Believe in Banking Podcast
In part two of the special guest episode, Sean and Gina welcome back Brad Tidwell, president and CEO of VeraBank, a community bank in Texas. Brad discusses some of the challenges for community banking, including the continuing economic impact of COVID and how banking can communicate what's happening and what's coming. He also discusses how VeraBank supported small businesses in their community with PPP lending, as well as what it takes to compete with the big banks with resourcefulness and humility. This is Part 2 of our conversation.
Ask An Expert
Gina Bleedorn discusses opportunities in branch network optimization
Previewing concepts from a Future Branches presentation, our expert talks about how adjusting your branch network now will aid you in your survival post-COVID. When optimizing your branch network, think about your biggest expense as your biggest opportunity.
We believe that banking can help us overcome this crisis and emerge stronger for it.
Interbrand’s list of the Best Global Brands demonstrates what banking can learn from brands that leverage COVID as a catalyst
In what has been the most tumultuous year of our lifetimes, one might assume that brand value would inevitably contract, along with our smaller lives. What we’re witnessing instead – as evidenced by Interbrand’s global ranking – is that bold brands are leading the way, resulting in an aggregate value of the Top-100 brands growing by 9% with total value exceeding $2 trillion. Even in a pandemic, the brands on the list collectively grew, showing that the relationship between brand strength and business performance has never been more powerful.
According to Interbrand, “It’s clear that in 2020, strong brands have become stronger as a result of the COVID effect, which has accelerated digital transformation trends, such as cloud-based tech and streaming, across sectors, reinforcing the dominance of technology-first brands.” But what does that mean, for all the brands that make up the vast majority of this list that aren’t technology-first? As it turns out, lots.
For financial brands, it’s important to note that it’s not so much the technology itself that’s making brands that top the list – like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google – innovative, but rather it’s their approach to challenge and change. Interbrand pinpointed three key pillars propelling brands forward even as “uncertainty fuels fear.” With courageous leadership, powerful engagement, and market relevance, brands are successfully tackling the unknown, during COVID and beyond. Those key principles are something every brand – regardless of industry service sector – can nurture from the inside-out.
To learn about making your brand mean more in these challenging times, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data You Can Use
The Story: The National Federation of Independent Businesses recently released its September Optimism Index which climbed 3.8 points to reach a historic high of 104 points. In fact, nine of the 10 index components – which include factors like new jobs, capital outlays, and inventory – have improved.
The Takeaway: While pandemic-related uncertainty and financial pressures loom large for many small businesses and families, the economy’s resilience continues to point cautiously toward recovery. Small business is the lifeblood of the US economy, accounting for 44% of all economic activity. Community banks and credit unions can support this vital sector with a relationship-focused approach that helps them bridge the gap toward a full recovery – a strategy that, for FIs, builds customer loyalty that will endure long after the COVID crisis passes.
A global pandemic and an unfolding public health crisis has disrupted nearly every facet of life. An economic crisis impacting millions. Widespread social unrest and society’s reckoning with the painful impacts of inequality. Any way you look at it, it’s been a tough year, often making it nearly impossible to see the bright side of things. This is why Texas-based Frost Bank’s new platform Opt for Optimism is such an unexpected and welcome breath of fresh air.
This content-rich online experience is a clear recognition of – and answer to – our current challenges with easy-to-digest research on positive psychology, meaningful suggestions for both finance and life, and simple but powerful tools to improve one’s outlook on life, and therefore, improve financial wellbeing. Optimism Films shares beautifully-produced short documentaries on inspiring everyday people who faced challenges and overcame. And a social campaign extends the message with an Optimism At-Home Challenge designed to help build community and promote positive habits.
What makes Opt for Optimism such a successful sub-brand isn’t just its fresh colors, bold design, and upbeat, welcoming tone-of-voice. The site itself is a brilliant expression of the $60 billion bank brand’s values made visible. As coronavirus closed lobbies and limited the bank’s ability to connect with its customers in person, a pivot to delivering valuable content through digital and social channels is a model of how strong brand strategy and a purpose-driven approach can light the way forward. The site welcomes everyone – not just Frost customers – to engage and build community, and in so doing, to believe in banking’s power to connect us to each other and to its mission at a critical moment.
As the Opt for Optimism site puts it: “Our research made our mission clear: Help people become more optimistic and the rest will follow. We believe our mission is needed now more than ever.”
To learn about how your bank or credit union can build a cohesive brand strategy and unlock the power of content marketing and across digital and social channels, email email@example.com.
Image credit: Frost Bank’s Opt for Optimism