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Retail Banks: The fast track to digital transformation

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Jul 08 2020

With insight from Joanna Carlish, Managing Director Financial Services, Tag

A recent The Financial Brand article, Why Financial Institutions Must Overhaul Their Retail Banking Strategies, responds to PwC research on how COVID-19 has accelerated the path to digital transformation for banks and credit unions, stating “a large portion of their customer base also leapfrogged their own digital experience and comfort levels in a matter of weeks…Customers will continue to hold their banking institutions to a very high standard. There will be very little going back.”

Tag’s Managing Director of Financial Services, Joanna Carlish, responds to the article by identifying three key points as they relate to the future of retail banking.

“It is impressive but not shocking how quickly and well retail banking has responded to the COVID-19 crisis and continues to respond,” explains Joanna Carlish. “The key takeaways are in the ability to quickly adapt to changing customer needs, to move forward focusing on existing business and drive a retail shopper-style marketing approach that is rooted in consistent communication to form stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty. Expectations are high and retail banks have to continue to keep up.”

Here’s how:

Build customer loyalty through digital channels.

The competition is fierce. PwC’s research finds that nearly one in three current branch customers anticipate reducing their use of face-to-face channels and the percentage of customers potentially switching institutions has moved from 3% to 8%. This makes customer loyalty and retention one of the most important focal points for retail banks.

To build customer loyalty through digital channels, financial services marketers should: 1) provide a wholistic, hyper-personalized experience across mobile, online and offline channels and 2) communicate a strong understanding of what matters to the customer.

Carlish comments: Many financial services marketers see success in customer loyalty during COVID-19 because they are getting the message and content right and then amplifying materials to drive the conversation across channels, personalized and connected at every touch point. From print to digital – mobile, social, direct mail, email marketing, web to phone. The experience is intertwined. We know that confidence in the digital experience and virtual connectivity to replace face-to-face is key but what about CSR? Marketers must also think about how content reflects their company’s actions as an organization and communicates heart to mind as well as the fundamental practicality of managing their customer experience online. For example, socially conscious customers are likely to feel connectivity to images and stories that show employees taking action to make a difference: supporting diversity, volunteering to stop hunger, mentoring people in need.

Obsolescent workflows have already gone dormant. Don’t restart them.

PwC research states “so many nonstrategic and nonessential activities are already dormant. Don’t restart them.”

Carlish comments: This is the financial services sector’s opportunity to be even more future thinking. The ability to streamline process and weed out the more traditional ways of doing things allows for even more focus on strategy. The key to not falling back into old ways of working is to make sure that your partners are aligned with your changes and improvements in workflows. Task your marketing production partner with innovating, coming up with new methods to deliver against your goals. For example, if your budget to create master assets for a campaign which would typically begin with an on location film shoot is limited, ask your marketing production partner to propose a visual effects (VFX) solution. We recently helped a leading bank create master assets using computer-generated imagery (CGI) and by turning one TVC budgeted shoot into multiple marketing materials, across online and offline channels.

Believe that flexibility is the answer to chaos.

We know that even in the best of cases, not all retail bank branches will reopen. A recent report from eMarketer stated that in reaction to COVID-19, 20% of U.S. adults will visit a bank branch less often.

Carlish comments: We are not over this yet and those numbers could still evolve. Right now, retail banks are dealing with national chaos on a local level. According to PwC research, many will never open again. In states where there is a second shutdown, what can banks do to continue to instill trust and safety and to stay consistent with communication? This is where agility and leverage come in – and an ability to learn from more traditional retail or direct-to-consumer brands. Think: explainer videos to allow customers to access information quickly and easily, a stronger social media presence to humanize the digital experience and offer information in real-time, more content from subject matter experts to build trust and empower the customer with knowledge and understanding, and marketing automation to create customized, personalized information without having to engage additional marketing resources. Rely on a marketing partner that can pivot as quickly as you need to, to give your customers access to the resources they need to feel in control during changing and uncertain times.

Tag is the global creative production and sourcing partner to brands and agencies. We help financial services marketers engage and empower their customers by executing creative ideas to produce more content across more channels, faster and within budget.

Schedule a call today to find out how Tag can support your brand’s creative production and sourcing needs.

Related reads:

Accelerating marketing innovation in financial services 

Bankers and Insurance Agents: Tips for building a personal brand on social 

3 steps financial services marketers are taking to get it right during COVID-19

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