Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 2 months ago

234) #ExponentialInsights - How to Think Like a Brand, Not a Bank - Part2


Part 2 of our conversation with Allison Netzer ( , Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at NYMBUS ( 

Allison shares more valuable insight on branding as we explore the last three points in her book, Think Like a Brand, Not a Bank.   

Join us as we discuss:

How financial brands can “queue the remix” by recycling old ideas (3:55

Making your mission statement your product (14:40)

The WeightWatchers and Microsoft brand transformations (24:50) 

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

Think Like a Brand, Not a Bank (

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.

It also takes the hubrist down, which I think we all could use a dose of in our industry, myself included. Take the hubrist way down so that you can coach other people more effectively. 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 ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series, where James Robert Lay 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 Lay and welcome to episode to thirty four of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome back Allison Netz or to the show, where we're going to continue the conversation that we started in episode two thirty three, discussing Allison's brand new best selling books she co wrote with Liz High. Think like a brand, not a bank. Now an episode two thirty three, which I do recommend you go back and listen to for context. Allison and I discussed why mindset matters when it comes to thinking like a brand, not a bank, as well as principles one and two in the Strategic Framework Allison and Liz layout in the book, and today we're going to continue the conversation by diving deep into principles three, four and five, as we continue to educate and empower you, the dear listener, along with your team, to think like a brand, not a bank, so that you may continue to maximize your future growth potential. Welcome back to the show, Allison. I am looking forward to continue our conversation we started in the previous episode talking through some of the biggest insights from your new book. I think like a brand, not a bank. Today we're going to get into principles three, four and five, but before we get there, as always, what is good for you right now? What's going well personally or professionally? It is your pick to get started. Alright, well, fortunate, a lot of things are going well. This is kind of my my favorite time of year, so I think personally, I just completed my longest hike my longest solo hike at about seven miles out here in Greensboro, which I talked about in the first episode. So I got a lot of thinking done, a lot of reflection and definitely definitely feel the elevation a little bit. But I was I was happy to at that mouth when, when you go off on these hikes, are you listening to anything or is it just kind of like soulless, quiet stillness the ladder? I don't listen to anything, just...

