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4 min read

How to Create a Strong Brand Presence in Your Financial Institution

How to Create a Strong Brand Presence in Your Financial Institution


Across the financial services industry, branding has reached a degree of relevance that’s critical today if you want to stay competitive. It’s not just about selling products and services as it was in the past; it’s about creating and maintaining lasting relationships with your clients.

While building this type of brand presence may seem challenging, there are many ways you can take your branding to new levels and enhance the client experience—from designing new spaces and improving your digital presence to reinventing your staff model and more. 


Why Is Brand Presence Important?Queensborough Branch

Best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin once said, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

In this respect, a brand is much more than just a logo—it’s a representation of a business’s core values, its mission, and its philosophy over time.

As you develop a brand presence, your financial institution will become more recognizable across banking channels and will stay top of mind for your clients as they gain a certain sense about doing business with your institution.

Overall, the quality of your brand presence will be the reason why a client speaks positively or negatively about your financial institution and why they will ultimately choose to stay with your financial institution or move on to a competitor.


How Can a Financial Institution Gain a Strong Brand Presence?

There are many ways to generate interest in your financial institution, but brand presence really emerges when you are able to create emotional connections with your clients. In fact, studies have found that emotion is critical to generating loyalty among banking clients, and 71% of customers will recommend a brand based on their emotional connection to it.

At DBSI, we help organizations develop their brands by implementing design components, digital technologies, and communications models that drive emotional connection and build loyalty with clients and staff. If strengthening your brand presence is in your financial institution’s strategic plan, here are some recommendations:


Increase Your Digital Presence0005_Exterior

By now, it might be cliché to say that the pandemic has changed the way we do business—but it’s still a big consideration for most industries as we readjust from that time period. Since 2020, communication has shifted rapidly to digital platforms, and in the financial services industry, over 75% of U.S adults prefer to bank via mobile app or website.

With this statistic in mind, it’s important that your in-branch branding parallels your financial institution’s online presence—creating a true omnichannel environment. This consistent visual branding can improve brand recognition and eventually lead to higher client engagement and sales. Here are two types of digital technology that can help elevate your brand presence:

Digital Signage. Known to increase brand awareness by nearly 50%, digital signage is a powerful network of tools that aids in branch communications. Besides its ability to broadcast current messages across your network with a content management system (CMS) software, digital signage can be programmed to encourage wayfinding, advertise products and services, provide community news, share your mission and values, and more.

Interactive Screens. Similar to digital signage but built with touch screen technology, interactive screens allow users to engage with content and choose what they want to view. Interactive screens can showcase your mission and values, help clients learn about your products and services, and even teach financial literacy. Overall, they add a solid layer of branding using targeted, high-quality video and visual content, and help promote the client journey.


Incorporate Signature Design Elements

What makes your financial institution different from the competition? Who are your clients and what do they want from a financial institution? What gives your financial institution a unique value proposition? How do you want your brand to look and feel?

These are questions to ask as you work toward strengthening your brand and growing your branch network. The answers can help you decide what types of physical upgrades might be needed to either reinforce your brand or reposition it in the market.

Here’s an example:

The Minnesota bank network Profinium called on DBSI to help them build a regional headquarters and flagship branch in a new city market. They had a reputation for community involvement and friendly service, but they weren’t sure how to bring that reputation over to the new urban location they planned to build.

Using DBSI’s 6d process, Profinium came up with a plan that would include all the branding elements they would need to inspire their clients—including locally sourced stone, a familiar color scheme, and a brand identity that fit the community.

You can read the full case study here.




Change to An Advisory-Based Employee Model

Historically, banks and credit unions have used product-centric business models that rely on transactional employee roles to complete the customer life cycle, i.e., the teller line. Brands were built on products and services—not relationships—and they were limited to names and logos, which created little to no value proposition.

With the rise of digital banking in recent years, branch networks have begun to focus more on relationship banking and how it can assist in higher customer engagement and retention. The interesting aspect here is—despite digital and online banking options—research has found that clients want more personal relationships with their financial institutions, especially when they reach out for financial advice, mortgage assistance, and investment solutions.

The Universal Associate Model is an advisory-based banking approach that brings cross-trained staff out onto the branch floor so they can deliver a seamless retail banking experience and more personalized service. A Universal Associate can perform the work of a teller, customer service representative, and personal banker and is able to greet clients, process banking transactions, cross-sell products, process loan applications, and much more.

DBSI assists FIs in adopting the Universal Associate Model, and our team of experts have a training program available called The Universal Associate Workshop, which provides staff with the tools and technical knowledge needed to work in an advisory-based banking environment. And because we know branches are all unique, we create programs specific to each location, deliver team workshops, and perform ongoing support as needed.

Here's an example:

Vantage West Credit Union, the largest credit union in Arizona, wanted to expand their service and add ten branches to their network. Besides designing new spaces, they wanted to train their staff to operate in a more advisory-based format.

Besides branch design and build, they hired DBSI to train their staff on the Universal Associate role using the Delivery Defined program. Since opening their branches, Vantage West has achieved 100%-member satisfaction and perfect scores on every secret shopper survey. Find out more here.



Ready to Build Your Brand?

If you want to stand out in banking today, DBSI is here to assist you with branch design, technology, and a staffing that creates a stronger brand presence and builds unique emotional connections with your clients. Please contact us today to learn more!


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Through DBSI’s carefully curated professional service programs, we can help shift your staff’s culture, processes, job descriptions, and so much more.