Be Strategic When It Comes to Branch Re-Opening - Strategic Brand Communications l 603-658-1600
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By now, most of us have experienced it. That uneasy feeling when we venture out to a store and we’re standing out front not sure what to expect. There are so many questions to be answered: Am I allowed in? Will people be wearing masks? What’s going to be different inside? What do I need to do differently?

We’ve observed something interesting, too. Some smaller businesses are getting it right – preparing in advance for reopening and reinventing the on-site experience with their customers in mind – while some larger retailers are falling short.

What’s certain is this. Customers will remember how their bank or credit union made them feel. And when it comes to reopening branches for customers and members, now is not the time to fall short.

Forward thinking is essential. Remember, more is being asked of you, not less.

As banks and credit unions prepare to reopen branches to the public, they have one shot to get it right. Will their prep work and proactive communications instill confidence or will customers and members be left feeling uncertain? Financial institutions that anticipate the concerns and needs of their branch visitors and act accordingly have an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact in the hearts and minds of those they serve.

Branches will reopen. What will visitors find when they visit for the first time in a long time?

Branch Reopening Communications Goals

People may be reluctant to set foot inside a branch for some time. How can you help ease concerns and set expectations for the in-person banking experience so that customers feel more confident in the steps you’ve taken to keep them safe? There are many creative ways you can accomplish this – and the solution that’s right for you may depend on the budget with which you have to work.

Here are 3 efficient and effective solutions for communicating essential messages about the “new normal” branch experience people should expect. 

Solution #1: Static Infographics

Simply put, infographics work. You’ve probably heard the phrase “People remember 80% of what they see and do, 20% of what they read and only 10% of what they hear.” Infographics are generally more engaging and increase people’s willingness to consume information because, when they’re done well, they’re scannable and visually pleasing. Best of all, infographics can be a very cost efficient solution.

Your branch infographic can detail, in a single view, all the work you’ve done to prepare for reopening, including:

  • Will staff be wearing masks – and if masks will be available to visitors
  • Differences that visitors should expect when they visit the branch – new barriers or rope lines, areas that are off limits or limited to a certain number of people at one time, etc.
  • Where special cleaning measures have been implemented, including what they are and how often they’re taking place
  • Areas where people may access safety equipment, hand sanitizer and more
  • How meetings will work in offices and conference/rooms
NBC Universal uses a well-crafted infographic to convey their sustainable business practices.

Solution #2: Animated Video

Consider an animated video if you’re looking for a tool that can be used on your website, in social media and more to quickly deliver messages. Think of it as taking your infographic and bringing it to life, so that people can simply watch instead of reading. When we add sound and motion to the viewers’ experience we boost recall. Also, video is better at communicating the essence and personality of a brand as it can be watched, read and listened to all at once!

An animated video can be created entirely in the studio – a big plus as we navigate social distancing requirements. The video can showcase a simplified version of a branch interior as either 2D or 3D animation and detail, in simple terms, what branch visitors should expect.

Attract the interest of viewers with compelling visuals that present your branches – and your brand – in the best light.

Solution #3: Live-Action Video

If budget allows, a well-planned and carefully executed live action video is an ideal platform for communicating what your customers need to know as you can feature staff and leadership in the piece to instill confidence in the message. All content can be shot to reflect the current reality as well as the “new normal” going forward.

Some additional benefits of video:

  • Video is more engaging and memorable than static website content or a letter to customers and members
    • People can process video faster than text, so they receive more of the messages you’re delivering
    • It’s been demonstrated that viewers can retain up to 95% of a video’s message
    • Video contributes to better search engine results
    • Video is much more likely to be watched to the end than lengthy text is to be completely read
Nordstrom does a great job of delivering important messages with a positive, friendly and engaging feel that makes shoppers feel good about visiting a store.

Video helps to communicate the reality of the situation and capture the new in-branch banking experience as well as the caring people working hard to serve customers and members. Video can capture staff cleaning spaces in preparation for each new customer or member, wearing masks and other PPE, helping to make sure branches are not too full at any one time, highlighting areas where free hand sanitizer and complimentary masks are placed, and more.

Regardless of the option chosen, solutions that feature visual cues in addition to words are better at delivering a clear understanding of what customers can expect the next time they visit a branch.We’re ready to deliver these solutions.

With over 20 years of experience working with banks and credit unions, we understand the nuances of financial marketing communications and the customer and member experience. We also know that sometimes the best solution is one that’s tailored to your budget, so give us a call at 603-658-1600 and prepare now for when visitors return to your branches. You’ll be glad you did.