Man looking through binoculars for future profitability for his financial institutionAs branders, the temptation to embrace a new trend can be as irresistible as that second (or third) Girl Scout cookie. Or piece of candy. Or (insert your Kryptonite here). It’s always a good idea to stay attention-getting. It’s also vital to be a steward of the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

Before your team succumbs to temptation, here’s a 1-2-3 checklist to help evaluate before you indulge.

1 Does it LOOK like my brand?
2 Does it SOUND like my brand?
3 BONUS QUESTION: Does it identify us even if we cover up the logo?

1. Does it LOOK like my brand?

Pull out your brand standards guide and read it. Quite possibly, it’s been a while since you’ve read or updated your own standards. Don’t rely on memory. Take a look. Besides the normal things to consider such as colors and fonts, do the new ideas match:

image styles—If your brand is built around photography shot on a white background, deviating to a different photo style or use of illustrations or icons will confuse your audience. (Watch out for AI-generated images especially.)
design approach—If you normally use large areas of white space and minimal copy, then stick with it. Don’t abruptly change to a busy, cluttered visual. It won’t make sense.

2. Does it SOUND like my brand?

brand voice—What’s your usual brand voice? Is it serious and conservative, or is it friendly and familiar? If the brand is usually portrayed in a formal manner, then creating social media posts with “hey!” and slangy phrases will feel out of place and may not sound trustworthy.

music—Do you use music in your commercials, social media, videos and on-hold messages? Do you use sound effects like the Playstation “whahhh” or the Sonic slap? Have these been selected intentionally or as an afterthought? As a financial institution, trust is everything. Music speaks volumes about your brand. Be sure it’s in sync with the vibe you want to convey.

3. BONUS QUESTION: does it identify us even if we cover up the logo?

It’s not a trick question. Branders working with their marketing communications every day can be blinded by the curse of knowledge. You might need some outside perspective. So take the time to do a few focus groups or meet with your advisory board to solicit insights. (Our National Millennial Advisory Board is an excellent sounding board available to help with research.)

Conduct a blind test: show them the work sans logos—alongside campaigns from your competitors, also without logos. Can they identify which ads are yours, and which ones belong to competitors A, B and C? Do they differentiate or all blend together? What you hear may surprise you. Or it may affirm you’re on the right path. Either way, you’ve got firm footing for your launch.

forever on the lips
So, you had a great brainstorming session for your next marketing campaign. Shiny, tasty new ideas are everywhere.

Use our 1-2-3 test to be sure they’re on strategy and on-brand so your financial brand is forever on the lips of your audiences. Bon appétit!

For more brand building. watch our 5-minute video: Better brand audits = better brands.

If your financial institution needs help with a fresh and strategic new marketing campaign, schedule a meeting with Martha Bartlett Piland. Let's see how we can help with an introductory call.