“The image that we are going to be trying to project for the next 10 years will be safety and security.”
Those were the words yesterday of the senior vice president for external communications for a major bank. I was meeting with him to discuss a program to help his senior executives improve their ability to give presentations to community groups.
Since I’m in the business of training executives to give speeches, of course, I found his words particularly interesting. But his words also seem to point out that with the financial services industry melting down, banking executives in coming years will have to dramatically improve their image.
The financial services industry, more than any other, sells trust. If the public won’t trust a particular bank or investment firm with its money, that institution can’t function.
So how are financial institutions going to rebuild trust after the current debacle? True regulatory reform will obviously play a major role. And I’m sure that marketing and advertising will have a role.
But a firm’s brand, contrary to what many think, is not the responsibility of the marketing organization. Ultimately, the most important bearer of the brand are the executives and employees themselves.
If a financial services company wants to build trust, then their people are going to have to inspire confidence. Part of the way you do that is by learning to communicate with your customers, business partners, regulators, and prospects in a way that connects.