...out of my footsteps on leaves. Is kind of Woo Woo, is that sounds is really is all I need. So yeah, just water. It's not woo at all, and I'll raise the WOOO nous of this very quickly. Go go barefoot, because I've been learning and listening to how when you go barefoot you could literally connect back to the Earth once again. WE'RE NOT gonna go into that conversation today. Is just some thinking that I've been doing and have been personally practicing, experimenting with myself and UH, barefoot running. I mean it is definitely a thing for sure. A lot of practicality to be gained from that. I want to want to move from walking in the woods uh to, to getting back to thinking like a brand, not a bank. And and and continue where we left off, because in the first conversation we talked about mindset and we talked about the first and second principles that you wrote about in the book. I want to pick it up here with the third principle, Um, and. And that's where you talk about queuing the remix. Um. And, as one who loves music and REMIXES and mashups, Um, what do you mean by this? Sure? Well, hopefully it's it's everything that that you mean when you talk about why you love, you know, remixes, Um. You know, big part of the book is, hopefully encouragement for Um, for folks and changing their mindset. And so queuing the remix is really about, you know, two things really. One is don't just try things one time. Right. It's interesting. You can. You can look at different the motown catalog and how the majority of those songs actually reached higher and higher heights each time they were remixed and and and collaborations, and that actually increased even in the eighties and nineties. So the point of that is, if you hear what we tried that before, but circle that one go back to that one right. So don't just try things one time. That's a very sort of binary way to to think about your progress and success. And the second remix is sort of you know, usually every every marketers kind of go to right, which is how can we rematch, how can we reposition, repackage, re meassage to make it more effective the next time or make it more relevant the next time? So it's almost to your music pieces, is kind of doing some sampling things, old things, new things that might be completely outside of banking, to create a new mix Um and kind of getting into that, that feeling that you're really just there to kind of pick up little things from different places and put them together for your customer. You remember, you have some very practical key takeaways here, and I want to connect to the dots to the previous conversation. But you mentioned the need to make your decisions smaller or when it comes... queuing the remix, because I think this idea of brand can becomes just so massive, so overwhelming, that we decide to do absolutely nothing at all because it's just too big to wrap our minds around. What, how can can financial brands? How can even the dear listener begin to make their decisions smaller. Right? Well, it starts with kind of going back to the episode before. Keeping things simple again. It's very easy to say, but making decisions smaller means, first of all getting started quickly, having the end in mind. Right. So very sort of specific, whether it's you want to call it a micro goal, whatever you want to call it, small progress forwards Um to a point you made in the first episode. It's not about hitting the goal or not hitting goal. That's very binary. But what progress are you making towards that? When you're constantly making progress, the decision that can tinue it's a very small one. It's not a should we launch it? Should we not? Should we create it? Should we not? Should we change our rate, should we not? These are huge decisions with, you know, points at opposite ends. But if you're constantly making progress, again, the decision to continue is a small, very intuitive one that you can just keep going and keep collecting that progress, you know, again and again and again. Yeah, I want to come back to that probably as we wrap up and maybe give the dear listener another mental exercise to really almost kind of book in the first conversation with the second because I do truly believe progress is greater than perfection. I think so many times we fail, we failed to move forward because we're seeking perfection. Um and this idea of brand. It can be messy, it can be Um, you know, as you talked about the first episode, uncomfortable, but I also think it's important to to get your perspective on this. Key takeaway here from the third principle. Don't ask what we can do, ask what could we do, because I think it's these small, little shifts in perspective that really transformed the entire way we perceive the world. And I I say oftentimes, you know four or five things need to happen for transformation of any type to become a reality, and that you know. You think digital transformation, Um, is the big big conversation, has been the big conversation, but just part of me that says over the next decade will probably see very closely aligned to digital transformation, quote unquote, it's going to be cultural transformation, which will probably include brand transformation or vice versa. Um. In you know, when you look at digital transformation, numbers fail, not because of technology but because of the human factor. Um, and therefore you know we need to see the... differently than how we saw before, because that's going to help us think about things differently than how we thought about things before. But just because we think about things differently doesn't mean that we're going to do things differently or actifferently. We must feel differently than how we felt before. And and, and I like this the way that you frame this. Don't ask what we can do, ask what could we do right? But I think about just in very practical terms. You're a bank, your credit union, you're wanting to drive deposits right. What can you do? Well, we can change the rights, Bob. You know that's what you can do. You know, you could run an ad campaign. These are things that you can do that are firmly in your wheelhouse, firmly in your comfort zone. But if you say what could we do right? What could we do to drive deposits? Well, we could look at our data and see that we have, I'm, you know, completely biased on us, but a niche bank opportunity. We could go out into the community and see if we could actually start a small business banking practice when we're a retail shop. There are things that you could do that are broader and more impactful to your brand and to your bottom line than what you can do. Yeah, and the idea of the can versus the could, the could opens up tremendous potential opportunity. Back to connect our conversation to the first one. It's all the gray area. Um, it's not binary. And and that's where we can move into principal number four, which is remember, product isn't what it used to be. I loved this chapter right here and I just found myself going yes, yes, yes, I mean you even mentioned here product is not a language, and you you compare bank language to customer language, and I've defined bank language as banker knees. Um, people do not speak banker knees. Bankers only speak banker knees when it comes to remembering product isn't what it used to be. What do you mean by product is not a language? Sure? Well, that the chart that you're talking about there when we're talking about like positive pay and things like that, was actually inspired by conversation, Um, I had with with you and with Derek Sutton and in Austin when we were doing a series on small business growth, right and uh and, and Derek was taking us, taking us kind of through all of the different phrases. His point and and our point in the book around product is when you have a brand first mindset, the language that you use is the language of your customer, not the language of your products. Right, Levi's real comfortable genes. They didn't...

...say Levi's made out of X, Y Z, coming in sizes to twit. You know that's that's you know it's it's real comfortable genes. And yes, there are sure product one pagers within Levi's that have an inordinate amount of information about how they're made, but they but they don't lead with that Um and so it's it's not the language and that's that's really where you start. It's also not the language of returns. Right too sees an opportunity. Does not mean you need to create a new product every time. Sometimes maybe, but oftentimes not. You can remix, you can do something counterintuitive. There are other things you can do to get a return on investment then creating a new product. And the other thing is people are not loyal. We talk about loyalty. People are loyalty to a product. They're loyalty to the brand that's behind the product. Because your genes change the size of materials, but you are still a Levi's customer. I don't know why I got on a Levi's kick. I don't really advise, but but you know what I'm saying. And so you're loyal to that brand, not that product, and so that's why product isn't what it used to be. And I think something that you'll agree with is we we argue in the book that you it's really more about consumption than it is about product, right, I mean we consume genes, we consume information, we consume, we actually consume physical goods. You don't just buy them and hold on to them forever anymore. We consume them, and so when you take that mindset of consumption, you think about product and a very, very different way than you did five, ten years ago. Digital growth is a journey from good to great, but sometimes this journey can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone, because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs who are all learning, collaborating and growing together. VISIT DIGITAL GROWTH DOT com slash insider to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show. What about mission, because you also touch on mission here. You say a mission statement is not a mission, Um, and then you asked, or really challenge the thinking of imagine if your mission was your product. That is what gets me really excited right there, because that's where, once again, we're thinking bigger than just...

