TD Bank Financial Group – a strong brand because it’s strong on the inside

One week after attending the Schulich School of Business 2012 MBA Graduate Formal in March, I received a card from TD Canada Trust congratulating me on the MBA Teaching Excellence Award I had been awarded, along with a Starbucks Gift Card.

“WOW!!” I said aloud. I was delighted and impressed by this gesture.

I was also astounded that my bank even knew about my accomplishment and surprised that it chose to celebrate it with me. I soon remembered that I had proudly shared my good fortune with Natalie, one of TD’s friendly and efficient customer service representatives, when I visited my bank the next morning. Aha! It was Natalie!

Brand building starts on the inside at the TD Bank Financial Group

The TD Financial Bank Group (TD) is a very large corporation by world standards, and this personal gesture left me feeling that I was a truly valued customer.

WOW moments for customers don’t happen by chance at TD. These experiences are the result of a fervent belief by the bank’s leadership and employees that building the TD brand in the minds and hearts of customers begins on the inside of the corporation.  Creating WOW moments isn’t an accident, “WOW MOMENTS” is an explicit business practice and is just one example of how the bank’s on the inside thinking supports the company’s vision —“TO BE THE BETTER BANK by being the Best Run, Customer-focused, Integrated Financial Institution with a Unique and Inclusive Employee Culture.”

TD has just been named Canada’s most valuable brand in Interbrand’s Top 25 Best Canadian Brands for 2012 study. Due to its expanding presence in the United States, TD now ranks as one of the seven largest banks by branch network in North America.

How did TD get to be one of the top banks?

TD’s size today is largely the result of talented and accomplished CEOs who, through their leadership, were instrumental in forging a number of important mergers and acquisitions over the company’s 150-year history.

Most important, the primary catalysts for TD’s current success, its on the inside thinking, can be traced back to two events:

  • TD’s acquisition of Canada Trust in 2000, then renowned for its customer-centricity;
  • The ascension of Ed Clarke, the current CEO, who recognized the importance of this culture for creating a competitive advantage within the Financial Services industry and has worked tirelessly since to embed this ethos deeply within the fabric of the entire corporation.

I have recently thanked Natalie for her surprising act of customer service. She will not get a financial reward from TD for her actions in creating this WOW moment for me. But that was never her expectation or her motivation for doing so. TD’s hiring, training and reward systems had already ensured her desire and commitment to engage in on-brand behavior with customers. Bolstered by my delight, she shared our WOW moment story on the WOW MOMENTS section of TD’s intranet—another one of TD’s business practices in place to foster and celebrate this customer-focused behavior within the corporation. I have no doubt that it will inspire more wonderful WOW moments for TD customers by TD Customer Service Representatives.

I hope that Natalie will take our interaction one step further and share this blog post with the broader TD team.  I will certainly be using my WOW moment as an outstanding example of how strong brands are strong on the inside for both my clients and students.

Thank you Natalie – and thank you TD!

About ashleykonson

STRATEGY CONSULTING | EXECUTIVE COACHING | CORPORATE TRAINING | KEYNOTE SPEAKING | Ashley Konson is the Managing Partner of Global Brand Leaders Inc., a new kind of brand consulting company dedicated to making brands and their teams leaders across the globe. He is a Brand Leader, Business Consultant and Award-Winning Educator, and a recognized thought leader and fervent advocate of the premise that strong brands and businesses achieve and sustain their market positions because they are strong Inside out™.
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9 Responses to TD Bank Financial Group – a strong brand because it’s strong on the inside

  1. Tim Hockey says:

    Nice to read. Thanks for the comments…

  2. A WOW Banking moment 🙂 Amazing article, I am sure to give TD Bank a shot after reading this article

  3. Thanks Ashley for sharing this. TD doesn’t cease to inspire me when it comes to strategic discipline and ability to consequently realize its long-term vision.
    Looking forward to your posts!

    • ashleykonson says:

      Thanks for your comment Lukasz. I believe that TD is an outstanding example of a brand and business that is doing so well in the market because it is strong on the inside.

  4. SG says:

    Wow. That is awesome. I’m a huge fan of TD myself… it seems that the staff is always going above and beyond.

  5. Mike Wilson says:

    Hi Ashley, as usual you captured that great moment of company/customer interaction…this example made you a ‘raving fan’ which is so powerful for the old ‘word of mouth!

  6. Joe Fayt says:

    Having worked with TD Bank for the past few years, this story does not surprise me. The Bank has strong leadership, a strong culture and so many bright and talented people at all levels of the company.

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