Today could and should signal a new and better way forward for the Cooperative Bank. But to move forward now they must ignore the battering and negative comment from the media and create captivating narratives mined from their history and based on their true and original core values.
As they take this latest hit, the import of their founding story gets lost. Founding stories act as a guide when it comes to redefining a company’s identity.
Banks need to remember that the link between their brand and their organisation is closer and matters even more, because they don’t have tangible products.
Banks don’t make the actual money.
All they do have is a relationship about money with their customers. Quite a different notion, and one that can touch people profoundly. This relationship involves one of the most intimate, emotional and important things in people’s lives – their security. So customers want to trust, feel comfortable and a part of the organisation, not an irrelevance and worse an inconvenience.
The Cooperative Bank must realise it has vast personal experience in money – it knows the different attitudes, laws, customs and emotions that affect people’s behaviour. So with the right vision, and a compelling differentiation, the Cooperative Bank brand could now become the most compelling brand in money – “doing the right thing.”.
Differentiation in its real sense is not a tactic. It’s just a new mindset that comes from listening and absorbing – a commitment to be different – to go backwards perhaps, in order to emerge further forwards. Courage is required to move away from the well-rounded output and do the opposite of what might seem logical at times when crisis is heightened.
Amid such harsh climes, many banks are realising they have no choice but to adopt an attitude of transparency, better ethics and a focus on the consumer.
In essence, what is needed is a difference more evident, more meaningful and more compelling.
The new affinity throughout the Cooperative Bank and in all of its relationships, must transform wasteful clichés into expressions of integrity. This, in turn, will help to build the brand in minds around the country.
Currently, bank advertising says more about advertising than it says about banks. The Cooperative Bank needs to take a forensic look at where their appeal and advantage lies and leverage that by communicating in a way that we can all actually believe.
They have an opportunity now. Let’s hope they know how to use it.