Consumers make decisions quickly, often in the blink of an eye. Capturing their attention effectively thus means operating with all due speed and clarity. Either you connect with your target audience quickly or the moment is gone.One retail consultant calls this rapid connection dynamic the “blink factor.” It can be an important differentiator for community financial institutions (CFIs) trying to capture customer interest in a crowded field of financial service providers. CFIs without a good blink factor may be losing out on new business, despite their best marketing efforts.Here’s a quick cheat sheet for knowing when you’ve got it and when you don’t.
- Clear branding. Has your institution established a brand that is easily recognizable and understood? Your image and character should be so thoroughly established that anyone encountering your brand knows instantly who you are and what you are about.
- Color, shape, typography. Picking the right colors and shapes for your brand and logos can be effective differentiators. Retail research shows that 93% of buying decisions are based on visual cues, and 85% of consumers cite color as the main determinant. Colors correlate to emotional responses. Blue says honest and trustworthy, red connotes bold and passionate. Ford uses blue, Disney red. Typefaces are also critical. When it is all put together correctly, the brand and what it stands for are instantly recognizable.
- Emotional connection. People like to think they are rational beings. But in marketing, the key is establishing an emotional connection. What happens in that blink of an eye is the attempt to establish an immediate emotional connection to the brand. Of course, that connection needs to be positive. The emotional connection is all about the subliminal messages that are conveyed through the various components of branding. Testing through focus groups is a good way of judging if your institution’s brand immediately elicits a positive connection. Mistakes like overly complicated messaging can get in the way of emotional connections.
Putting all this together takes work. But the results can be richly rewarding. For example, if your institution wants to be known as the premier small business lender in your market, you can promote your message through creative branding that might include serious typefaces and trustworthy colors.The branding and marketing effort need to be uncomplicated and clear, and it requires effective and appropriate use of tools like color and typefaces. It should respond not only to what your institution stands for, but also to the type of clients you want to reach. CFIs have developed different characters for themselves, from serious to playful. The key is for the message to be conveyed instantly.If done right, potential customers will know what your institution stands for in the blink of an eye. Once you have captured attention, you can then move on to expanding the message through ad campaigns, sponsorships, social media engagement and other methods. And then, of course, your institution can tackle the challenge of sales. Ultimately, what happens in the blink of an eye should translate into long-term benefits to your bottom line.