It Only Matters If It’s Measured

Ever since First Federal Bank in Sioux City, Iowa, rechristened itself “Vantus,” the bank had been building its brand entirely around the idea of “simpler banking.” (UPDATE: The bank has failed.) From the “about” section on the Vantus Bank website:

“We believe in simplicity.
It’s our job to make banking easier.
Because when banking is done right,
it shouldn’t complicate your life.
That’s why we keep it simple and never
stop trying to make things even better.”

In every marketing piece, the bank has made “simplicity” the central message, summarized by the slogan, “It’s that simple.”

At the bottom of the bank’s homepage, there’s a banner ad for a “Customer Satisfaction Survey.” The survey includes a series of questions that, according to the bank, will help in their “pursuit of ‘Making Banking Easier.'”

One of the first questions in the survey asks, “What prompted you to select Vantus Bank?” The multiple choice answers including hours, locations and rates, but nothing about making banking easier.

The survey goes on to ask questions about whether the customer’s last transaction was prompt, professional, attentive and courteous. Again, nothing about “easy.”

Fact: Nowhere in the survey — not once — is there any mention or reference to “easier banking.”

Key Questions:

  • What is the purpose of having a brand strategy if you aren’t going to measure and evaluate yourself accordingly? How do you know you are living up to your brand messages? Are your actions delivering on your promises?
  • How are employees evaluated? Are they measured and rewarded according to the brand? Or are they incented according to more traditional — and more easily quantified — metrics likes sales and new accounts?

Here’s an example of a question that could have been asked in the Vantus survey:

How would you describe your overall banking experience with Vantus?

  • “Overall, I’d say it’s pretty easy.”
  • “Some parts are easy, others aren’t. But overall, it’s okay.”
  • “It could be easier.” (please specify): ______________
  • “It’s a pain.” (please explain): ______________

Or how about just a simple suggestion box, “How can we make banking easier for you?”

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