What to do when your branches shut down overnight | Community In Focus

What to do when your branches shut down overnight with Keith Brannan

There’s a pandemic outside, and it’s pushing community financial institutions to re-examine their operations and pivot to meet account holders where they are: at home. Unfortunately, this turn of events has also caused some people to assume that just because people can’t visit the branch, they don’t want to open a new account. The opposite is true, and our guest, Kasasa Chief Marketing Officer Keith Brannan, is here to unpack some surprising marketing metrics and counterintuitive strategies that you don’t want to miss.

Show notes:
  • 1:00 Opening story – When it comes to your current marketing, do you want to do the slightly uncomfortable thing and stay visible or do you want to disappear?
  • 3:30 The man to guide us through – Meet Keith Brannan, Kasasa’s Chief Marketing Officer.
  • 6:15 The current state of things – We’re in a financial crisis that’s not caused by a systemic problem of our own doing. But it is changing trends in consumer behavior, and the broader longer-term impact is what we have to worry about.
  • 6:45 Turmoil over 20 years – There have been four major economic downturns since the early aughts: Y2K, the bursting of the Internet bubble, the 2008 lending crisis, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. How businesses respond to these disruptions is crucial.
  • 8:45 Cue Bill Murray – This is an acute situation where everything feels like it’s coming to a stop. But that doesn’t last forever. Businesses must still figure out ways to remain operational. It still feels like Groundhog Day, waking up every morning hoping things have returned to normal and seeing they haven’t. But we’re gaining information now to start making business decisions and planning for the future.
  • 11:30 Keep on keepin’ on – It’s important businesses continue moving forward. If we stop now, it will be harder to restart our momentum from zero. Luckily, businesses all over the world are experiencing this together (which hasn’t always been the case in past downturns).
  • 13:40 Be vital to your consumers – Consumers are feeling confusion right now about what they can and can’t do at their institution. Now is the time for community financial institutions to understand what their account holders are experiencing and rising to the challenge of meeting their new needs.
  • 17:25 When a groove becomes the Grand Canyon – Changes in an acute environment can form long-lasting habits, like a line drawn in dirt becoming a canyon. The different generations’ habits were formed by the environment they grew up in. For example, Millennials grew up during the Great Recession and are the one of the most financially conservative generations.
  • 20:45 The remote life – People aren’t going into the office but are sitting in front of a computer constantly. It’s vital that things can be done online. We’ve found that online account opening searches have been up 15% since the pandemic. Personal loan searches and auto refinancing are also up. This data has rapidly become important.
  • 22:45 When your institution doesn’t have toilet paper (er, digital capabilities) – If you believe that this environment is creating long-lasting habits for consumers, equipping your institution with the technology you need to serve the online-only consumer is a must. And the relationships you make during this time will stick because you’ve invested in solving a problem for people at a time when they need it most.
  • 26:35 Keep holding open that door – Don't pause marketing even if you don’t have online account opening. Our research shows marketing performance has stayed steady. If online is now the only way consumers will hear about you, you can’t disappear now.
  • 29:00 Give them your digits – If your branches have limited hours, put your phone number on the website front and center and even offer text messaging. Offering a phone number is an act of trust and shows people you’re ready to serve them.
  • 31:10 “Yes, we’re open” – Reassurance messaging is important at a time like this. It doesn’t drive products, but it drives brand trust and lets people know that you’re operational and there to help them.
  • 32:30 When local goes national – With reassurance messaging, it can be a good idea for institutions to expand their reach beyond their local communities and into regional or national areas (if they have digital capabilities). The word “community” doesn’t have to refer to physical location but rather building a community through people who interact with your brand.
  • 34:45 Save money on media – Now is the time to go all in on advertising. People are spending 40% more time consuming media right now, including streaming. And because some businesses have pulled back their ads, media costs have gotten really cheap.
  • 36:15 What about products? – You still owe it to consumers to tell them about your products and why they’re better than the other guys’. Divvy up your product and reassurance messaging by 70/30 for a couple of months.
  • 37:35 Everyone is online now – People are going to accelerate into engaging with their financial institutions digitally, across generations. Your teams must be ready to handle that.
  • 38:30 Quarantine streams – Streaming is up to four hours a day and, as a marketing channel, is underused by our clients. This is a channel financial institutions should explore. Direct mail is old school but still works great. It’s the premium version of email, and people like it way better than email.
  • 43:45 Much ado about marketing – Most businesses have an impulse to cut marketing when times get hard. That’s because marketing has the largest discretionary cash budget. So when leaders have to choose between cutting people or cutting cash, they cut cash.
  • 47:50 Use your people – Companies are supporting their communities that really matter right now. There are things you can do to show people you care. Talk to your teams about things you can do. They know your community, and they’ll know creative ways to help. Now is also a great time to refocus your teams roles, for example making someone your social media manager if you don’t have one.
  • 50:00 The number one thing to remember is this is not like any other downturn because in this one we are all equally at risk, this is not systemic of one industry alone. Because of that you have motivated partners in every area of your business. From a business standpoint, we’re all going be better on the other end of this.