...about the present moment, but we're thinking about creating a future. That, Um, that maybe might be cause base. UH, where's? Where's your thinking here when it comes to a mission statement is not a mission and, more importantly, imagine if your mission was your product. Sure, so, mission statements not being a mission. And we you know, we kind of poke a little bit of fun here, and I've I've been guilty of this as well, which is to kind of look at you know, people tend to think of a mission is something that's personal or something that's very differentiated, but when you look at mission statements, yeah, they're not very differentiated amongst companies, amongst amongst banks, right, they're really written to be the broadest, broadest interpretation possible, right, like our mission is disturb our customers. Okay, okay, Um, that is a very good mission statement. Um, but is it a mission? Like? What does that actually mean? And what if your mission was your product? It sounds kind of crazy to say it out loud, but if you really think back to the history of the institution you work for or if here in Fintech, the institutions that you serve, that's how it was their mission to serve coal miners in Tennessee. You know, that was their product. Serving them was their product. A more moderate and recent example which you know. You and I have relationships with his locality bank in South Florida. Their mission is to sturb the banking vacuum that's been created in south Florida. That's their product. Yeah, they had customers before they even had products because their mission product is in the crunchy thing with the skew. Their mission was the product. And here's the thing. It allows you to get to market earlier, it allows you to build momentum, it allows you to build community. Those are things that are very much intrinsic to brand first thinking. It can attract people instantly, whereas a product, which is still necessary, requires education, it requires you to meet them at the exact point of need. All worthwhile things, but that is threading and needle, whereas your mission as product, allows you to cast a really, really really important and effective net exactly where you want to cast it. And I think this idea of mission is what I've written to. The way that you're framing this, is what I would allude to, is more of purpose, mission, purpose. I think you know, you can interchange them here, because it is a purpose or it is a mission that is far bigger than the present moment. You're committing to a cause that is far greater...

...than the present moment. And when you create, you know commit to a cause that's far greater than the present moment. You use the word community and you begin to build community, not from the traditional sense of ZIP codes and cities and borders. It could be that, but I think also communities, the community has reside in the mind. Now. Um, we all connect to certain causes in our life, and cause doesn't necessarily have to be you know, Um, you know, we'll call it just donating blood. I mean cause. Cause could be like, for example, I care about education. Therefore I want to make sure that kids get access to books, because that kind of opens up, you know, new horizons for them. I think about, like, you know, growing up as a kid watching reading rainbow and with Lavar Burton. You know, take a look, it's in a book. It's a reading Rainbow Um, because what was it? I can go anywhere, I can do anything. Yeah, like, yeah, I'm like singing the song. I'M NOT gonna sing it. I used to be in a band, but I'm not gonna sing it because it's gonna it's gonna get back to my wife and she's not gonna be happy at all. She's like, you did what on your part? I'm like, no, we're not gonna sing anything. But when you think about the idea of cause mission, when you think about the idea of community, content plays nicely into that mix as well. But more importantly, I think it's the fifth principle, Fifth Element, great movie, but but the fifth but the fifth principle, which which you note as coach and compose. And when, when, when you're writing through, you know coaching and composing as the fifth principle. And because we talked about music before in the first conversation, you know you don't have to be Beethoven to compose the future. You want and I think there's so much future thinking that goes on here. What are the opportunities for financial brands to empower them, to get out of the the trap of just doing, to give them that time to think and compose a future that is far greater than the present moment? But they don't have to be Beethoven. What do you mean by that? Well, it goes back to when we kind of talked the first time about the crisis of confidence that I think we have in our in our industry right, confidence in ourselves, confidence in each other. I mean that goes to a lot of things, right, trust between F eyes and fin techs, FIS and each other. So there's a there's a crisis of confidence. And when I say you don't have to be Beethoven, if you have the confidence right, whether it's because you have the data behind you or your internal conviction, are ideally a combination of both.

