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August 2, 2017

A .BANK Blueprint: How to Market and Communicate Your New .BANK Identity

When a bank registers a .BANK domain, the primary motivation is usually the security features and benefits. However, what may begin as an IT-focused effort often becomes an integrated project to promote both the cybersecurity and branding values of a .BANK identity. To see what some banking executives have said about the business case for .BANK, read our March 21, 2017 blog post. A critical part of a successful migration to .BANK is to define a rollout process that is built around a bank’s customers and business needs that maximizes the benefits of a .BANK identity for that specific bank.

At fTLD Registry Services, operator of the .BANK domain, we have heard and learned from many bankers during the last two years on how they introduced their .BANK domain to their customers as well as how they have educated their staff and vendors about their new online presence. From that experience, we’ve developed a blueprint for how to roll out your .BANK domain:

  • Know Your Goals
    What does a .BANK domain mean for your brand? Each bank knows its customers and long-term goals. Use that information to create a plan that works for your business. How you communicate to customers, whether you plan to combine the new domain with a revamped website and what vendors you work with are factors in how .BANK can support your goals. Take time to define a plan that will work best for you and use the fTLD Guides to supplement your planning efforts.
  • Boost Your Brand
    A .BANK domain is a new opportunity for your brand. For some banks, it could mean a re-brand or a pivot – for many, it’s a chance to re-engage with customers and introduce themselves to prospects. California-based Montecito Bank & Trust, for example, used the .BANK transition as a major marketing push, going so far as to create a dedicated landing page to describe the effects and benefits of its new domain.
  • Educate Your Employees (And Other Internal Stakeholders)
    It’s not just your customers that need to be aware of a .BANK domain. Employees and other internal stakeholders first need to be alerted and educated on the change so they are prepared to respond to questions they may receive. Determining when to provide emails or other written communications as well as face-to-face trainings or webinars can be worked into ongoing training schedules and integrated with the technical work so everyone has time to understand and ask questions about the change. For example, Pittsburgh-based Dollar Bank provided employees with FAQ’s as well as talking points to answer customers’ questions.
  • Cover Your Bases
    A critical decision on handling the move to a .BANK domain is whether you will do a big push to communicate the change externally or whether it’s provided as part of a “continuing improvements” process. Some banks choose a full-press promotion on multiple channels. Badger Bank included promotions at each branch with digital photo frames that flashed news of the announcement, a media campaign aimed at local press and a social media blitz to share the news. United Bank of Union used candy “dot” handouts at teller and drive-through windows and billboards and radio as well as print ads. Other banks chose to use a “soft launch” process and redirect website and email traffic to the .BANK domain so that customers focus more on the security benefits. The decision on this final step is based on the bank’s customers and goals, which means the actual process will be different for each bank.

Banks should consider the transition to a .BANK identity as an opportunity to strengthen and expand its relationships with customers, employees and other stakeholders as well as to engage prospects. Our Success Stories provide a variety of strategies banks have used to debut their .BANK domain. As with deploying any new technology or refreshing a brand, there are always challenges to address and overcome. However, bankers have consistently told fTLD that the benefits of moving to .BANK outweigh the issues and nominal costs of the change.

Download a PDF of the article here.