Branding: Your Mission, Vision and Value Can't Be Solely Focused on Service
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Service Alone Isn't Enough
I still see credit unions and community banks with a mission based on providing good, great, outstanding, and sometimes exceptional, service.
While ‘service with a smile’ is great, if that’s all you have to offer that differentiates you from other financial options out there, I’ll take my money elsewhere, where it will have real, actual, meaningful impact. #SorryNotSorry
Impactful, Influential Missions and Mission Statements
Today’s educated consumer knows they can be part of something bigger than themselves with their every day actions and choices. They know that how they spend and invest their money has impact on the world around them. If you want them to invest their money with you, your vision, mission, and value proposition should clearly articulate the meaningful influence you’re going to have with their money.
That influence should revolve around your core values and invoke a sense of pride, belonging, or charity. People want to know they're aligned with organizations that are working towards the same goals and supporting the same values as they believe in.
According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer Report the goal of the organization needs to be to build trust and credibility for the consumer. When they trust a brand, they are more likely to stay loyal and even advocate for your credit union. For that service is an important part but striving to find the most effective solutions to their financial problems or aligning with their values while solving with their problems will go a long way.
Yes, delivering exceptional customer service should certainly be an expectation for everyone that works at your financial institution, but making it the sole focus of your mission is a bit of a cop-out as we near 2020.
Is a service standard really all you have to offer and strive for as your mission, your primary purpose for existence?
Moreover, if a single member service representative can discredit the entire purpose for which your financial institution exists because they’re having a bad day, how valuable is that mission statement to begin with?
Choosing to operate your institution around service standards rather than realized, meaningful impact is an old school way of thinking that needs to evolve. And it needs to evolve quickly if you're going to stay relevant in today's socially-minded society.
Vision, Mission, and Value Proposition Statements
Before you can write a good statement you must know, understand, and believe in your core values. You have to be comfortable knowing that your core values are not going to perfectly align with every person in your marketplace, so you can’t have FOMO (fear of missing out) going through this process.
Here are some draft statement mock ups for reference:
Vision - Your vision statement should be aspirational. The big impact you want to have in the world. It will include words like: aspire, empower, movement, change, influence, etc.
Mission - The strategic guiding light for your institution. You rely on this statement to make decisions about new products, operational efficiencies, where you donate charitable funds, who you hire, what your branches look like, etc.
Value Proposition - Keep it Short. This should tell someone exactly why they should choose your institution, and how you’re different than your competitors. Resonates with your ideal personas so they know you’re the right choice for them.
Tagline - Summarizes your mission in a way that the general marketplace can easily understand your overall purpose.
If your current mission is based on a service standard of excellence I challenge you to dig deeper. Make excellent service a baseline expectation for your staff, and then re-imagine your mission and purpose to have a greater, more meaningful impact on your community and the world as a whole. Develop core values that are employee, member, and community centric.
I already expect a happy teller line and friendly phone support. Which movement are you going to make me part of with my money?
Originally published as a guest blog for CU Insight.