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Are Banks Positioning Themselves to Fail?

Much has been written about the demise of the retail banking network due to millennials and new disruptive technologies. At every meeting with our banking clients, understanding the impact of fintech offerings and meeting the needs of millennials dominates the conversation. Although you could argue the survival of the retail banking network is impacted by such external influences, I question this fact and point to financial institutions’ current lack of clear differentiation and brand relevance as the biggest culprit to any potential loss of market share.

This white paper tackles the question: “Are banks properly positioned for relevance and differentiation in today’s environment?” To respond to this perplexing issue, we have studied how leading financial institutions in North America have positioned themselves, versus where consumer needs are evolving. This allowed us to understand where there are potential gaps and white spaces that could better position banks to remain relevant. We studied the top 10 banks and credit unions in Canada and in the U.S for a total of 30 companies. As part of the study we conducted an online review of these financial institutions’ marketing and communication programs, as we view this information as the clearest articulation of how they define their competitive advantage. The majority of the banks we studied lacked true differentiation as most were positioned in the trustworthy and knowledgeable emotional dimensions, while future generation needs are evolving to be nurtured, inspired and even have fun. In order for banks to migrate their current position while remaining relevant to boomers, they will need to consider the following four factors, namely:

Factor One: Own customer-centric and emotional brand essence

Factor Two: Ensure the position is immersive

Factor Three: Strategy united by a single image

Factor Four: Identify the right metrics

To find out how banks are currently positioned and the four factors that will ensure they remain relevant, please fill out this form to read more: