Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

85) #ExponentialInsights: Tools in Your Toolbox: Branding in the Financial Space


Banks that mimic the strategy of great retail brands are at the cutting edge: They’re doing social selling. (Don’t cringe.) Social selling is just another tool in your toolbox.

In this Exponential Insights episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I interview Jody Guetter, CMO at Social Assurance, about all things brand in the financial space.

What we talked about:

- What retail brands are doing right but banks are doing wrong

- Social selling is a must

- Launching a whole new brand purpose (during a pandemic)

- Human behavior, social advocacy, employee engagement, and so much more

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player. selling is still selling. It's just another tool in your toolbox, right? It's just another channel in which to build relationships to which to shake virtual hands to still position that you're an expert and talk about the things that matter to you and how you can support them. Mm You're listening to banking on digital growth. With James Robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings in. Hello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 85th episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome jodi Guitar to the show. Jodi is the chief marketing officer at social assurance were together with her team, They have helped over 1500 financial brands build remarkable brands, culture and communities. Welcome to the show, Jodi Thank you James Robert. Pleasure to be here. I'm a big fan and I can't believe it's 85 episodes already. You're just hammering out the content. It's fabulous, 85 episodes in less than a year. We're moving quickly towards 100 and I got to be honest, I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to have and really build this platform, not for myself the way it's like I, I, I want to host the party. I want to invite all of these very smart people, people who are smarter than me to just bring these insights out into the world at scale because together we are going to elevate the minds of financial brand marketing cells and leadership teams and speaking about that, this idea of elevation, you're doing some good work right now with the A. B. A. And you, you're sharing with me, tell me what's going on there with with the marketing school because you you've been a student and now you're a part of the advisory board. What's one good thing that's happening right now with just this idea of education? Yeah, absolutely. So I graduated from the American Bankers Association Bank Marketing School in 2017 and that was part of my development plan, being a market on new banking and kind of going down that development path. And was fortunate since that to remain on as an advisory board members. So every year collaborating with other bank marketers, you know, year after year on a core curriculum and really then working with faculty members, identifying faculty members, working with them on curating the content for each of these sessions. And so that's been a tremendous experience. And I think one of the things that's just been incredibly exciting with the school is taking this core curriculum with fundamentals of bank marketing, but being able to see just year over year the advancement of the curriculum too. So it's not some outdated way of thinking about bank marketing, but understanding what are the fundamentals, but also what are the areas that are changing at a rapid pace when we think about our data and analytics or marketing intelligence classes? Where it was, you know, three or four years ago to where it is today is just leaps and bounds ahead. Um and that's just because of the exponential growth and changes in technology and the information available to us. And then when I think obviously about digital marketing that wasn't even on the curriculum as much or as much time allotted, you know, four years ago vs.

