Bank executives routinely ask champions of in-branch digital signage programs to demonstrate their contributions to the business. “Prove it” requests come at any time in an initiative’s lifecycle. Some come before the digital signage network is installed, some during pilots, and some after the networks are in place. The functional reasons banks install in-branch digital signage systems typically fall into three areas: to drive brand awareness, to generate new incremental sales, and to empower branch associates to drive enquiry. Nearly all potential business contributions can be tied back to one of these functional categories.
Bolster Brand Awareness
A brand represents the emotional relationship between a consumer and a company. As a financial institution, you’ve built something that people care about and want them to buy into. Your brand has created loyalty and meaningful bonds with your customers.
Branding is the differentiating component in customer experience. The ability to deliver specific messages to specific segments in specific locations - the way digital merchandising systems do - helps bank marketers create a focus on a customer-centric rather than a product-centric brand value. Targeting the customers who buy your products in a meaningful way is crucial, and messaging to customers properly is critical to their experience and the overall brand experience.
[For More of Our Coverage on Bank Branches, Check Out: What Will the Branch of the Future Look Like?]
For banks, a positive in-branch experience is highly correlated with customer loyalty. Digital signage marketing channels deliver statements that reinforce brand and provide metrics to measure the impact of messages on consumers in specific locations. For some, even the physical display(s), design, configuration, and integration will say as much about your brand as the outward messages.
Financial institutions can advance sales and customer relationship management (CRM) efforts by delivering relevant video messages to specific digital signs, in specific branches, at specific times of day. A study by OTX shows that 40 percent of people surveyed said they were likely to pay attention to merchandising while at the bank. Even if that number dwindled by half, it yields considerable improvement over traditional broadcast and direct mail marketing efforts. Experts indicate only 1 in 100 bank visitors make product inquiries. Digital signage channels generate sales by improving product awareness via targeted messaging and contextual imagery.
Digital signage is about educating the customer; it improves financial literacy and helps customers to better understand fees and services. Message recall is 34% better for customers on digital signage versus print. What is more, marketers can track the success of their digital campaigns and tailor their messages based on regional requirements to deliver more targeted engagement.
Empower Branch Associates
Branch associates account for a significant majority of all customer contact. Yet, according to a report from Accenture, in the eyes of customers “Financial institutions and advisors are just trying to sell me something, not educate me about my choices” as 59% of Millenials (age 21-30), 46% of Gen Xers (age 31-45) and 57% of Boomers (age 46-70) agreed or strongly agreed with this statement.
It’s no secret that mobile and online banking is pushing banks to rethink and modernize their marketing and advertising models. The cutting-edge banks are transforming the branch from a transactional hub where customers engage with tellers, to a dynamic source of information on financial products, services, and information – through the use of digital displays. The result – tellers empowered to “sell” banking services to clients, re-invigorating the potential of branches and modernizing the retail banking experience.
Digital signage empowers managers to change an entire messaging campaign multiple times a week, target messages to specific regions and customers. Although many customers are now relying heavily upon mobile banking apps, digital signage creates a unique opportunity for banks to create an interactive experience.
Preparing associates to consultatively support customer needs is critical to increasing customer satisfaction and creating more opportunities to up-sell. This is especially true today as customers are more empowered and knowledgeable than ever. In-store media addresses both internal associate and external customer audiences. During the workday, it is a marketing tool. After hours it can provide on-demand video to branch employees for training, education, corporate communications, and compliance. Interestingly, branch employee satisfaction is highly correlated with customer satisfaction. It’s likely that programs designed to provide better information to customers will also reduce employee turnover rates.
Taking the Next Step
Proving that your project is realistic requires plans to control scope, timing, budget, and risk. The business plan should identify and analyze the project risks and describe a plan to mitigate those risks. For example, what is the plan to address field service costs for higher service levels required in flagship locations? Or, how will we accommodate executive requests for live broadcasts?
Provide a specific definition of the program scope and a precise project plan with hard dates and deliverables, outlining the work that will be performed at each milestone. Show examples of specific work-stream plans, like the installation guide or the encoding specifications.
Show the impact that digital signage can have on your operating costs. A grounded business case also addresses the costs of not acting today. Action has costs. Inaction has costs too. What is that cost of not investing in the program in terms of missed opportunities, untouched targets, and budget dollars spend on lower-impact programs?
When the business case has been made, taking the next step is where the fun begins. When determining how to use digital signage at the branch, keep in mind - sensory appeals, like using produced video, sexy mock-ups, or story boards provide the gist necessary to fund a program. Show the experience to the buyer to help them see the future of the bank branch.
By focusing on even one of these three areas – brand, sales, or employees – the branch experience can be completely transformed.
Chris Riegel is the CEO of Stratacache.