Is Lifestyle Branding Good for FIs?
As a marketing professional, you’re familiar with the term “branding.” Have you heard of “lifestyle branding” and would it work for your financial institution?
Lifestyle branding goes beyond corporate colors, special fonts, taglines, and positioning of logos that all apply to branding. It’s also not about the “yes, we’re great” vagueness that often defines branded advertising. Lifestyle branding attempts to position the company or product as an important, even integral part of a person’s life.
Luxury brands are obvious lifestyle branding examples. It’s important to the users that their clothing sport an Yves Saint Laurent tag or they have Tiffany items on display in their homes.
For those of us who aren’t millionaires, Apple Macintosh is an example of lifestyle branding. Mac owners are often proud they use that computer over its rivals. There’s a perceived prestige other computer brands don’t have.
How would a financial institution use lifestyle branding?
I know of one bank that was located in a prestigious part of a city, surrounded by fashionable, high-priced retail stores. Contrary to the modern trend of low-key branches with modest furnishings, this bank was decked out in marble and brass fixtures and adorned with artwork. It’s promotions focused on these features because it wanted to appeal to the affluent clientele shopping in the neighborhood.
Obviously, this tactic won’t work for most branches.
Of course, lifestyle branding isn’t just about luxury. A brand could focus on NASCAR followers, certainly a unique group of fans. McDonalds grew up appealing to families and the family atmosphere its restaurants created.
A better idea for your financial institution might be to focus on a specialty, like becoming “the auto loan bank,” or “the 1-day loan approval credit union,” or the “all free checking bank.”
Here you focus on product and service of your product. You’re not dependent on a small segment of the population. After all, as in these examples, everyone needs a loan at some time and 93% of American adults have one or more checking accounts.
Lifestyle branding might work for luxury brands and those companies and products that develop a certain aura thanks to the public. For banks and credit unions, branding advertising doesn’t inform prospects about what you offer and why they should become your customer or member.
Now that you understand the term “lifestyle branding,” you can probably see why it’s best to stick with targeted, product-specific advertising for your financial institution.
The 93% statistic comes from “Free Checking & The Banking Customer.” Get a free copy of the report for yourself.