How Financial Companies Can Humanize Themselves
By Lindsay Pietroluongo - 6 min read
Branding and marketing for financial services have a new image, one that’s transforming preconceptions and laying the foundation for other businesses to follow in their path.
Where financial companies were once standoffish they’re now approachable and authentic. Where they used to market just to males they’re now recognizing the importance of gender inclusivity. Where they would brush off younger consumers as unimportant they’re now dedicating some of their marketing to millennials specifically.
Financial branding isn’t finished making improvements
Despite the leaps and bounds the industry’s made, finance companies can still get a lot of side eye – people are skeptical and distrusting, and there isn’t much confidence from consumers. Financial advisors don’t always inspire trust – their jargon can be confusing at best and off-putting at worst, and many seem unapproachable, which is alienating.
When you’re talking about money – one of the most important things in a person’s life – transparency and trust are absolute musts. The good news? It shouldn’t be too hard to forge an emotional connection since money is such a significant and personal topic.
Connecting with today’s consumer
Understand their biggest pain points. Create authentic solutions.
Cutting-edge fintech does one thing incredibly well: it solves a core problem consumers are facing. PayPal, for example, put personal and business banking at our fingertips with robust tools that are just as user-friendly on a browser as they are on an iPhone. Companies like that dig deep to figure out what the customer wants and then they come up with dependable solutions that can be accessed where, when and how customers want.
Recognize the power and wealth that women hold
Women are the breadwinners in more than 40% of U.S. households – there’s no longer space in the industry for financial brands that don’t consider women a traditional audience member. Not only do women have to be included in financial services marketing for the sake of family finances – over 50% of women are the household CFO – but they have to be targeted for wealth management services, too.
Make an impact with lasting guidance
Customers often complain that the advice they receive is spotty – they may get excellent guidance for a while, then be forced to switch advisors and end up with someone who gives them a different, less appealing type of support. By creating an across-the-board company culture, customers can feel like they receive the same quality of service through their entire relationship with you. Oh, and nix the financial-speak. Your customers need to understand your strategy and they don’t want to feel clueless or looked down upon.
Enhance customer experience with digital options
Today, “digital” and “humanized” aren’t disconnected – it’s entirely possible to offer tech-based options without making interactions feel completely robotic and impersonal.
Digital tools have to be user-friendly and fast. They have to function the way they say they will from the start. They have to offer the features that customers want without requiring them to go to another device. (For example, live chat should be available online and on your mobile app, not just one or the other.) And they have to appeal to emotions, not just step-by-step actions. Artificial intelligence concierges can start a conversation by asking about current financial troubles or savings goals, then steer the conversation and offer products based on the customer’s answers and sentiment.
All of this matters – 57% of millennials said they’d change their bank for a better technology platform.
Bridge the gap with live video chat
Customers aren’t walking into banks nearly as much as they used to – they’re doing their banking online and opting for self-service tools a lot of the time. Some fintech companies don’t have a brick and mortar location at all. There still needs to be the option for face-to-face customer service, though.
Live video chat is midway between regular online chat and actually walking into a bank. Customers can speak with a live representative for more sensitive transactions, like opening a new account, discussing mortgage options or talking about a potential investment.
Other ways to humanize your brand with video include adding customer testimonials to your website, app and social media. You can also offer video tutorials to help customers with more complex self-service options or with things like budgeting, invoicing or investing.
Quality of life
Financial companies of the past have forgotten that in order to connect with their very human customers, they themselves have to be human, too. Cater to your customers in a way that says, “We hear you. We’re going to give you what you’ve asked for.”
Financial services are inherently tied to something that’s incredibly close and personal to your customers: their money and, in effect, their quality of life, their future and their families.