Bancography | Branch Planning, Marketing Research, Brand Strategy, Products & Profitabilty

The Five S’s: Safe, Strong, Stable, Secure, Sound

So you’re thinking about running a “safe and sound” campaign? Here are some various perspectives to ponder as you craft your strategy.

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Financial marketers are unsure about what to say:

“The situation is so fluid, it’s hard to figure out what message to
put out today that would be relevant tomorrow morning.”

Matthew Harrington, US Chief Exec/Edelman Public Relations

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There’s concern about fear-mongering:

“We wanted to strike the proper tone
between being informative and being alarmist.”

Andrew Gray, Public Affairs Director/FDIC

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Some people are okay with scaring the begeezus out of people.
Fear is a powerful motivator, so don’t be afraid to use it:

“Ads should tell people with money:
‘There is every reason to worry. That’s why we’re here.’”

Gary Stibel in the New York Times

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Kiosk & Display | Digital Merchandising for Financial Institutions

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One expert warns that a message of reassurance could backfire:

“The last thing that customers need is a
‘everything is OK, trust us’ approach.
That will definitely get them worried.”

Martin Bishop, Brand Mix

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Some endorse a return to boring banking. Wrong.
Sharing your Five S story does not mean you have to be boring and lifeless.

“There’s something to be said for the old, conservative,
traditional banking model. The stodgy old businessmen may not
be fun and give you deals, but they give you…security.”

— The AP’s Emily Fredrix

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It’s tough trying to figure it all out:

“It’s hard to be reassuring when
nobody knows how it will all pan out.”

Rebecca Saeger, Charles Schwab EVP/CMO

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There’s a lot of disagreement about what to say and how to sell the Five S’s, but pretty much everyone agrees on this:

“This is not the time for keeping to the course.”

Gary M. Stibel, chief executive at the New England Consulting Group

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CUNA | Youth Week 2014

Comments

  1. Hi Roger,

    Here’s all I know. It’s from a Credit Union Times article about TDECU’s “Safe & Sound” website:

    FDIC General Counsel Sara A. Kelsey has written a letter of concern about the campaign to both the NCUA and the Texas Credit Union Commissioner.

    “I am writing to express the FDIC’s concern about misleading statements regarding the banking industry that Texas Dow Employees Credit Union has posted on its Web site and run in radio, television and newspaper advertisements,” Kelsey wrote in the letter. “The Web page begins by saying ‘The news is scary,’ then talks about the ‘crisis’ in the financial services industry and goes on to say that ‘The entire banking and mortgage industry is under a dark cloud.’ In contrast, the Web page explains that TDECU does not get into the kind of trouble the banking and mortgage industry is in. Therefore, according to the Web page ‘deposits with TDECU are safe. And sound.’ The clear implication from this statement is that deposits with banks are not safe and sound.”

    She added that “by casting aspersions on the health of the banking industry and implying that bank deposits are not safe and sound, TDECU has made irresponsible and misleading statement that could generate unwarranted public anxiety. Such statements may violate both federal and state laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act and Texas deceptive trade practices laws.”

    Surprisingly, Texas Credit Union Commissioner Harold Feeney agreed with the complaint. TDECU has to pull its Safe & Sound site down (although you can still access a garbled version of it via a cached Google result).

  2. Roger Conant says:

    Jeffey,
    Is it true that Shelia Bair, FDIC Chair, wrote to CU leagues asking them to “cool it” with respect to aggressively marketing to take advantage of the bank fallout?

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