The financial services sector across the world is an ever-changing industry. Rules and regulations are constantly coming into force and many adaptations are a direct result of previous mistakes. Banks and building societies are still trying hard to rebuild their reputation since the crash of 2007 / 2008. And as they do so, they are judged at every turn for the decisions they make and how they affect the spending power of the general population.
Brand Challenge 1 – Keeping up with financial services marketing regulation
Powerful marketing techniques were previously used to attract house buyers and investors towards certain products. But now there is far more emphasis on affordability and open advice. The following changes made a big impact on financial services branding agencies.
Mortgage Market Review
MMR was an investigation of the mortgage market in the United Kingdom which began in 2014. They concluded that mortgage companies were offering an unacceptable amount of high-risk lending. They immediately put an end to self-certified mortgages and made it more difficult to offer interest-only mortgages.
Financial Conduct Authority
The FCA replaced the FSA in the UK in 2013 and immediately got to work on scrutinising the way banks, mutual societies and financial advisors communicate risk with their customers. Part of the changes brought in by the FCA was to make sure that consumers receive unbiased and unrestricted advice.
Brand Challenge 2 – Ensuring brand loyalty
It is harder than ever for financial companies to create a bond with potential customers. Many financial products are now sourced and purchased through comparison sites and other third parties. Thus making it difficult to gain direct access for those providing loans and mortgages etc.
One way to ensure lasting loyalty is by creating an incredible first impression. And this can be done by developing a customer journey that resonates for all the right reasons.
Throughout their time with a bank, building society or mortgage lender, customers need to feel that the lender understands them. This means keeping marketing relevant to various events that are happening in their lives at any given time. Understand the changes that customers go through as they get older. And also the major life events that they may need support with in a financial sense.
Brand Challenge 3 – New inroads into new markets
Expanding a business and offering products in different markets is obviously an exciting prospect. And it all begins with understanding your current market size compared to your direct competitors. Identifying a gap in the market and a potential need will help financial firms get there faster and gain a foothold in a new area.
Brand Challenge 4 – Brand consistency
There are many marketing platforms available for all industries. The advent of social media sites increased the offering even further and highlighted the need for brand consistency.
Customers will come into contact with a brand in many different places. And this may even happen on a daily or hourly basis depending on their online activity. It is imperative that they recognise your brand at first glance in a consistent manner throughout all potential marketing avenues.
Brand Challenge 5 – Overcoming lack of consumer trust
People can be cynical by nature. And this part of our personality flows over into our customer profile. Overcoming this from a marketing standpoint can be tough but there are a few things to carry out and avoid in order to prevail in this tricky subject area.
- Avoid constant discounts and sales – it can be effective in the short-term but might harm long-term trust
- Always aim for transparency – holding back on vital info will cause long-lasting damage
- Be responsive – respond to comments and other engagement even if it is negative
There is no one key challenge facing financial services marketing agencies at any one time. The challenge is fluid and those that remain successful are constantly looking for ways to improve. Even when things look good, ask how they could be even better.