Top 10 Most Popular Bank & Credit Union Marketing Articles Of 2012

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The close of 2012 marks the end of The Financial Brand’s fifth full year. What articles garnered the most attention from bank and credit union marketing professionals in the last 12 months? Articles on branding, branches, Facebook and mobile topped the most-read stories in 2012.


Atop the list of this year’s most popular stories is a Top 10 list itself. This article, viewed over 18,000 times in 2012, outlines 10 of the best bank brands financial marketers can learn the most from. These ten financial institutions (9 banks and 1 credit union) consistently pop onto The Financial Brand’s radar, consistently embodying marketing ingenuity and illustrating excellence in multiple branding principles. Not everything they try works as hoped, but even their failures offer lessons you can learn through their experience. These are the brands you want to study. Whenever you hear their names, you should pay attention. In an industry that desperately needs heroes, this is the closest thing you’ll find for role models in banking.


Every year since The Financial Brand was launched, articles on branch design have consistently remained among the site’s most popular, and 2012 was no exception. This article, viewed some 13,000 times in the last 12 months, includes a photo tour with 50+ images of physical environments from NAB, Commonwealth, Capitec, Bank Audi, a private banking concept from PKO and a revolutionary retail concept from State Farm. Check out how banks are toying with a wide range of branch innovations — iPads, espresso bars, meeting pods, internet kiosks, and even custom scents.


Out of the top 3 articles in 2012, this is the second about branch design. Clearly bank and credit union marketers are captivated by how the retail banking will evolve in the brick-and-mortar channel (or maybe they just like looking at pictures of others’ branches?). Whatever the case, over 10,000 readers checked out this article featuring fascinating and attractive branch designs from Virgin Money, ING Direct San Francisco, Coast Capital, People’s Choice Credit Union, North Shore Credit Union, HSBC Brazil and Banco Columbia.


When this article was first published back in March, thousands of financial marketers rushed to see what changes they’d need to make to their Facebook page. The world’s largest social media platform sprung a bit of a surprise on page admins, giving them little advance notice, so readers appreciated this handy tutorial.But the article continues to be a popular one for its revelations about “throttling,” a sneaky new algorithm Facebook quietly uses to choke your updates so that no more than 16% of fans see your messages.Even though you updated your Facebook page long ago, this article will shed light on what Facebook is up to, its revenue strategies, and why financial marketers will have a tough time trying to find much success… at least for free.

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Earlier this year, the Economist magazine published one of the most exhaustive journalistic explorations of the retail banking space ever undertaken. This sprawling series of essays is a must-read for anyone in the financial industry. There are at least a dozen good sections, with a heavy emphasis on branches and branching strategy. However, if you don’t have time to read all 20,000+ words, just check out the highlights in The Financial Brand’s write-up. And be sure to take a look at the end of the article for a discussion about the psychological attachment consumers feel for branches.


2012 marked the third year The Financial Brand has conducted its industry-wide look at marketing priorities and investments in the retail banking world. Look at the findings from this comprehensive annual study and see what was troubling everyone last year. (Hint: budgets, manpower and ROI.) If you appreciate the insights this research yields, please participate in the 2013 study when it is fielded in the next two weeks.

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Four of South Africa’s biggest banks rolled out fancy new branch designs in 2012, boasting technologies like iPads, touchscreens, LCD walls and augmented reality environments. Like any photo tour, this article delivers some eye candy, but it also asks tough questions as financial marketers wrestle with redefining their branch experience. Is all the high-tech gadgetry merely gimmicks designed to prop-up an ailing channel? And are banks sacrificing the personal touch and human interaction?


This article, which was written exclusively for The Financial Brand by, is the only guest post to crack into this year’s top 10 list. It offers practical, how-to advice along with a list of do’s and don’ts, which helped it garner 5,000 pageviews last year.

9_hot_or_notWhat’s in and what’s out in the world of bank and credit union marketing? What trends are hot in retail banking, and which are not? What are the cool topics being explored by speakers on the conference circuit? What do you think? Do you agree with the list, or do you have your own suggestions?


Rounding out the list in the #10 spot is this article on the impending explosion of mobile banking. For years now, The Financial Brand has been stressing to readers that the future of transactional banking will be anchored in- and dominated by the mobile channel. This article shares insights from two research studies on mobile banking, telling bank and credit union marketers where they need to pay more attention and how to address this critical channel.

These top ten articles combined have been viewed 235,838 times, representing 7.1% of the site’s all-time total traffic.

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