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Why trust in financial services is on the rise

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Win it, build it, keep it

For finance brands, winning customers’ trust is more important than ever—and that’s not only because crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 have individuals hungry for support and security.

It’s also because customers are becoming savvier about their money. 

Customers want finance brands to be transparent (even radically transparent), about everything from credit card fees to the finer details of insurance policies. Plus, they want their spending to reflect their values, whether they’re choosing a savings account or swapping super funds. 

But the question of trust in financial services is by no means new. Ranked as one of the least trusted industries in the world in the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, financial services has upped its game, ranking eighth in the 2020 Barometer—ahead of content and entertainment, and fast casual and quick service restaurants. 

Here, we explore the current state of trust in financial services and delve into the content marketing strategies that are most effective in winning, building and keeping trust. 

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The growing importance of trust

According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust is increasingly influential on customers’ behaviour. 46% of participants trust most of the brands they buy or use, in comparison with 34% in 2019. 

For those considering buying a new brand or becoming a loyal customer, whether or not they trust the company that owns the brand or the brand that makes the product is the second most important attribute—following price and affordability. Meanwhile, 70% report that trusting a brand is more important today than in the past.  

 

70% report that trusting a brand is more important today than in the past.

 

At the same time, the benefits of winning customers’ trust are becoming more and more evident. Of the people who trust a brand to a high level, 75% will take one or more of the following actions: 

  • Buying the brand, even if it isn’t the cheapest;
  • Buying the brand exclusively, for the product desired; and
  • Immediately checking out the brand’s new products.

Trust is earned, not bought

Where trust in brands is on the up, interest in advertising is on the down. Globally, around 7 in 10 people use one or more advertising avoidance strategies on the Internet, while around 5 in 10 have changed their media habits to see less advertising; 48% use ad blocking technology, 46% have found a way to avoid nearly all ads and 45% pay for a streaming service. 

This means that rather than relying solely on ads—which cease to have any value once the spend dries up—finance brands should reach people through quality organic content that’s consistent, accurate, useful and reflective of the brand’s values. 

For recent examples, look to Nationwide’s #TogetheragainstHate finance content marketing campaign, as well as USAA Bank’s educational blog posts, which have been dominating search engines. 

Trust speaks many languages

Levels of trust in the financial services industry vary wildly from country to country. The nation with the highest rate is China, where 91% of participants trust financial services, while the lowest rate is in Germany, at just 51%. In the UK, trust is at 60% and, in the US, 64%. 

It makes sense for finance brands to design their financial services marketing content accordingly. For example, in China, brands might work to maintain trust, while in Germany, they might focus on building it. 

Find inspiration in Aberdeen Standard Investments’ global content program, which provides tailored content for audiences in no fewer than 20 nations, and AllianceBernstein EMEA, whose localised approach to content delivery across Europe has achieved engagement rates 200% higher than industry benchmarks—both of whom we can proudly say are our clients. 

Age matters when it comes to trust in financial services

Trust levels in finance brands also vary between age groups—albeit to a much lesser degree than they do between countries. Globally, the age bracket with the highest level of trust is 35-44 at 68%, followed by 18-34% at 67% and 55+ at 66%.

Where millennials are skeptical about jargon-heavy finance talk, preferring streamlined, digital-first experiences such as micro-investment apps, the over 50s have had enough of finance brands that try to force them into over-the-hill boxes—given that they’re feeling much younger than their age and succeeding big time at start ups

Ready to build trust through smart, targeted financial services content marketing? Get in touch.

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Jasmine Crittenden
Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.