Where it's at today. And so I think it's just super exciting that bank marketers are recognizing new opportunities emerging trans technologies but also how do we educate ourselves to advance our own development those around us and obviously the bank community at large with what we're doing education training, that's such a key part of just what we do and what we think a lot about here because when you think about this idea of digital transformation, it's so easy for the mind to directly go to like just technology technology technology. But I see transformation as two key components. Number one telling the truth about where you've been, where you're at and where you could go next on, let's just call it this journey of transformative growth. And then number two getting the training and the education to provide clarity and awareness of of what that future could look like so that it's not so scary. And you've experienced a lot of transformative growth over the years. I'd like to go back because I think that that's gonna help set some context for today's conversation. You've come from a marketing and a cell's background in the retail world. You spent time at Macy's and then went into the banking space at midwest. What have been the biggest learnings that you've gained from both sides of? We'll call it the marketing and sells table. Thank you. Yeah, I've definitely had a little less conventional path to get to where I'm at today, my marketing and sales career. You're right, started back in Australia and working for a high end retailer there and and predominantly really focused in on product planning, product placement, product strategy. So a lot of research taking place, consumer research, a lot of the numbers in the weeds. And then when I immigrated to the U. S. I had the opportunity to do a very similar role for Macy's corporate working with their luxury brands. So again, working with brands like Now Y. S. L. D. Or all of these really behemoths brands. But I think some of the things in that space that is really translated over to my banking space. Two things that really stick out to me data and analytics using numbers to make decisions and to make good decisions. But then I think also about as branding, we're talking about, you know, some of the top most recognizable brands in the world, you know that I've had the opportunity to work with. And so I think a lot about what branding really means and the customer experience associated with these friends. And I think that In the retail world and especially with these luxury brands, those 2-3 things, branding and customer experience is kind of one bucket and the use of data and analytics and we're talking, you know, I've been in the US. now for you know 10 years so and I started my career you know straight out of school to and we were already using insights using data to make decisions. I won't age myself but a long time ago where it feels like now in in banking and the financial services, it's just really been the last couple of years for especially for community banks that they're even talking or understanding why data is important, why branding is important, why the customer experience is important as you're talking through this. I can't help but think about a conversation my wife and I were recently having because you're talking about like Chanel and Dior and, and uh Neiman Marcus, right, Neiman Marcus is on the brink of collapse. And I think about Neiman Marcus as an incumbent financial brand, they brought in and have consolidated a lot of these, more...

...of niche brands like you had mentioned Chanel Dior Dolce Y. S. L. Tom Ford even. But even if Neiman Marcus goes the way of Blockbuster and some of these others that will call them the traditional retail brands, all of these other more niche brands will continue to survive and thrive. Why is that? What is putting Neiman's and Saks and Nordstrom? What is putting them at risk for collapse where you have these other brands that are actually probably thriving even more so in this post covid world from, from what I've been reading and seeing in the marketplace. Yeah, that's a tough one. James robert. I think a couple of the things that I've seen is there's not as much control over the brand in these um, you know, locations, these tree retail locations like a Saks and Neiman Marcus, right? Your brand has a story in that brand, but it's being managed by Neiman Marcus, right? And where the brands are still performing from a sales perspective, is in their flagship stores, where it is about this unbelievable customer experience from the second you step foot in locations like that. And this is still a traditional experience, right? Like when we translate that over to the banking experience, it's still going to a brick and mortar location, right? And the experience with these brands in a flagship store where you have your employees, your brand advocates, your proven processes in place as to why you're building brand advocacy and loyalty to. It's very different to the retail, you know, environment of where another store is secondarily selling or representing your brand to. And I think that brands have realized that there can't be any part of that journey with that brand is jeopardized whether that's the online experience or, you know, in a brick and mortar location. It's interesting, you're talking about this idea of experience in the world world, but from what I see to this, this idea of branding has also gone digital. Um, I'll take my wife once again, you know, she's watching fashion shows being streamed on Youtube. You now have influencers, individuals who are influencing the buying decisions and patterns for consumers based upon what they're posting, say on instagram. And it's this idea of social selling that can be very exciting for a financial brand. It can be extremely terrifying as well. The idea of influencer and you mentioned this idea of advocacy, employee advocacy, even when you think about this social selling and the fear that it can strike in the hearts and the minds of a traditional banker, let's maybe put some of those fears at rest and put some minds at ease by what is social selling for that matter? If we could just define that in today's post Covid world and maybe what are the opportunities? Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, a couple of things come to mind, I think to back it up slightly, when you talked about your experience, like with your wife and content and user generated content and how brands are being influenced in a digital world, you're right. Great brands, translating their brands are over to a digital environment and they're doing it through user generated content. And the data speaks for itself that people are buying brands that they have loyalty with, that they trust that there's reviews that they associated with, a... that they aspire for or that resonates for them as well. And so we're even seeing that in the financial space with people that are doing social selling and uh incorporating user generated content into their overall content strategy, they're building that they're either positioning themselves as a brand that people aspire to be associated with, or they're making real connections with that brand because they stand for the same things, they talk the same language, they have the same beliefs about community, which is a huge one or social impact. But social selling, I really being a prior banker in the bank, I still consider myself a banker, but being in the bank and trying to sell these types of initiatives and strategies to the head of Commercial, the head of Agriculture, the head of retail, I really try to simplify it and maybe I over simplify it but I'm trying to really explain social selling is still selling. It's just another tool in your toolbox, right? It's just another channel in which to build relationships to which to shake virtual hands to still position that you're an expert and talk about the things that matter to you and how you can support them. So it's not going to replace what you've done historically and what has worked for you historically. But really trying to look at it. This is just another tool in your toolbox and it really is about meeting people where they are and the reality is there in the digital space there on story show they're interacting in a digital capacity there, visiting your website, you need to be able to speak their language and meet them where they are, speak their language, meet them where they are, this is not replacing any anything, this is just another tool in the toolbox and that's something, you know we're hearing, we're hearing from, you know, Greg martin being a commercial lender for a big six, the entrepreneurs bank of great conversation paul long is going to be coming on as well and have some conversations about how they're practically applying its augmentation. It's, we'll call it an upgrade to all the good things. A banker has been traditionally doing what are the best ways because you tapped into this, but but I want to go a little bit deeper to overcome some of the fears and maybe the insecurities that they might have in social selling, because it's a little bit different, there's some personal branding that goes along with this, because when you think about influencer marketing, you think about those who have already built an audience and can influence, and I think a lot of that can happen on the retail side, naturally, we're starting to see some of that, but then also on the commercial side mortgages with, with realtors as well, so there's a lot of opportunities, but then we have the internal influencers, the subject matter experts that can bring that knowledge to bear in the marketplace. What I hear a lot though, is it? I don't know, I just I don't feel like I could could ever be good in front of a camera or I don't feel like I have anything to add. And I think if we can just remove that like that self limitation, we open up a whole new world of opportunity, what are the best ways to maybe get the fear to go away? Because fear is just false evidence appearing real and the stories that we have with ourselves in our own minds, right? Right? You're so right, and there's this, you know, with learning and with the unknown and we've trying new things, there's this uncomfortable feeling around that, right? And people are struggling with being uncomfortable and instead of embracing, you know, the the embracing being uncomfortable, they're using the fear to dictate, you know, where they're going to go with this. In my opinion, this always starts with organizational advancement, right? This isn't about one person doing one thing differently, it's really is about...

