How to make your financial institution different

The short answer to the title’s question (how to make your financial institution different) is to read the book Difference by Bernadette Jiwa. The book’s subtitle captures the essence of what the author strives to achieve: a one-page method for reimaging your business and reinventing your marketing.

Does your credit union’s or bank’s marketing and branding need to be different? If so, then reading (and doing the accompanying “difference map”) offers a starter-kit for creating such difference. One of the best things about the book is that it is a quick read. But don’t mistake quick for lightweight. Difference offers six key areas worth exploring: your principles, your purpose, your people, your perception and your product. She also gives you that one-page tool for creating a difference map (that alone is worth the price of the book).

Below are some of the key points Jiwa makes and how we can apply them.

(1)    It isn’t the person with best idea who wins; it’s the person who has the greatest understanding of what really matters to people.

You have to matter to your target audience. If you don’t they will ignore you. When we focus on differentiating ourselves in the marketplace, we naturally focus on our competition: how we can be different from them. Jiwa argues you don’t have to create new products (for example, Starbucks didn’t create coffee) but you do have to create new experiences of using the products.

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