5 Elements of Authentic Financial Marketing

December 11, 2023

Financial institution marketing in 2023 can feel like an uphill battle. Banking clients now expect sophisticated digital experiences, which gives the big brand names and disruptive fintech companies an edge. And as you might expect, regional, mutual, and community banks face all of these challenges with a smaller pool of resources.

Forbes Advisor reports that 78% of U.S. adults prefer to bank digitally. However, mobile banking apps and digital wallets ranked fairly low as priorities for potential checking and savings clients: instead, evergreen benefits like neighborhood branch access and favorable interest rates were among the most desired features. In addition, an Accenture survey of 49,000 consumers worldwide found that 67% of them “like seeing bank branches in their neighborhood, as they portray stability and availability.”

Angela Herbst, Vice President of Client Strategy at TBG, says local-level institutions have an advantage here. 

“It’s not new for banks to lean into the softer, more purpose-driven side of their brand to stand out given how commoditized the category is,” Angela says. “But the beauty of building a purpose-led brand for a community or local bank is that purpose can be truly seen and felt in the communities they are in, which provides so much more credibility to what we do in the advertising.”

Here are five elements to emphasize for impactful financial marketing. You can see our recent work with South Shore Bank as an example of how these points can work in practice. 

1. Unique signifiers: What makes your company stand out? 24/7 availability? Accessible locations? Efficient service? Translating that into a recognizable brand identity is critical. For our client South Shore Bank, we modernized their brand with a campaign using bold colors, consistent visual identifiers that reinforced their logo, and warm human imagery to portray them as a purpose-driven company.

2. Community visibility: Invest in physical advertising as well as targeted digital ads within your community. Even a modest bank marketing budget can do this and it will make a huge difference when it comes to building a presence. For us, this involved staying focused on the bank’s core region with both physical media (billboards, bus wraps, etc.) and targeted digital advertising. 

3. Local expertise and helpful content: Provide blog posts, videos, and more with an actual benefit to the consumer. Don’t just talk about how much of an expert your team is—give some examples. With South Shore Bank, we focused on local content partnerships, specifically media outlets Boston Magazine and WCVB. You can get some more ideas on how to create compelling content from our blog post on thought leadership here.

4. Combination of technology and human connection: Every bank likes to brag about their technology: the trick is to make it clear how that technology will benefit actual people. Online banking, for example, makes transactions convenient and easy, and mobile tools allow users to check their finances with ease. Part of what made South Shore different was their FACE2FACE® virtual teller service, so it made sense to show this in action, as viewers could then see something the competition might not be able to show them.

5. Community engagement: By incorporating your clients and community into financial marketing, the people who frequent your business will feel more involved, and prospective clients will recognize their neighborhood and appreciate the brand’s authenticity. For South Shore Bank, we produced a series of video ads spotlighting the bank’s client partners.

Whatever your specific business needs and goals, emphasizing your bank’s authenticity, community, and expertise can help you spotlight your brand’s advantages with effective financial marketing.

 TBG helped South Shore Bank develop its brand identity 
by spotlighting its client relationships.


About TBG
TBG is a B2B and B2G marketing communications firm with a roster of global clients in aerospace and defense, technology, healthcare, higher-ed, information security, and related industries. Clients work with TBG to build programs that simplify and strategize their core offerings; drive market response through compelling creative; and communicate with their audiences both internally and externally in the most effective way. In November 2023, TBG was acquired by Isovera

For more information please visit bostongroup.com.