...organizational advancement. And what is the organization doing to really drive adoption of these new initiatives, whether it be social selling or again digital advocacy or whatever, whatever the initiative is. But how are they investing in internal communications training and development, reward and recognition to really drive adoption of these new initiatives. So these employees feel empowered and equipped to implement social selling so they feel equipped to understand how to set up a linked in page, how to kind of put their best foot forward. But then this continual investment in this organizational advancement is going to be around engagement. Now they've adopted this initiative now, they have adopted social selling. How do we drive ongoing engagement? And that's going to come from continuous coaching and reinforcement and recognition and advancement. And then how are we going to get them to that through that process, to where their advocates for this, right? And once they're advocates for social selling, if you get a couple, the rest will follow if you will, um as well. But it is about this journey around organizational advancement. And how do you take your employees through this journey of adoption? You know, engagement, you know, and advocacy around it. Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch. If they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits, we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand, marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth Or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon inside, you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show, I like this, this perspective, you're talking about organizational advancement and it's not just one person, it's not just one team. And I see there are four transformations that have to happen to make this a reality number one transform the self number to transform the team and the number three transformed the organization. Because the team, an organization is made up of team, teams are made up of individuals. And when you, when you get through all of these three transformations, then you can truly transform the lives of people in the community and the community is no longer just a physical place, zip code borders, boundaries. A community can also be framed around a person's belief systems and and and their values and and I think this idea of transformation, you've been doing a lot of that Since you've joined social assurance in August of 2020 and you've recently launched a whole new brand purpose. You're on a mission, you're on a mission to empower ignite and enable financial brands to leave their mark and be remarkable what sparked this transformation because I think, you know, speaking from that point of truth and experience that you've you've been here, you're living that what sparked that for for you coming in at social assurance. Yeah, great question. A couple of things I think is a SAS company. We really stopped and talked about like, what is our role in this in this process, Right? Like what are we really here to to do? And for us, we...

