Colorful toy animals lined up and perched atop a green metal shipping container

Conducting comprehensive brand audits is not just a good practice, but a necessity for maintaining a strong identity and protecting the brand you’ve invested in building. Whether it's for routine check-ups or considering an overhaul, examining all facets of your bank's communications is crucial. Beware: some elements are easy to miss.

The basics include evaluating advertising strategies, social media presence, printed materials and website content, since these channels directly convey your brand message to both internal and external audiences.

But to be comprehensive, take your evaluation to the next level.

Here are eight often overlooked areas during a brand audit that also significantly impact perceptions about your financial institution.

Bank physical spaces still matter

The physical environment plays a significant role in shaping customer perceptions. Physical spaces of a bank or credit union are often overlooked because they become like wallpaper to employees who see them every day.

1. drive up
Look beyond the customer-facing signage at the drive up kiosk and the teller windows. Notice what’s visible behind teller line and drive-up window. Ad-hoc notes or reminders urging tellers to upsell or highlighting internal policies should not be on public display: yet they often are.

2. branch interiors
Evaluate the ambiance and layout of the branch. Take note of factors like convenient parking, front door area cleanliness and ease of entry. Ensure signage is cohesive with brand aesthetics. If art or point-of-sale materials are sun-bleached or there are dusty plants around, they need to go.

Walk backwards through your branch and you’ll see things from a new perspective. Those brand discrepancies will leap out at you.

Defuse stressful on-hold experiences

3. voice mail greetings
Your bank should have a standard script for employees to use when setting up their voice mail boxes. While you don’t want them to sound like robots, it is important that they put forth the image you want customers to receive. Ideally, they incorporate a brand message. “Thank you for calling X Bank, Oklahoma’s oldest community bank. This is Miranda Smith and I’m away from my desk….”plastic toy animals in shades of yellow and whiteBrands require close observation so details don't get lost.

4. on hold messages
When was the last time you phoned your bank after hours, or reached out to someone at your call center? Chances are, it’s been a while. Or never. By the time customers pick up the phone to talk with you, they are often very frustrated or need help untangling an issue. Make sure that what they hear is helpful and friendly. Choose messaging and music that supports your brand promise and deescalates, rather than adding to their stress.

Observe that your digital brand is everywhere

5. email signatures
Employee email sigs should be standardized. Whether from their phone or their desktop, the sigs should appear in your colors, fonts, include your tagline and all contact information. This is one of the most overlooked areas we see, yet these emails are thousands of brand messages sent from your institution each day.

6. social media graphics
The ease of using Canva and AI to create graphics can be a great time saver. But don’t let your team fall into the trap of taking that AI illustration or template at first draft and posting it. Even for casual social settings, the images should support your brand.

Employees should be stewards of the brand

7. employee dress code and appearance
Assess whether employee attire and grooming align with the brand’s desired image and professionalism. A polished dress code reflects a unified identity and enhances customer trust.

Name badges should be highly visible. Outlaw awkward navel-level lanyards that make it difficult for people to read someone’s name.

We once worked with a bank whose branch presidents chose an apparel style and palette based on a whim instead of the brand colors and correct logo. That’s an expensive waste of brand resources.

8. customer service standards
Evaluate customer service standards and protocols such as handshakes, standard greeting, response times, complaint resolution processes and staff training on handling inquiries. Uniform and efficient customer interactions give confidence to the team and your customers.

Don’t wait: investigate

By regularly assessing and refining these elements, financial brands can strengthen their brand integrity and resonate more effectively with their target audience.


For more best practices on brand building for financial institutions, watch our video: The 5 essential elements of sensational financial brands

If you need help from a bank branding agency, let's talk. Contact Martha Bartlett Piland at 785-969-6203 or by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

photo credits from Unsplash: cute toy animals by Ben Wicks.