No Room for Excitement?

Roderick White

The financial services business accounts for massive expenditures on advertising, PR, direct mail, print, the web, CRM in all its aspects, and so on. It provides substantial employment for a vast number of communications agencies of all kinds. It pervades the media landscape.

Yet, its ability to connect with consumers and inspire them to constructive action is, to say the least, limited. Few consumers are either interested in, or knowledgeable about, financial brands and their products. The brands themselves are mostly ill-defined and poorly differentiated, in markets that are crowded and competitive. The market is arguably the most frequently quoted when analysts are looking for a good example of a market characterised by a high degree of consumer inertia.

DEPRESSING

It all adds up to a rather depressing story. What is more, it is a story that affects everyone because, as Giles Hedger points out, how we use and manage our money has long-term implications for how we will enjoy (or not) the latter stages of our increasing lifespans. But, collectively, we mostly opt out of constructive, let alone long-term, money management. We are usually ready to admit that we don't really understand money matters and that the whole thing is a turn-off – and the risks involved in doing something and getting it wrong are perceived to be dangerously high.