If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there1. Setting course requires a destination and, even with one, the going can be rough at times. The same is true with strategy. You create a vision for the kind of company you want to build, the consumers and businesses you want to serve, how you will be different and better in some way from your competition. You chart a course with consideration of the changing environment in which you compete. While your vision must stay focused, strategies need to change in relation to the realities of doing business today. Regulatory, technological, competitive and consumer behavioral trends constantly impact your business.
As management teams and directors look forward to 2018, CPG believes the following factors must be considered within strategic plans and will have great influence on which companies outperform others in a very crowded financial services industry.
TOP STRATEGY FOCAL POINTS FOR 2018
- BRAND DISTINCTION: 30% fewer banks and credit unions than just 10 years ago but more competition than ever before. What makes your company different and a distinct alternative in the market?
- VALUE PROPOSITIONS: why is your customer or member better off doing business with you? Ask this question constantly and engineer products/service/delivery solutions that pay off.
- PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS: the battle for payment primacy is well underway. How will your payment solutions become or remain the primary choice?
- BALANCE SHEET FORTIFICATION: asset mix, credit risk, core funding. How fortified is your balance sheet to weather downturns in the economy, rising interest rates, and changing demand levels that weaken certain business sectors?
- BUSINESS MODEL TRANSFORMATION: open architecture, fintech partnerships, process simplification, and digital capabilities will continue to transform the business models in financial services. How far down the transformation path is your company? How adept is it at managing change?
- ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES: consumers want to interact and engage with their financial providers, not just hear from them. When’s the last time you conversed, co-created, and prompted input by being just a little provocative?
- SMART MARKETING: automation now enables much more targeted, customized, and relevant marketing offers and communications. Is your company up to speed?
- CULTURE: your customers and members want a better experience, including how they experience the people/team at your organization. Are people empowered to do what is best for customers and members? Financial services companies need talent – the best talent – to tackle the challenges facing them. Does your culture help you attract and retain top talent?
- OUTSOURCING: why build or buy it when you can borrow it? Take a page from the sharing economy – you don’t have to own it to use it. Outsourcing won’t work for everything, but it will work for a lot of things, including when you need project management talent just to get things done. Focus your limited human resources on those activities that add direct value for customers and members and look to outsource (or even discontinue) other, non-value add activities.
- ACQUISITIONS: the consolidation of the bank and credit unions sectors continues. Winners will not only grow organically but will take out competitors, acquire new capabilities via acquisition, and be adept at integration to maintain business momentum. Is your organization taking the steps necessary to be a preferred partner and able to integrate effectively?
CPG has well-tested and proven methodologies to help your team define a vision that is uniquely yours and build the strategies to execute effectively.
- Credit for this quote goes to Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, The Beatles’ George Harrison, and the Talmud, all with variations on this quote.
For more information regarding our Strategic Planning services, please contact Mary Beth Sullivan at 202-337-7872 or via email .