Visual Communication

5 Tips for Authentic Brand Visuals in the Banking Industry

By Laura Box - 6 min read

For many consumers, it’s easy to mistrust the banking industry due to a perceived lack of authenticity. Establishing and conveying the authenticity of your brand through visual communication is a sure-fire way to increase trust and satisfaction between you and your consumers.

The right visuals can help effectively demonstrate your brand identity (making sure you target the right demographic), tell your brand’s story, and humanize your brand – all of which help to demonstrate your company’s integrity.

Set Your Brand Apart

Work out what makes your bank different to others and use your visuals to represent that. Trying to represent a commercial brick and mortar bank? Use visuals to depict your customer service capabilities, such as genuine team member photos.

For investment banks, consider how colour scheme can be used to invoke certain feelings, such as how Barclays uses blue – a colour proven to stimulate feelings of trust – across its website.

If you’re trying to shake up the industry, try something new like Germany’s millennial-focused online bank, N26. They decided to go against the grain of what established banks were doing and use a lighter colour scheme with multiple pastel colours, rather than just one block colour like traditional banks. This appealed to millennials because the variety of pastel colours contrasted against the formal block colours of other banks, creating intrigue through individuality. Similarly, young UK bank Mondo was able to stand out against its competitors through its trademark fluoro pinky-peach bank card, which has become a staple part of its marketing.

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Make Your Brand Approachable

Berlin-based N26 wanted to challenge ideas of banks being “stuffy and boring” and move away from the stereotypical branding. They also used quirky, humorous and eye-catching billboard imagery to set themselves apart, such as a lady shaving her face accompanied by the words: “Banking, this smooth.”. N26’s use of humour provides multiple perfect results: it makes the brand memorable, it keeps the audience engaged and more likely to interact with the advertisements, it starts a discussion, and most importantly, it makes the brand seem approachable and down-to-earth. The techniques appear to have worked, with the bank acquiring more than two million members in only six years.

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Humanize Your Brand: Tell the Story

Alongside humorous and approachable imagery in marketing, telling the story of your brand will help to build trust among consumers. Often the best way to tell a story is through images – whether that be on your website, in your advertising campaigns or on social media. For example, posting real images of your staff along with their experience can make your brand appear more human. Consumers are also more likely to trust a brand whose staff are proud to represent them. Just take a look at the Instagram account of Australia’s largest bank, The Commonwealth Bank.

The account masterfully uses candid images of their staff – from the most junior to the most senior employees – paired with personalised stories about their lives, jobs and experiences. This increases the level of trust in consumers by creating a sense of emotional attachment to the staff and their stories.

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Localize

Make sure the visual imagery you use is right for the location you’re using it in. When companies expand to international markets, they often make the mistake of assuming the same visual marketing tactics will work no matter the location. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When US bank HSBC’s slogan “Assume nothing” was directly translated into other languages it resulted in a meaning closer to “Do nothing”. Which wasn’t quite so inspiring. The same goes for visual imagery: make sure it translates, so to speak, into the market you’re using it in. Get local experts to check whether the visuals could be interpreted as offensive, confusing or simply missing the mark.

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Know Your Audience

Visuals can make or break how consumers perceive a brand. Without the right images, colour usage and style, your brand might not be able to attract its target demographic. Understanding your demographic can help you determine how your financial institution should be expressing itself in order to make sure you don’t miss the mark. When SoFi, a US FinTech start-up began, it successfully used imagery of young entry-level business professionals to establish itself in the market by targeting student loan refinancing for Stanford MBAs.

Using purposeful imagery – rather than solely pleasing aesthetics – can help you effectively tap into your target audience: after all, most decisions are based on intuitive thought, rather than rational thought. This intuition comes from moods and emotions people feel when interacting with a brand. Engage the right emotions and you can engage your target audience.

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