Financial services organizations face unique marketing challenges. Competitive pressures are typically high and strict regulations make legal compliance absolutely critical. Additionally, financial firms face an uphill battle after an economic downturn eroded consumer trust.

Banks and credit unions can earn trust through local marketing tied closely to community values.

Nothing is more important than trust when your business is dealing with people’s money. Especially as the banking industry recoils from the largest recession in a century, demonstrating the human element of financial services relies on local marketing efforts. Community based outreach is paramount and the value of the trust engendered by real-life interactions cannot be overstated.

Brandmuscle’s 2014 State of Local Marketing Report surveyed hundreds of local marketers, including many financial services franchisees who said that Local Events and Local Sponsorship both rank highly when compared to other tactics.

Sponsoring a Little League team or hosting a free speaking event at a local library are two ways that financial services organizations can increase their visibility in local communities while generating good will and trust in the process. If these marketing programs can effectively pair national branding with community values, the message becomes clear that the financial firm and consumers are on the same team.

In today’s increasingly virtual world, our data shows that consumers appreciate live, human interaction more than ever. Face-to-face events present the opportunity to establish and build trust, making them highly effective avenues for local marketers to generate new business. Especially for larger national financial institutions, representing your brand on the community level can leave a positive impression that no other tactic can.

States regulations vary, so a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Plus, financial firms stand to gain a lot by differentiating themselves from their competition at the local level. National messages that can be customized in a distributed environment provide a unique opportunity to build trust with customers in their community.

Here are a few of the insights that survey respondents shared with us:

  • “Local events give me the opportunity to talk to the local community about our services and products.”
  • “Face to face is the most powerful way to connect with people.”
  • “Events and sponsorships put us in the community and lets them know we care.”
  • “Face time with customers at local events helps create a great experience and enhances our brand image.”
  • “Local events create a great word of mouth.”

Putting a human face on your financial services brand, supported by localized marketing content, positions you as a trusted local community business rather than a faceless corporate entity. By gaining trust, you generate good will, which turns into word-of-mouth endorsements — meaning more leads and eventually, more business.

Are you in the financial services space? How do you overcome these challenges? Are you empowering your regional and branch managers to market on the community level? Let us know in the comments below.

About Brandmuscle:

Brandmuscle’s local marketing solutions help financial services industry marketers improve brand and legal compliance at the local level while providing the tools and resources local affiliates need to drive business. We enable local marketers to manage the incorporation of complex legal disclaimers and state requirements within advertising created by agents, branch managers and field marketing talent.

At the same time, we make it easy for brands to localize marketing materials, including banners and logos that can be used for sponsorships, events and follow-up. Check out our website for more detail. Or contact us to chat more or see a demo of our technology and services.