Change and disruption is the new norm. Barely a week goes by when you don’t hear the name of a new banking app or service; barely a conversation when someone doesn’t mention AI, or chatbots, or Blockchain. Start-ups abound, and there seems to be at least one 30-something billionaire who runs a funkily named finance company featured in our Sunday supplements.

In April, Codehouse hosted The Financial Generation Gap – an event that brought experts and brands across the financial services marketing community together to discuss and debate how companies need to change how they market to and service the different generations of customers in today’s world – or risk the gap between what consumers want and what financial services brands offer becoming too wide to cross.

What we discovered is that the opportunity for brands is in the micro-moments – the influential decision and trigger points that make the difference between winning or losing a customer. 

The hidden power of PR

When it comes to communicating with the next generation, Oliver Chesher from Galibier explained how brands can be blinded by fear – like stepping into unknown territory and meeting a tribe whose language and culture you don’t understand. 

A brand’s reputation and credibility are things that will always matter, for consumers of all ages.

Marketing campaigns need to uphold these tenets of PR and provoke change – such as changes in perception, consumer behaviour and transactional habits, and of course, deliver commercial results.

To be successful, brands need to focus on owning a leadership position on the important topics of the day, raise awareness of their social impact, and be courageous by sticking their head above the parapet, acknowledging controversial topics, and be a brand that engages, not just self-promotes.

Advertising needs more than just emotion

The unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty experienced in the banking industry over the past few years has increased the need for brands to appear more appealing to consumers. Financial services brands spend huge amounts of time, energy and money on creating emotionally appealing advertisements – but this doesn’t mean they are guaranteed a positive emotional reaction.

Over the past five years, Dr Emmanuel Mogaji from the University of Greenwich has studied the emotional appeals banks use in advertising, with one clear conclusion. It’s not enough to tug on the heart strings through colourful ads with beautiful imagery, background music, and your latest product offering or deal.

Lloyds bank advertising 
Example of Lloyds Bank advertising

Brands must showcase their values and highlight the benefits they are offering. Consumers today need more than just emotional appeals to make a decision on their financial activities.

Experience is everything

Aadeel Peerally of WeSwap – the people-powered travel money platform – showcased how the start-up brand has focused on the power of community and innovative technology in order to spearhead growth and increase the number of customers.

The platform, that helps travellers budget, swap currency, save, borrow and spend smart, has a product roadmap covering transfer of funds, getting the best exchange rates, asking the community how much money to take to a specific country, and ordering cash while abroad. Each element is focused on responding to a potential customer need in the moment.

Paul Jarrett from Sonin, emphasised the need for a financial app to understand a user’s digital behaviour, and how customers are the ones driving the change of digital interaction through their expectations.

30% of consumers use financial apps more frequently than any other type of app.

And when it comes to mobile technology, customers expect immediacy, ease-of-use, and control. People want more for less.

Tailoring your product, your services, and using technology as the enabler rather than as a showcase, are all important to attracting and keeping customers. People are looking for experiences that enhance their day-to-day life, not distract from it.

How brands can survive in a cross-generational world

People get older and new generations with different needs and expectations appear all the time. Shaun Miller from Codehouse explained that in today’s world, brands needs to build customer relationships. Fast. And slow.

They need the chatbots, the machine learning tools, and the mobile apps, which meet customer need in the moment. But they also need to consider the long-term user journey, and how a customer’s need will change through a person’s lifetime, and create products and services to match.

Flexibility and anticipation of customer need will be the two most important aspects of a brand’s success in today’s world.

The brands that focus on engaging and delighting all generations of customers in the micro-moments where decisions are made, and service delivered, will be the ones who win.

Keen to learn more?

At Codehouse, we're currently helping several financial services brands navigate their way through today's consumer landscape by improving their digital experience.

To find out how we can help your organisation, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.