Digital transformation is more than deploying some new technology. Effective digital transformation requires financial institutions to think differently and act differently. This fundamental shift begins at the brand level. While some institutions may see their brand as chiseled in stone, a brand must constantly evolve. That’s truer now more than ever.
In this episode of the Digital Banking Podcast, host Josh DeTar welcomed Amy Herbig, founder and CEO of The BA Group. DeTar and Herbig discussed the importance of preparing credit unions for change, explained why credit unions need to think like they are “running a business,” and discussed author, inspirational speaker and marketing expert Simon Sinek’s business analysis technique.
⚡ Credit unions need to embrace and prepare for change. The marketing at some financial institutions has been slow to adapt to technology-driven changes in consumer expectations. The key is staying constantly attuned to the needs of an institution’s specific accountholders. “We’re not immune to it just because we’re credit unions, and not-for-profit doesn’t mean we don’t have to play in that space,” said Herbig. “I’ve worked with credit unions that are open communities and fields of membership. That tends to be a struggle because at one point 10, 15, 20 years ago, they said, ‘Well, we want to be all things to all people.’ But they didn’t understand what that meant, whereas the credit unions who are still either niche, TIP charters, or SEG-based, have a community built right in.” Herbig added that while technology adoption was often considered a generational thing, COVID changed all that.
⚡ Think like you’re running a business. Today, consumers are much more educated than ever and have the opportunity to compare different products, services, and companies. This means that attracting new consumers requires constant brand refinement. Herbig claimed that credit unions should have the mindset of an entrepreneur. “As a credit union, community bank, even as a not-for-profit financial institution, and those many hats we have to wear, it’s very parallel to an entrepreneur. At the end of the day, we have to realize we are running a business. I have found that a lot of times that mindset gets lost because we get so wrapped up around not-for-profit, people helping people, and member service.”
⚡ Break down your why, how, and what. Most organizations are familiar with the SWOT analysis, wherein the business is evaluated in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Herbig explained a different approach espoused by Simon Sinek. “It’s business, but it’s still on that human side; it’s a target. And the center of your target is your why — defining your why. Flipping it from, why would the consumer or member or customer do business with you, to ask yourself, as credit unions or community FIs, why do we even exist? Why are we here, and why should anyone care?”
She continued, “A lot of financial institutions have their mission statements — the mission is actually your how. … Any business has to have a vision, which is your why, then your mission is how you are going to project that vision, and your what is your guiding principles, your differentiating factors, your value propositions, and your key performance indicators.”