Bank Marketing Podcast: The Traps of Product Naming

By John Oxford

Following our recent column and podcast on reexamining your bank’s name as most likely a major branding opportunity, we bring you even more thoughts on naming products within your bank as well.

Let’s face it: Banks are banks, and deposits and loans–along with treasury management–pretty much make up the core of what we do in banking. In this, if you think bank names are similar, hold my free toaster.

Product names by nature in the banking arena, and by regulatory default, are going to be similar. Almost all have a word and “checking” after it. Summit checking. Ascend Checking. And if not a “marketing-styled” word in front, it’s usually the name of your bank, as in First National Citizens Community Checking. We also hit nearly half of the words in bank name branding and checking products in one sentence, but we digress.

In product brand marketing, is the name really that important? One could argue that the overall brand of your organization is more important than its product’s names, and if the bank’s name is unique, using that name in front of checking or savings solves a lot of the problem organically. But as we mentioned in the last column and podcast, only about 800 of 5,000 banks can currently do that.

Product naming also has many traps. Asking consumers is one fail-safe way to get a way-too-broad response from an audience who rarely thinks about the name of any checking account. Forgetting to do a simple Google search is another, as well as making the name too complicated or too specific (unless it is a specific account type). So yes, it’s complicated.

Overall product naming is a lost art and one that can be very beneficial to your bottom line. Do you consider the SEO impact of your product name when exploring? Is it a product like BaZing or Kasasa that may create power in numbers and scale by multiple banks sharing the same product brand? Or is it still better to have your own uniquely branded product?

We discuss these questions and many more surrounding product naming in this week’s Marketing Money Podcast with Josh Mabus of the Mabus Agency and me.

John Oxford, director of marketing at Renasant Bank, and Josh Mabus, president of the Mabus Agency, are co-hosts of the Marketing Money Podcast.

Photo by Karen Martin.