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un·in·spired Adjective – Lacking in imagination or originality
Yesterday I was walking through a neighborhood in Chicago and noticed this ad for Fifth Third Bank. As I posted on Twitter, you’d think that a bank this size could come up with a more compelling, relevant marketing message. It is a nice sentiment. The intent of the message seems safe enough…but is anyone likely to pay attention?
Fifth Third is a regional bank headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have $111 billion in assets, 6 million customers and 1,314 branches. Given their size and the diversity of their markets, you’d expect a rather sophisticated and strategic approach to marketing messages.
Admittedly, they are challenged to reach out to a wide range of audiences. In recent days they’ve announced various Hispanic Heritage Month events and activities in some of their markets. They also expanded their alliance with nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey on educating high school students about personal finance. So, why this rather uninspired signage in a demographically diverse urban market?
Their website declares “To win and retain the loyalty of our growing and diverse customer base, our staff, signage and marketing messages have to reflect the consumers for whom we work to provide financial solutions.” The above ad seems to miss on two fronts:
- Most research into consumer behavior suggests consumer confidence is down and many segments of the population continue to be more concerned over immediate financial needs rather than long-term “dreams”; and
- The standing that financial institutions once held as a trusted partner has been tarnished by the recession, sluggish recovery and negative news about Wall Street. “Working together” is over used and likely to be undervalued by the banking customer – especially given the post-recession consumer move toward self-reliance.
Marketing messages must align with your target audiences’ mindset and current needs. An ad, no matter how much space it is given, will not compel a consumer to act if it is perceived to be inauthentic or out of touch.