Dr. Hoffmire posited whether financial literacy – providing financial education for individuals to improve their personal financial situation – could and should be at the heart of changing people’s perception of, and trust in, financial services as an industry.

From green-wash to purpose-wash

Over the past ten years or so, brands all around the world have been through a period of green-washing, in an effort to portray themselves and their products as environmentally-friendly – a cause that captured, and continues to capture, the attention and conscience of consumers everywhere.

‘Cause marketing’ has now become the norm for many brands, and according to Dr. Hoffmire, we now find ourselves in a period of purpose-washing.

More and more brands, including in financial services, are focusing on (or even deciding on anew) their purpose, their reason for being, and trying to communicate this to customers and potential new customers through their marketing.

With trust in financial services at 54 percent, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, could a push on financial literacy for customers be a key differentiator for financial services brands trying to cut through the noise in a busy, purpose-filled world of advertising?

Financial literacy improves productivity and morale

A study conducted by the Personal Finance Employee Education Fund (PFEEF), has shown that employee worries about money lead to a decrease in ability to focus on work, and a decrease in performance whilst at work.

Personal financial worries not only have an adverse effect on individuals, but also on workplaces.

The study also showed that rates of savings go up and debt goes down, when ‘financial wellness’ education has been introduced by firms for their staff.

And this in turn provides a positive lift in personal well-being, and happiness and productivity at work.

Because of this Dr. Hoffmire suggests that financial wellness, and financial education, should therefore be of the utmost importance to businesses across the world.

And if it’s important to businesses to improve the productivity, security, and happiness of their employees, then it should be important to financial services providers – and more providers should be offering these services.

With staff spending approximately 56% of their waking hours at work, the workplace would be the logical place for financial services providers to offer financial education.

Could digital help?

Aside from offering a service for staff to meet with a financial advisor, or run face-to-face seminars on different personal financial worries and do’s and don’ts – a service that could be provided by financial services companies for their business customer – digital channels can provide financial services brands with a way of distributing financial education quickly and regularly, and promoting financial wellness that benefits both individuals and companies.

To start with, how about:

  • Regular tit-bits of practical financial advice and quick recommendations via social media
  • A set of bite-size educational videos on YouTube and on your website
  • Monthly 'personal finance' webinars for employees of business customers
  • A monthly 'Get your personal finances in shape' podcast
  • Personalised emails based on individual financial circumstances and behaviour

All this could cover topics including:

  • Building up a savings pot
  • Saving for retirement
  • Saving to buy a house
  • Paying into a pension
  • The importance of writing a will
  • Getting out of debt
  • Setting up savings for children
  • How to teach your children to save
  • And so on…

If you add website personalisation in to this mix, so that your website personalises the experience for the visitor based on the content they interacted with, then you’re on the path to sure fire marketing success in not only winning new customers, but keeping the ones you have.

Want to talk?

With vast experience in the financial services sector, helping to drive differentiated and personalised digital experiences for brands including Seven Investment Management (7IM), M&G Investments, and Nationwide Building Society, everything we do starts with your customer and their needs.

If you’re a financial services brand looking to do something different and provide a personalised experience for your customers, get in touch.

We’d love to hear from you.