Bank slogan gets acid test

November 23, 2009
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A staple of bank marketing is the slogan “We care” and its many variations. Small banks use it to drive home their community ties; big banks use it to make themselves seem approachable.

The theme is certainly being put to the test, as IBJ reporter Peter Schnitzler writes in this weeks’ IBJ. Banks, which are sinking into their own credit crisis, aren’t pumping out the loans like they used to. See the story here.

But just what does it mean when a bank says it cares? Should banks even be saying it anymore?

John McCaig, who owns Quinlan Marketing Communications, the agency of record for Salin Bank, thinks the theme is due for an overhaul.

McCaig thinks banks have backed themselves into a corner by drumming the message home over the years. At a time when many banks are fearful or unable to lend, they run the risk of speaking out of both sides of their mouths; creditworthy customers might not get loans even as banks say they care.

The slogan has been around as long as community banks, and institutions keep using it because they fear they’ll lose their ability to differentiate themselves, McCaig says. But because they keep recycling the same message, they actually aren’t differentiating themselves at all.

”I don’t think they know any different,” he says. “This is what banks believe their customers want to hear. Whether it carries much stock anymore…is somewhat suspect.”

What do you think? Do banks care? Should they change their slogans?

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  • Aha!
    Yes, of course, John is so right about the bank slogan thingy! Even though a progressive Noblesville banking institution has just helped facilitate a takeover of a middle-eastern country, flush with petrodollars, on behalf of my company (which shall remain unnamed, for security and hygiene reasons), I agree with John that the bank slogan of "We Care" is becoming a little stale. Nevertheless, I do think that the slogan was quite appropriate during the "Lending Spree," when banks showed that they did, indeed, care about lending money to anyone who could breathe and had a thumbprint. But, now that the ruse is up, sadly, the slogan needs to be changed. And no doubt, Quinlan can provide a new exciting slogan to get the whole banking sector fired up and smiling once again! So come on John, show us your new bank slogan!

    Oops, excuse me, i have a yawn coming on.

    Alan Kerr

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