...talked a lot about the role that we wanted to play with our clients, that we did not want to be just a subscription service that kind of sat on the shelf and just kind of you just got the annual invoice and you renewed it every year. And we really talked about, okay, what's our mission here? And we really want our clients to be the heroes of their community, right? And we really looked at our software solutions as were the mechanism in which you can communicate that right without marketing platform. You know, you can communicate what you're doing from a marketing perspective, our community platform, you can track measure, promote social good with our sales agents, you can promote social selling and personal branding. And so we really viewed all of our software solutions that's playing an integral role, empowering your marketing team without marketing platform, igniting your community, enabling your sales and so really repositioning our products services. But really as this holistic approach to organizational advancement to that, it wasn't just to your point earlier about one person, one team, it's about this holistic organizational, you know, advancement and holistic view of what we're doing and we really feel if you do these three things and do them well, you're not just going to exist and we don't want our clients to just exist and go through the motions. We want them to be remarkable, we want them to be known as heroes in their community and to have a profound impact on their community for their stories to be remembered in their communities as well. And so we just felt really passionate about our software, can tell a much bigger story about what is happening in banks and credit unions and financial brands and to be able to elevate that to the point of being remarkable and remarkable being both financial performance in playing engagement and all of these other metrics that showcase that you're a successful brand as well. I want to to tap and dive deeper into kind of each one of these three areas, obviously marketing and cells. But then you you've come back to this point of community, community community, what are the biggest roadblocks that you see when it comes to marketing cells? Community in this digital post? Covid world that we're all navigating through, that could hold a financial brand back from maximizing not only their growth potential, but the value that they can create in the communities that they serve. Yeah, well, I think it was kind of the catalyst two of us investing in developing our community product. Our communities by product was we knew that these social good, this community reinvestment, all of these philanthropic activities were taking place at a community level and that community banks and credit unions do an exceptional job of this. And but that what we were identifying was to kind of primary things. They weren't doing a great job of communicating it outwardly right. Like it's like, you know, as from a marketing strategy perspective that should be in your marketing strategy, how do we communicate the good that we're doing? And then the second part, going back to the employee element, really uniting and igniting the employees around philanthropic and community activities too. So it became totally integrated as part of their brand and their culture experience too. And so those kind of two things really missing in what we identified, we really try to create a solution that could help drive that employee advocacy, give the data and the information to the marketing team to then be able to communicate it really effectively as well. I hear what you're saying you see...