What you're you you have a belief in your autonomy, you have a belief in your ability to create a different outcome, to compose a different outcome. You have the confidence that you'll be able to coach and bring people along with you, which is a lot of what you do Um, you know, with your university. So it really is a lot of those sort of same pieces. Is Building a mindset that you can be confident in, having a business case that you can be confident in so that you can drive this change forward and compose a new future or a new outcome for yourself professionally, where you work, the community that you serve, and because you're so impassioned by it, like I am and like you are, you can coach people to do the same with your natural language, with your natural approach. It does not need to be someone else's right. The greatest privilege of writing this book is starting to see things come back at me from the book, but they're in a different words, different examples, different applications. That's what we mean by coaching composed. I think that's a you know, as as I think about our first conversation, we talked about letting go and I think about had I not had the courage to let go of, you know, the first iteration of the Digital Growth Institute back in two thousand twelve, which was more of an agency style approach. Had I not had the courage to let go of that, I would not have been able to create the second iteration, which was more of a consultative based approach. Had I not had the courage to let go of that, we would have got to the iteration that we're at today, which is more around training, education coaching, because from my experience, the Difference Between Consulting and coaching. Consulting, you go in and you diagnose a problem and you provide a prescription and here you go. Good luck to you, Um. But from my experience I kept seeing the same failure rate of, you know, of organizations failing to apply the knowledge that they had at their disposal now, and that really kind of got me thinking of of why, what's the problem here? I think the same is true because then I started really studying human behavior, Um, and trying to understand not only myself, um, but it's it's it's the principle of, you know, Socrates, what is knowledge? Knowledge is simply knowing that I don't know, Um. So therefore I will always be a student, Um, to continue to learn, but then take what I learned, share and teach others so that, back to your point, they're going to be able to create their own language for themselves, for their team, for their organization,...

...and you gave two examples here. Weight watchers and Microsoft know what they're doing, because successful brands know the importance of supporting people to adapt change. And I think this is where I'm so excited about the future of financial services, because adapting to change is yes, it's something that we need to do internally. Uh, you know, empowering our employees, are team members, to become more adaptable in the age of AI, number one. But the number two there's the external component, which is where, you know, my future thinking is really going. We we need to first empower people to transform internally and when they get confident being able to do that, then they can continue to empower you know, people externally, account holders for example, to do the same exact thing in the age of Ai. But Talk to me about weight watchers and Microsoft knowing what they're doing here. Yeah, sure. So one of the things we talk about in the book with with weight watchers and kind of the coach and composes. If you kind of if you've watched pun intended, watched weight watchers over the years, their whole business model has evolved from weight watchers knows everything and look in this book and get these you know, get these calories down to this sort of yeah, points the points right, and down to this very self driven it's your plan, you decide what you want to eat, this sort of high degree of autonomy. And it and and but again, what's been consistent is is that sort of keeping it simple, making the decisions smaller. But now the decision isn't me and the printed book about weight watchers points. Now it's about me and my APP and kind of this relationship that I have back to the brand, back to the brand exactly. And then what they've actually seen is the you know, it used to be kind of like we didn't want to really tell anyone you were on weight watchers. You want to refer people or have them come to the meeting with you. But going back to that coach element, now I could bring you into my group, whether you're a weight watchers member or not, and you can inspire me because if you're amazing fitness level and you can give me encouragement and I can invite my family, and so it's really kind of creating this where I'm coaching. I'm not all the way there yet. I'm not at my goal weight yet, but I have the confidence that I'm going to start bringing people to me. Right I'm composing my own outcome and I'm going to be able to kind of bring people in that can coach me and people that I can coach. And and Microsoft has very much done the same thing. We've gone from Microsoft knows everything when those to this very kind of self driven, you know, self composing solutions for for business and also,... know, for their consumer, their consumer business as well, and it's actually created advocates for Microsoft, which is not something you would normally say in the sentence. But it also takes the hubrist down, which I think we all could use a dose seven our industry, myself included. Um Take the hubrist way down so that you can coach other people more effectively. In Microsoft, I would argue, has done that exceptionally well in the last three to five years. We're touching on this idea of coaching Um, and I've talked about it prolifically on the podcast. Definitely will continue to talk about it. It's going to be, in you know, a core element of banking on change and then banking on expertise, which will follow banking on change, and then, you know, we're kind of probably bring all of that to a head with banking on your future self, Um, as we continue to transwer this knowledge back into the industry. But you mentioned here everybody needs a little coaching now and again. Why? Why do you believe that's the case when it comes to thinking like a brand, not a bank? As we begin to wrap up our second half of our conversation. Sure, so, everyone does need a little coaching now and then. I call you up all the time when I need when I need a little advice, that I need a little coaching. So I think it's it's the mindset with with the brand that you're you're never done with branding, like you know. Just something I wish I could strike from the record is, you know how is the branding campaign as if it ends right correct, so it never ends and because it never ends, you never stop mixing it, growing with it, you know, making the mistakes we mentioned the first episode. Um, about my you know, the dedication to my dad, right that you don't need a classroom to be a teacher, and I agree with that and I also think that brand is one of the greatest classrooms that we have that's pre built to make mistakes, to try new things. So you're never stopping learning when you have a brand first mindset, which means you're always going to be seeking the advice and guidance of others, and that makes you grow and that keeps the Hubris down and that keeps the new ideas coming and flowing. M Hm, the idea that brand has never done is a great way to wrap up this conversation because, as I mentioned before, it's about progress, it's continuous. It's never going to be perfect, because I think we're always going to be learning through the experience. What is one small step recommendation to guide the dear listener forward so that they can continue to make progress on their journey to think like a brand, not a bank? One small, simple, neck best step.

