The Growing Value of the Brand in the Financial Sector

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In the UK, just 36% of consumers said they have trust in financial services firms. This is a worrying statistic for the financial sector, which has, in the eyes of the public, become synonymous with fat cat bankers, eye-watering bonuses and a blasé attitude when it comes to the needs of the customer.

Needless to say, banks and other firms offering financial services are desperate to dissociate themselves from this damaging reputation. But where do they begin?

Branding is critical for all businesses in all sectors. It gives a company a unique personality and a compelling way of expressing what they believe in, helping them to stand out in the market. But a strong brand is absolutely crucial for a company operating in a sector that’s viewed with such distrust and scepticism.

In light of this, we’re seeing a significant shift away from the traditional way of doing things. The banks earning the trust of consumers are the ones actively renouncing the wider sector. Take First Direct, who earned the title of ‘Most Recommended Bank’ at this year’s British Bank Awards. They brand themselves ‘the unexpected bank’, and build their communications around this. First Direct has proved a great success within a sector battling negative perceptions, so much so that emerging fintech firms are following suit.

Meanwhile, the app-based bank Monzo leads with the message ‘It’s time for a new kind of bank,’ and its competitor Tandem is ‘building a bank that’s got your back.’

Responding to consumers

But there’s more to it than simply shunning the status quo. The banks seeing the highest customer satisfaction rates are the ones tailoring their consumer platforms to the habits and preferences of their audience.

In the case of First Direct, as an online-only bank, they’ve amassed an audience that’s young and tech savvy. And they’ve devised their advertising content and marketing platforms accordingly. Their #myfirsthome campaign involved three interior design bloggers sharing tips on decorating a first home – all captured in a short, upbeat, shareable video. In focusing on the idea of a first property, the content hones in on the interests and present concerns of its primary customer base. Plus, the platform appeals to their viewing preferences and online habits.

So although the financial sector’s negative reputation is a cause for concern for many established banks and firms, it presents a key opportunity for newer banks and emerging fintech companies to develop a brand that sets them apart from the homogenous, ill-favoured crowd.

And it’s not just the firms who recognise this opportunity; branding and digital agencies are approaching the financial services market more than ever before. Market research firm Econsultancy found that the financial services market was the most popular target for digital agencies in 2017, with 70% of agencies targeting the sector.

Branding challenges

A key part of the attraction lies in the challenge the financial sector represents.

For agencies, a project where there is an opportunity to create a brand that disrupts and revolutionises any given sector is a project worth grabbing with both hands. We have had highly enjoyable and successful experiences working with a variety of clients across the financial sector. Our work with the mobile payment company Yoyo resulted in a brand that set them apart not only from the cold, hard face of traditional banks, but also from the increasing number of mobile payment solutions joining the market.

In a market that’s on one hand struggling with a negative reputation and on the other becoming increasingly saturated with start-up fintech firms, the role of the brand and its ability to elevate a company above the competition has never been more important.

View our work with Yoyo.

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