I recently attended a conference called the Financial Brand Forum to learn more about where the banking industry is headed and how to more effectively market financial institutions. Among many informative sessions, the speaker on the first day impacted me most.
He talked about the importance of simplicity; in a world where we’re all starved for time, customers want businesses to make their lives easier and save them time. As marketers, we are the champions of an easier customer experience, and we’re responsible for communicating in a way that expresses how consumers relate to your business, not how you want to relate to them. That’s why it’s so important to understand the place your brand occupies in their lives – or what we at VI call your Brand Position.
Josh Reich, CEO of Simple and the keynote speaker during this particular session at the conference, co-founded an innovative company focused on simplifying banking for customers. In this video, he shares the principles the company was built on.
Here are my main takeaways from Josh’s keynote that I believe can help any business communicate more simply and effectively:
- Listen to your customers: Ask them what they’re looking for from your business. Use their input – calls, emails, focus groups, comments on social media, etc. – to refine your offering, as well as improve how you communicate with them.
- Understand the complexities: Do you really understand the complicated aspects of your business? Are you familiar with every part of the process you ask a customer to walk through? If not, we can’t intelligently recommend how to simplify.
- Get an outsider’s perspective: If the customer doesn’t understand how your offering fits within the context of their lives and what it can do for them, they won’t care. So talk with them in human terms they’ll understand, not industry lingo. And if you’re uncertain whether it’s simple to understand, ask a friend or family member who’s not familiar with what you do.
- Be clear: While it’s important that your message capture people’s attention and engage them with your brand, don’t bypass clarity and conciseness for the sake of being clever or creative. The key point of your message must be what you can do for the consumer and what you want them to do as a result.
- Be consistent: Consistency makes things easier for consumers because they know what to expect.
Simple does a great job focusing on what they enable people to do – from saving to buy your first dog to understanding the behaviors that affect your financial goals. This keen understanding of their purpose is powerful. During the VI Brand Dig, we help clients arrive at this fundamental idea, which we call their Brand Vision. Without truly understanding the heart of what your business does for people, you’ll have a hard time simplifying communication with your customers.