Pub. 2 2020 Issue 9

30 | HOMETOWN BANKER | HOMETOWNBANKER.ORG ADVERTORIAL DON’T LET YOUR BANK’S GREATEST STORY GO UNTOLD By Michael C. Keenan, President, Keenan-Nagle Advertising, Inc. 2 020 has certainly been a year for the history books. Now it’s time to tell the story in your own book-- your annual report. Community bankers are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. When 4,000 new SBA lenders were needed almost overnight to process and underwrite PPP loans, America’s hometown bankers rose to the challenge. Time was tight. Fed application standards shape-shifted multiple times. Some megabanks (allegedly) froze out many applicants in favor of bigger corporate clients. But the community bankers hung in, worked exhausting nights and weekends, and came through for countless small businesses and their employees. In that critical first wave of PPP loans needed to keep small businesses afloat, more than 60% went through community banks. My own business was one of them. I am forever grateful to the incredibly dedicated team at our bank, Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley. Many business owners in your market feel the same way about your bank. Now it’s time to share that story… and bring the values that distinguish community banks from megabanks into high relief. Your 2020 annual report is an ideal vehicle to deliver this story and there are many memorable ways to tell it. An annual report should be more than financial news. Used properly, it’s an ideal platform to showcase your bank’s accomplishments, people and values. It’s also a window into how all of these factors actually impacted the individuals, families, businesses and quality of life in your home community. Admittedly, some execs see the annual report as a yearly pain in the posterior. If you are one of them, I respectfully request that for FY 2020 you look through the cold lens of marketing opportunity. Because if ever there was a year to invest in an annual report that conveys both the financial and human aspects of your bank’s value spectrum, this is it. Call it the Covid Effect, but current marketing reality is this: Compassion is driving consumer preferences now more than ever before. Carpe diem. Another reality is that if you have shareholders, you have to do an annual report anyway. Why not use it to burnish your brand? Done well, an annual report can function as an effective “silent salesman” for your commercial lending and consumer teams, providing another powerful collateral tool to differentiate your bank from the competition — especially megabanks, credit unions, brokers and the growing field of online-only and non-bank financial service providers. Here are a handful of tips to make your 2020 annual report a worthwhile marketing tool: 1. ANCHOR YOUR STORY WITH A GREAT THEME. What is at the core of the actions that defined your year, your people, your mission in the context of 2020? Distill them down into a streamlined theme. Use that theme to anchor all story elements of your annual report. Avoid ho-hum stuff (“Our people make the difference!”) and pizza box brags (“You tried the rest, now try the best.”) Your work deserves better. The concise word/emotion combo that captures your bank’s unique character is out there. Work at finding it. 2. VISUALIZE YOUR DATA. Bar graphs and pie charts are fine, but there are many more creative graphic techniques to depict performance metrics, and they can bring an extra dimension of freshness and reader engagement to any annual report. If you want to see a broad spectrum of data visualization techniques