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Navigating Regulatory Waters: Friend or Food? How To Stay Ahead in Financial Services

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2017 is no stranger to brand crises reminding us that brand reputation can plummet in the wake of a scandal. The events of the last few weeks have highlighted how even for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) there has been one poor decision too many. It seems the CBA Board have held CEO Ian Narev responsible, in part, for brand reputation damage.

For financial services CMOs with their own brands to protect and promote, the challenge of repairing reputations and rebuilding trust with customers can seem onerous.

In this article, part 2 in our series on what we marketers can learn from the Game of Thrones’ Lannister family, we’ll explore key trends to keep you ahead despite the fact that “winter is coming” and your competitors’ single-minded focus on taking your “throne”.


Just as we’ve seen Dany and her dragons grow their dominance over the seasons, so too are millennials and technology heavily impacting the financial services industry.

The rapid evolution of spending habits and in particular banking practices, are pushing traditional financial companies to adapt. Currently 63 percent of all banking transactions are done through non-cash payments. Additionally, McKinsey reports that by 2019, 95 percent of banking transactions will take place through digital channels, highlighting that a well-crafted app experience can make a huge difference throughout the customer’s journey.

Australia alone has over 570 FinTech companies, and counting. Today’s customers, particularly millennials, are eager to engage with financial services providers who take the complexity out of managing their finances - think Simply Wall Street’s easy-to-read company charts and GROW Super’s convenient spare change super contributions.

New entrants seek to enhance the customer experience with interactive apps and even embedding “buy” buttons within the app creating a streamlined path to purchase.

If we’ve learnt anything from Tyrion’s latest faux pas, it’s that one should never underestimate his enemies. Whilst the rise of the app may not be your enemy it could very well be your downfall if you don’t keep ahead of the game and explore ways for your customers to interact with your brand or buy your services.

Harnessing your data

With 90 percent of the world’s digital data being created in the last 2 years, we now have more information than ever before. For financial services CMOs in particular, “data scientist” seems to be a necessary skill to have on your CV in 2017.

According to EY’s “The Science of Winning in Financial Services”, 83 percent of financial services executives claim data is their firm’s most strategic asset. Yet, 47 percent say they do not have a full grasp of that value.

It can be daunting to know just what to do with all this data. CMOs know that marketing and business objectives must align and data can support this to show marketing’s ROI. Data needs to constantly be reviewed and analysed to and draw insights that can be actioned.

But in 2017 how can you use this data to keep your brand out front? Think personalised customer experience.

In a market where it is increasingly hard to stand out from the crowd, creating a personalised customer experience is crucial. Data can be reviewed to identify differences between each individual customer in your customer base, enabling you to create a unique path to purchase depending on the nuances of their consuming habits. This will in turn provide them with a better customer experience.

Just like the houses in Game of Thrones, brands in financial services are constantly under siege. As Cersei Lannister warns, "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” 

We’re thinking use of data is a similar battleground.


People just don’t read anymore. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.

Video marketing has exploded and consumers aren’t complaining. 43 percent of consumers want to see more video.


And for CMOs video content is the leading piece of content that consumers thoroughly consume. 


In fact, the average person can retain 95 percent of information from a video after 72 hours, as opposed to retaining a mere 10 percent of the text they’ve read, or 65 percent of an image they’ve seen. 

Video can be executed to address a variety of financial services marketing needs, from explainer videos, to live Q&A during results presentations.

As we discussed in this series Part 1, remember multi-channel so once you have the video, share over social and also email it out to your database.  

Tyrion once said, “…a very small man can cast a very long shadow”. Video marketing can create a long shadow from only a small budget.


On the surface, financial services can appear underwhelming and more of a necessity rather than an exciting, compelling industry. Customers often need education, explanation, and persuasion, when it comes to purchasing financial products, which can be a burden to CMOs.

In this age of misinformation, financial brands have a unique opportunity to educate their customers. George Washington University found that only about 8% of millennials had a “high level of knowledge” about personal finance. However, a survey from Segmint found that nearly two-thirds of millennials are open to marketing communications that may help them reach their personal financ­­e goals. 

Positioning yourself as a finance educational thought leader builds trust amongst your customers, as it showcases your effort to enhance your customers’ skills and knowledge rather than just selling them your products. The more informed and empowered customers are, the more satisfied and confident they are with their choices and the more they trust and align to a brand.

We did just this with this year’s Federal Budget as our client wanted to demonstrate thought leadership in the retirement/ financial planning space. We created a multimedia campaign educating customers on the changes that would affect them as a result of the 2017 budget. We managed to achieve over 40% increase in brand awareness, and a part of the reason we were able to achieve these results is that we focused on real people by developing case studies of our client’s members and used these real examples to educate the market.

When Tywin Lannister said, “Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens”, he might have well been referring to the battle of trust in financial services.


While these are tactical trends, this list highlights that the underlying driver behind all your tactics should be the customer experience. And Boards are more aware of this than ever with 63 percent of executives stating customer experience is their top priority for 2017— a 17 percent increase from 2016. What’s more, as Tyrion states “the mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone – to keep its edge” so research and development of your marketing plan and tactics is essential to keep your business edge.

Brand reputation can be a tricky path to navigate and we understand that financial services can be under more scrutiny than other sectors. We will be hosting a brand reputation webinar for financial services CMOs next month. If you’d like to join us, contact us here.


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