...and I agree a lot of community financial brands are not doing a good job communicating the the good that they're doing in the communities that they serve both community bank with Sierra and credit unions as well. I mean it's built into the business model. I hear a lot of times like specifically marketing teams and even leadership teams, they're like, we're the best kept secret. And I'm like, what do you mean you're the best cups? What do you want to be a secret exactly? You want to, you know, like let's shout this from the rooftops. And I think more importantly, if we can empower our internal advocacies to unite and ignite around a common purpose, Yeah, that goes so much further than just marketing the brand because in this post Covid world Trust is the currency that we trade and do business around. And people are going to trust people far more people are gonna bank with people far more than they ever will with the brand. And you hear that in the physical world, I walk into this branch. I know my banker by name, I know my Lord officer by name. I trust them and they might not trust the brand per se. But they trust the person who represents the brand. What are the opportunities to take that that legacy thinking which is so sound in human behavior and just simply control c copy and then control v paste it into the digital world. Right? And that's where like what you talked about earlier run with social selling like what is stopping people? You know I'm not good at this. What do I write? You know when you think about good marketing, whether it be a personal brand or a much larger brand, it's all about authenticity. And so if you're really in graining this messaging and culture internally to where it's really understood, there's your content there, Jolinda, right? Like talk about the things that matter to you that matter into your community. If you're building up this tremendous amount of personal loyalty by you know, again, people come into the bank and they know you by first name, there's your user generated content Jolinda, right? People are advocating now for you. And so it's part, you know, obviously education, but it is about having this really powerful brand messaging that is just consistent throughout the entire organization, to where it really is often authentic to where it's not forced and it comes very organically and natural to people to talk about how much will banking on a purpose that's larger than the commoditized promotion of just dollars and cents, putting the transformation of people over the transaction of dollars and cents. How much of that will play in this role going forward when it comes to social selling, social advocacy, employee engagement. What are your thoughts on that? I believe that we're already seeing kind of a little bit of a great awakening if you will, you know, from 2020 and the research of what has come out of last year and has been already released this year as well. What is more and more important to the consumer and purchasing decisions, but also retention and advocacy for a brand. And so there's some tremendous research out there already. I think we're going to see it even more. Um, Snapchat actually did a pretty cool research study to around financial services and decision making to So you're not just talking about the current environment and what is important to people today, But you're talking about a whole new generation of consumers who financial wellness, financial literacy, financial well being is incredibly important to...

...them and these are 18-24 year olds. Um, and so there is a clear need to build strategies around this for financial brands. Historically, a lot of that has lent into just financial literacy. But again, as we talked about niche banking, niche positioning as well, how are you really understanding, what are we good at and how we, again, going to communicate that as part of our brand and even our growth strategy as well? And so I think it's going to be very, very, very important for brands to make sure that they understand who they are. But how are they incorporating this as a communications strategy to grow and acquire and retain their customer base? Yeah. This idea of niche and have been having a lot of conversations with Jeffrey Kendall over at Nimbus around this and I can't help but think to kind of go back to the beginning of our conversation, a niche bank opportunity. And Jeffrey and I could literally just have like, we could just talk niche banking all day long podcast by the way. I mean it's a lot of fun because like, well now it's like, you know what if what if you had the Bank of Gucci right? Imagine what that would look like. And I think it would be interesting for a play for Gucci because Gucci you talk about data and insights how much more information they would gain into a Gucci brand lover to come and make their marketing even that much better. I don't think Gucci would ever get into banking too, you know, for the financial aspect, I think they'd get into it for the data and the insights that they would gain from the purchase behavior and, and that would just be completely transformative. You mentioned this, this um research being done by Snapchat and I think it's important to note right here, what they found is over 50% of jen's ears state. They are less less likely to buy from a brand that promotes issues that have opposing views and this is where that C. R. A. This purpose banking on purpose comes back and like shout this from the rooftops. But going deeper into that, you talked about like the stress 60 of Gen Z's feel stress weekly or daily and money and money plays so big into that. So what are the opportunities there for financial brands to either like reduce that stress or take away that stress altogether? Because this is what's holding so many people back from really living their best life ever. Yeah, absolutely. Uh yeah, I I wrote a blog on that jen's so that Snapchat study and had some, you know, try to really translate that are about to the financial services environment too, because there is a lot of conversation around, you know, millennials and gen z it and we need to thank them and we need to do a very focusing on the segment, but they're not really focusing in on the why behind the segment as well. And so I thought that that article really had some great talking points about really, why not to ignore them and to not just pigeonholed them into a category because they're very clear that they have some very clear financial goals and situations that need to be addressed as it relates to. How do banks and credit unions play a role in eliminating that stress or a greater equipping them. This is where I really see again, technology coming into play because it's not just about your junior achievement program and having somebody walk into the school and um you know, giving them a pamphlet and here's how to balance a checkbook, right? Like, yes, financial literacy plays a role and we actually all need to as a community, we need to do a better job at doing that and making sure that our um communities have the right financial education so they can... prosperous and financially successful and that takes us out of poverty. But financial wellness really I believe comes into how do we integrate technology more into this process? So people understand more about financial goals, No more about where they should be if they want to accomplish said goals and there's some really great um you know, MX is doing an awesome job with some Gamification, like apps, you know, as part of their mobile banking experience. Their development team have done some incredible things ever if I as well, their um financial wellness programs that they're doing in schools, but it's very different, it's integrating technology with avatars and they have a program that's phenomenal where the students actually own a food truck and you know, there are a food truck. I know it's very aspirational and it's it's amazing, but it's just a very different concept of how are we using Gamification, like virtual reality, all of these different types of technologies that are allowing us to talk about financial wellness in a different um in a different capacity and and to a different audience in different ways as well. And that's where I get really excited about the potential. Yes. And on the point of food truck a personal aside, you know, I love cooking breakfast for my wife and kids and cook on a, on a skillet that we got an early marriage and when my wife was pregnant I started cooking grilled cheese sandwiches. So I always said I would open up a food truck, it would be called who moved my cheese? Great marketing right there James. Yeah. And so and I think to your point about this financial literacy, financial wellness, financial empowerment, that's the next level up because there's a big gap between knowing something and doing something and growing. And so it all comes down to like micro winds, micro moments. I mean there's a lot now we know about behavioral economics. I was just talking to a university class and the professor was asking me if I was a guest lecturing. He said, what would be one thing that you would recommend our marketing students? No, I said you need to start studying human behavior even more because people are going to tell you what they want sometimes. And what I mean by that is there's a big difference between you know someone saying what they want or what they're thinking about or what they'll do than actually watching and observing that behavior. Because sometimes we say one thing that our actions are completely different and on that point of actions there has been a fantastic conversation today Jody and grateful for all the knowledge that you shared. But as we wrap things up, what is one practical action? One step one micro behavior that you could recommend financial brand marketing cells, leadership teams do to empower them, to ignite them to enable them so they can continue to leave their mark and be remarkable. What would be that one small thing you could recommend that they can start doing today? I don't know if it's small, it could be small, but it needs to be bigger. Um but I've been really telling our bank clients and been advocating 2021 needs to be the year of up skilling and re skilling your team and investing in education as we think about so many of the digital tools implemented or expedited on the project Q in 2020. And just all of these other shifts in strategy, there hasn't been a lot of focus on the employee impact and the employee role in these strategies to, and so, you know, internal communication and again, building out an opportunity to train and educate...

