2012 blue trophy

The “Best Content” series brings you a handful of the most thought-provoking and informative articles and webinars related to financial services branding and marketing published over the last year, broken down into bite-size pieces for your convenience.

Brand Building & Trust

Restoring Trust in Our Financial System: It’s all about culture
This article published by Pensions and Investments from July 2012 examines why the path to restoring trust in the financial services industry way begin with firms focusing on improving their own cultures. The author, Pacific Investment Management’s COO, Douglas Hodge, explains that finance is meant to “serve the broader interests of society,” and with this in mind culture must be based on serving client needs, sound risk management, and a sense of responsibility and commitment. Consistent brand messaging, employee engagement, and active communication are practices financial marketers must make a priority in the new year as those are the building blocks for a strong a culture that will ultimately become a corporate asset.  Read the article.

Measuring ‘Trust ‘ In Banking
This article published in October 2012 from The Financial Brand includes a detailed account of the current role branding plays within the banking industry when it comes to rebuilding trust. Specifically, which trends are effective and which are not based on industry reports published over the last year. A commitment to consistency, authenticity, and integrity across all platforms along with a direct focus on a bank’s brand are key practices to remember in rebuilding trust among target audiences. Read the article.

Marketing to the Capital Markets
The marketing landscape is rapidly changing within the financial services industry and will continue to evolve in 2013. With and increasingly segmented audience, how can marketers attempt to target the right demographic, with the right information, through the right forum, and at the right time? This hour-long webinar from Focus targets financial services marketers and provides insights on the value of relationships and trust. Engaging in content marketing on a more specified level and tailoring each marketing program for a specific segment are just a few of the ideas touched upon in this webinar.

Social Media

SEI Survey: Advisors Start to Realize the Business Benefits of Social Media
In 2012, financial advisors slowly jumped on the social media bandwagon and it seems they will only continue to dive deeper in 2013. A report released by the SEI from August surveyed 185 financial advisors on their level of social media presence. While 56% of advisors did have some preliminary social media involvement, nearly 18% of advisors surveyed have secured a new client as a result of their social media strategy. Statistics like this prove that the use of social media will continue to rise in 2013. John Anderson, Head of Practice Management for the SEI Advisor Network said of the survey results, “What the survey shows is that advisors have the opportunity to see real business returns if they can begin to put social media plans, processes, and policies in place, rather than just using it sporadically.” The survey also reveals why advisors have been more reluctant to adopt social media strategies in their marketing efforts. Read the article here.

Getting the Word Out
In today’s highly digital world of sharers, financial advisors have had no choice but to pay more attention to their marketing strategy in order to expand their referral network, promote credibility, and utilize social media platforms in order to grow their business. This article from Financial Advisor Magazine published in early November outlines the key trends and practices financial advisors should pay attention to in the coming year in order to build and maintain a strong marketing strategy and build a strong network. Putting clients first, building a web presence, understanding the power of branding, and paying attention to audiences’ personal needs are all strategies explored in this article.  Read the article.

Digital Marketing and Advertising

Financial Services Marketers Bank on Digital
This article from CMO.com published in May discusses the need for financial services marketers to embrace digital trends in order to provide more personalized and engaging experiences for customers. According to eMarkerter.com, online advertising is expected to exceed traditional media for the first time, with a 23% increase in digital sales in 2012, and this number is only expected to rise in the coming year. The article includes insights relating to key trends for financial services marketers to keep in mind in when developing marketing plans. To successfully integrate digital platforms in 2013, marketers must tailor content, deliver personalized experiences across multiple channels and use social media to build customer communities in order to gain deeper insights into their customer’s financial needs.

Financial Services Companies Ramp up Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising is on the rise, and financial marketers will only continue to develop strategies for this platform in the coming year. This series of reports from Millenial Media, claims that 80% of mobile finance users own a smartphone, and financial services marketers have been able to target audiences who spend more time on mobile devices by placing ads on general interest sites rather than within more financially-focused spaces. According to the report, “Beyond finance content, [mobile finance users] spend time on apps and sites focused on weather (84%), maps (74%), general news (67%), sports info (58%), entertainment news (58%), and tech news (47%), amongst a variety of others.” Download the reports.

What Color is Your Brand (And Who Cares)
Financial services buyers are constantly evolving. When they make decisions regarding their finances, it isn’t an immediate process. They shop around, and wait for the right offering to connect with them on an emotional level, as well as intellectual and technical. This article from October 2012 published by  financialadvertising.com explains, “Messages have the upper hand when it comes to connecting to the deeper emotional centers of consumers, especially when we’re considering financial products and services… Messages are like  mental glue — a predisposition to bond with consumers has been created in a way that images simply cannot accomplish.” This is not to say that the visual elements of an ad are no longer relevant—its about the way in which the message is presented, and how this plays upon deep-rooted emotional associations. In other words, marketers must remember that messages are what tickle our buying bone, especially when it comes to important decisions like which financial services provider to choose.