Trust me, I’m a bank

March 18, 2019

Building Trust vs. Buying Trust

Quick, think of three people you trust. Not family members or friends, but people in your organisation, or partners or vendors. 

Now, what are the reasons you trust those people?

Most likely it’s not because they say, ‘Trust me!’ a hundred times a days.

So why do banks use that strategy to try to gain out trust? Some even call themselves ‘trusts’. Does this ever work?

You probably trust the people you do because they earn your trust over time through repeatable and reliable delivery on promises. ‘Earn’ is a word the banks love. They love to earn money. Yet when it comes to our trust, they opt for the easy way out rather than the hard work of earning our trust over time through repeatable and reliable delivery on promises.

What all brands can learn from the Royal Commission

Mine is bigger than yours

The other shortcut banks use is to parade who has the biggest…building. Banks love to put their names atop tall buildings. What does this tell us about the bank, other than that they have an awful lot of our money?

I was recently in Egypt and one of the local banks, Commercial International Bank, had taken over Cairo International Airport. They had negotiated exclusive advertising rights and their ads were everywhere from the gates, the jetways, baggage claim, even on the trolleys. This succeeded in establishing name recognition, but the big banks don’t need to establish awareness, they need to build trust.

What this campaign told me was that the Commercial International Bank’s marketing department thought it easier to spend money on expensive ad placements than to hire representatives to listen to their customers.

I liked their Message from the chairman, but it is buried under ‘CIB Community’ on their website.

What most of us see instead are giant signs that read: ‘CIB A BANK TO TRUST’.

Wouldn’t it be better to see the actual faces of the people in charge, with references and perhaps a link to a background check?

After all, they don’t trust us, do they?


Get a loan with this strategy

Trust is a two-way street, and banks should work to gain our trust, just as they make us work to gain theirs.

And if there are any bankers who don’t think that is a sensible proposition, just imagine that the next time a customer wants a loan she doesn’t bother going through the effort to establish a good credit record, but instead rents a billboard across the street from the bank, plastered with her photo and the words: JANE SMITH: A WOMAN TO TRUST.

Picture of Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor

MD & Head of Strategy and Research

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