It comes as no surprise that trust in the financial sector took a plunge after the 2008 financial crisis.
This rings true particularly among millennials, who typically see financial institutions as traditional cornerstones of the past that have since lost touch with today’s society. With other options now available, they have instead chose to opt for bitcoin and technologically-led alternatives. Recent studies from the Millennial Disruption Index found that 71% of consumers would rather go to the dentist than listen to banks (ouch!). With just 1 in 3 millennials choosing to invest in the stock market and only 33% owning their own credit cards, millennials’ engagement with financial services is in a steady decline.
Millennials tend to remain loyal to brands that not only establish and maintain good relationships with their audiences, but also offer unique user experiences and intrinsic value. To re-establish trust with the latest generation, financial institutions need to humanise the process by creating customer-friendly content that makes customers feel special – effectively bridging the gap of trust between banks and their increasingly tech-savvy consumers.
With this in mind, Wordsmith takes a look at how 3 top financial brands are currently hitting the mark and building trust when it comes to content.
1. Leverage your expertise
Amanda Rubin, Global Co-Head of Brand and Content Strategy at Goldman Sachs, believes, “Generations that are coming up today demand transparency and engagement from brands… They want to sit across the table with a company that they understand more holistically.” Which is exactly why they chose to target millennials who have had traditionally low expectations of Wall Street and financial brands.
Goldman Sachs understands that readers want information from financial experts, so they ensure their content is jam-packed with useful insights from their research teams, CEOs, every day entrepreneurs and thought leaders. Through their in-house content studio, Goldman Sachs produces content on new business ventures that keeps their young readers hooked – from the future of cars, to new energy and macroeconomics – ensuring relevance to consumers along every content touchpoint. Through these efforts, Goldman Sachs is slowly rebuilding trust through transparent communication to establish a readership that’s not only more engaged, but more likely to consider using their services as a result of the “soft sell” of useful, impactful content.
2. Reach out using social
It’s no secret that trust is essential to overall brand success, which is why many financial institutions are now looking to promote content that emotionally shifts consumer perspectives, reduces cognitive load and increases positive reinforcement. In layman’s terms, they create content that encourages a sense of belonging and inclusiveness to a wider community of people who connect over similar shared experiences. Therefore, it’s no surprise that promoting a sense of homophily (“love of the same”) within branded content dramatically improves your probability of increasing trust and loyalty.
Prudential Financial wanted to create a real-world person-to-person connection by highlighting what their company can do to help people during their time of need. The company’s new social campaign focuses on sharing real life stories of people who have lost a spouse, parent or family member – but have since taken positive steps to rebuild their lives, thanks to Prudential.
According to Niharika Shah, VP and Head of Brand Marketing and Advertising at Prudential Financial, “Our role is to provide people with the strength and resources to move forward. We’re telling stories of people who have emerged on the other side.” The campaign, #masterpieceoflove, goes beyond “fans” and “followers” to forge meaningful connections with audiences that have experienced similar, deeply personal losses.
In doing so, Prudential Financial stepped away from the traditional view of banks being solely profit focused, and instead embraced a socially responsive approach that fosters community spirit. “For our claims professionals who take that call, to see how the work they do and how people process it, will be very inspiring,” Shah said. “It shows that Prudential has been there at moments of grief, but we also want to stand by as that process of grief continues.”
3. Create a memorable Homepage
For many financial firms, their homepage is often neglected and rarely updated. But as content marketers know, this particular landing page should be seen as a prime piece of brand real estate. In a few short seconds your copy needs to break through audiences’ “anti-marketing” defences, which morganstanley.com achieves through stories.
It may seem shockingly simple, but instead of tucking away stellar content in blog posts, firms are now reaping the benefits of pushing this copy to the forefront of the customer’s digital journey. Audiences with shrinking attention spans are now looking for valuable content experiences upfront. It doesn’t hurt businesses either, with many claiming this technique dramatically improves the websites overall SEO and opportunity creation.
Morgan Stanley appeals to analysts, business entrepreneurs and employees in the financial space who want more than just banking information or investment tips. With podcasts featuring commentary from finance CEOs to the latest news and insights on sustainable investing and pro bono advice, the content is perfectly geared towards financially astute and savvy investors. Morgan Stanley’s tangential approach sparks audiences’ curiosity by keeping their content fresh, insightful and most importantly – non-salesy.
Building consumer trust is never an easy undertaking – especially after serious damage has already been done. However, arming yourself with the knowledge and tools to create content that appeals to people’s emotions and compels them to connect with your brand on a personal level is the first step towards brand success. Over time, the more consistent you are with your brand personality and standard of service, the more you will encourage brand loyalty – and ultimately begin to rebuild consumer trust.