...people that don't have the skills, but at that senior leadership position, the people that are steering the ship on these initiatives, they need to be investing in up skilling themselves so they can really understand more things about not just the technology, but how it translates throughout the organization and how it really affects the customer as well. And so I think that that can start small, but it needs to be part of a much bigger, longer term strategy and plan going Forward 100 agree because there are four, I call them the four digital growth operating environments, you can be learning, you can be thinking, you can be doing and you can be reviewing which will inform your next iteration of learning and it's so easy to get trapped in the doing of whatever it might be that you have to be intentional to create that space and time to always come back and learn to gain new insights to help the unaware become aware of what the future could look like. Because as you mentioned before, fear of the unknown is one of the greatest fears that hold us back from achieving just even our full potential as financial brand leaders, as marketing and sells teams. And there was a great report that was just released from uh, sloane that really dives deep into that. And if anyone wants to continue to dive deeper into the conversation that we started today with you personally, what's the best way for them to reach out and say hello? Yeah, absolutely. Um, I love connecting on linkedin. So Jody get a C F M P on linkedin, obviously social assurance as well. Um Jody at social assurance dot com. I love learning. I love learning from others. And so I just welcomed the conversation and I very much grateful for today's conversation to James robert. It's been wonderful. This has been fun Jody and thank you for joining me on another episode of Banking on Digital growth. Thank you have a lovely day. You too as always. And until next time be well. Do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of Banking on digital growth with James robert. Ley. Like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint Framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Until next time, be well and do good.

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