Find a way that works for you to catalog and celebrate that progress. We usually do a fairly good job of documenting or cataloging progress right, whether it's a scorecard or whatever report, but we missed the celebration part. We tend to only do those at predetermined times, like the end of the quarter or the end of the year, but find ways to celebrate your progress along the way. Going back to weight watchers, they're classic for this, right the little pins and the what have views that you get with with the different milestones. So don't just determine what progress means for you or the time frame in which you want to meet progress, but how you're actually going to celebrate it, even if it's just you by yourself saying, you know what, I am doing a great job today, or whatever it is, find a way to celebrate the progress, not just a plan to to make progress. So, as we wrapped up our first conversation, do you mind if give a mental framework again? So, when it comes to measuring progress, the most important question that that we can ask. There's really two and we asked the first one before. It's how do you want to grow? But then as you start to execute and move towards the goals, to overcome the roadblocks with the opportunities, then you measure progress by asking one question and and and this can be done daily. I have a daily practice of this myself. But it can be weekly, it can be monthly, it can be quarterly, it could be annually. And that one question is how we almost started today's conversation. What's been going well for you, because well is an acronym. Where have you been winning? So give me three wins Um once again, Omni try and perfect them. All good things come in three. Give me three wins that you've experienced over the last day, week, month, quarter year. Timing is, you know, uh, this is like a utility tool because it can be, you know, independent of time, because that's the past. What are you excited about right now? What are you excited to energize? That's the what are you excite and energize about right now, in the present moment? So now it's a little bit of past, a little bit of present. The first L is what are you looking forward to? I'm sorry, the first L is learning. What have you learned? I'm jumping ahead and I'm always looking ahead. What have you learned? So now it's reflective. It's like, okay, we had these experiences, what have we learned through them? And then what are you looking forward to over the next day, week, month, quarter year? And and then I don't recommend this. It's it's it's kind of a multiplier effect, but it's I call it what's going well times l because through what's going well, what we're doing is we're exploring the past, we're doing a little bit of business in the present, but then we're also still staying future focused. But what's going well times l what do we need to let go of and we need to let go of so that we can continue to make progress towards our goals for growth, because we celebrate the winds, we're encouraged and energized and excited in the present moment. We think about what we've learned, but we're always...

...looking ahead. But then we also need to maybe ask ourselves once a month, once a quarter, basically everything that I've done, what I need to let go of to continue to move forward so that I don't take that along with me. So that's just another thinking exercise to build upon and this has been such a great collaborative conversation. Allison, I do thank you for joining me for a two part episode here. As we wrap up, what's the best way for someone to reach out, say hello, connect with you and, most importantly, get the book, because you are a teacher and this is this book is a classroom. Well, thank you so much. That means more than you know. Um. So, yeah, we we try to make it easy. So think like a brand. Book. Dot Com is where you can buy the book. You can get in contact with me, with my co author Liz. We put all of our data that we use in the book, all the graphics, anything to to help make your job in your life a little bit easy year, we put it all on there. So that's probably the best place. Connect with Alison, learn with Alison, grow with Allison. Get the book. Think like a brand. Book Dot Com. If you're listening to this on your phone, go ahead and pull up a browser. Go straight there. Get the book right now. Do not wait, because it is a classroom for sure. Alison, thank you so much for joining me for a two part series another great conversation on the banking on digital growth podcast. Thank you 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 Lay. To get even more practical and proven insights, along with coaching and guidance, visit digital growth dot com slash insider to join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs. Until next time, be well and do good.

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