Improving your value proposition

In this political season, it has been interesting to hear the back and forth regarding “too big to fail” and what role government should play in protecting Americans from the consequences of the bad behavior of banks deemed too big to fail. And while the focus has been on the role that “The Government” can play, I can’t help but wonder why the government needs to do anything. The solution lies with community banks and the consumer. Community banks have a tremendous opportunity to make the case to the consumer that they are a viable alternative to the national and super-regional banks. And while the winds of 2009, 2010 and 211 were at the backs of many community banks, growth seems to have slowed these past few years.

And while several banking associations (and even some banks themselves) have made an effort to market community banks under a “bank local” theme, it takes a sustained effort to impact consumer beliefs and behavior.

There are several websites and online tools available to help direct consumers to local banks (e.g. BankLocal, ICBA-Community Bank Locator and FindABetterBank, and Thrive to name a few) , but community banks should take greater advantage of this new “traffic” by better positioning their overall value proposition.

  • Is the product set competitively priced, benefit-rich and easy to understand?
  • Are customer-facing colleagues knowledgeable, well trained and empathetic?
  • Are branch hours consistent and convenient?
  • Is the customer experience across channels the best it can be?
  • And are marketing communications benefit-oriented and customer-centric?

My next couple of musings will focus on what community banks can do to better articulate and support their value proposition and take the battle to the national and super-regional banks.