Financial services marketing: More than a matter of trust?

Simon Smith
Baber Smith

Before they can determine how to rebuild consumer trust, financial services brands must first understand why consumers trust brands in the first place

To say the Financial Services (FS) sector has been through a tough time of late is an understatement. The financial crisis and subsequent recession has seen consumer trust in banks and building societies plummet to an all-time low. With a dark cloud hanging over the industry, FS brands face an uphill task in winning back consumer confidence.

But how entrenched is this mistrust? What role does advertising and marketing have to play? Is the whole notion of ‘trust’ even important?

First and foremost, it would be wrong to suggest the lack of trust within the sector is purely down to the financial crisis. Yes, the bank bail-outs played a significant part and put the sector under intense public scrutiny, but they occurred against the wider background of eroding trust over generations. It's widely acknowledged that most people's relationships with their bank manager are not what they once were. Gone are the days when you knew who your bank manager was and, more importantly, they knew you. Deregulation, the intensification of the pursuit of profit and technological advancement have forever changed the way consumers interact with their banks.