the rates, the products, and the features, but that doesn't connect with people at an emotional level as a story would. With a good story, you can grab the consumer’s attention, form an emotional connection, and encourage them to take action—namely, purchase your product or service. If you don’t know where to start, follow the 7-step StorySelling Method to carefully craft a story designed to invoke certain reactions in the consumer. 

Defining a purpose and crafting stories that reach your consumers at an emotional level will build respect and trust between the consumer and your financial brand. Once respect and trust are formed, the relationship is strengthened and a commitment to your financial brand can be made.