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A common misconception is that branding is simply a logo or slogan. Although these elements are a key part of it, it does, however, go far beyond this. Branding involves every aspect of a customer’s experience, from your logo to your website, your social media posts, staff uniforms and advertising; it even encompasses the way in which you answer the phone to how you interact with members.

In short, branding is the way in which your member perceives you when they hear or think of your credit union, service or product. This includes everything they think they know about your brand, including factual information.

We sometimes get too focused on technology, frictionless processes, and digital transformation. One truth remains: A brand can be the most valuable business tool ever invented. And many solid data points: “A strong brand is a business’s most valuable commercial asset. It increases the chances of customers choosing your product or service over your competitor’s, attracting more customers, at a lower cost per sale, who are happy to pay a little more, and will buy it a little more often. A strong brand will deliver more revenue, profit and growth, more efficiently, year after year, and so generate more shareholder value. It can help attract, motivate and retain your second most important asset: your people. And can work as a barrier to entry for future competitors, creating a legal ‘monopoly’.”

New Banking Ecosystems will use data and collaboration to deliver value. “As banking and lifestyle ecosystems evolve over time into more open, transparent and collaborative landscapes, attitudes and cultures must shift. For banks, these are not things that you can train – it begins with the skill sets you hire for, nurture and build around, and the leadership that inspires and enables it.

Look at the makeup of an average bank board and compare it to the leadership at Amazon. The mix of education, employment history, and personality types offers an array of thinking, taking in technology, science, psychology, the arts – and entrepreneurialism.

So who is better adapted to influence and implement an ecosystem where innovation will thrive”

However, after the Facebook and CA debacle, one wonders how this will impact trust levels of FinTech startups, credit unions and what it means to Open Banking. This commentator is bullish and explains “How to achieve a competitive advantage in Open Banking”. “The technology and thinking which goes into testing has advanced substantially, and those virtualizing their operations before launch are able to launch more quickly, more securely and more cheaply. This means they have the advantage of being able to evolve and stay ahead of the competition.

While the appeal of the new propositions will be one source of competitive advantage, the ability to stay ahead and adapt will be just as important.” In short: Test, test, test.”

Remember GAFA? We can safely delete “F”. One thing is sure: “It’s not just Facebook. The Big Tech Revolt has begun.” (Or as some call it: A great opportunity for legacy FIs) “Today thanks to the increasing concerns that platforms and data-holders have been ‘gamed’ by corporations and foreign governments to manipulate consumers and voters, there is a growing backlash from individuals and governments on how these platforms can operate,” Hafeez said. “For governments, this could result in greater regulation on how and where the data/platform companies can operate.”

Smart Thinking: Marketing has moved from loyalty to relevance. “Today’s mobile-enabled consumers are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating their purchasing decisions. They will choose the brands most relevant to them at an increasingly rapid pace. And they’ll pay a premium. Living businesses — those that achieve this profound degree of relevance — will have pricing power and will drive repeat purchases. Those are the ultimate goals of loyalty, now newly attainable, when relevance matters more than ever.”

THINK 18 speaker Chris Skinner talks about Quantum Computing and why it will change everything (including banking, money, and security): “It is clear that, even if quantum computing is ten to fifteen years away from becoming a mainstream technology, it is something that banks need to be watching. This is why JPMorgan Chase and Barclays became founding charter members of IBM’s Q Network. This gives them access to IBM’s quantum computing developments early, and allows these banks to test and see how such technologies might impact trading strategies, portfolio optimization, asset pricing and risk analysis. Another space to watch in our never-ending spaces to watch.”