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Brand Perceptions of Canadian Financial Service Institutions - Canada - May 2015

“Although there is a common perception that all banks are the same, a more in-depth look beneath the surface reveals distinct brand characteristics with some major players succeeding in projecting a more innovative and friendly brand image.”
– Sanjay Sharma, Senior Financial Services Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Designing innovative strategies to highlight distinctive brand attributes
  • Insurance companies – How increasing brand awareness and reputation will pay dividends in the marketplace
  • Bank size and the Canadian consumer
  • Brand influencers – Building a brand’s personality in the minds of consumers

There is a perception among some Canadians that there is little difference between the major financial institutions in Canada. But going beneath the surface, there are clear differences in consumer brand perceptions even where larger institutions are concerned. Given the importance of brand reputation as a factor that influences consumer choice of bank, it is important to explore in detail both the subtle and the more clear-cut distinctions in brand imagery and perceptions.

The major financial institutions have aimed to carve out a clear niche for themselves in the minds of consumers by using distinct brand characteristics. While most Canadians are familiar with the ‘big five’ banks, the main insurance companies are relatively less well-known. There are also differences in brand perception among different segments of the Canadian population.

This report covers consumer awareness, attitudes and perceptions regarding the major financial institutions in Canada. It also examines any differences in perceptions between users and non-users of the brand. It explores themes of brand usage and awareness, brand rating factors, choice influencers, brand personality and attitudes towards the major financial brands.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Methodology
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • Market factors
              • Overall negative impact of lower oil prices on the Canadian economy
                • Outlook on the real estate and housing market
                  • Household debt in Canada
                    • Population count and growth in Canada
                      • Companies, brands and innovation
                        • The consumer
                          • Big five banks have a brand awareness level of 90% or more
                            • Figure 1: Level of brand interaction with the major financial brands, February 2015
                          • TD rated friendly and innovative; RBC perceived as traditional
                            • Figure 2: Brand personalities of financial institutions, February 2015
                          • Value for money ranks as the top choice factor
                            • Figure 3: Choice factors when selecting main FI (rank #1), February 2015
                          • Younger Canadians more positive towards the big banks; LGBTs have a much more positive view about credit unions
                            • Figure 4: Attitudes towards financial institutions, February 2015
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                              • Designing innovative strategies to highlight distinctive brand attributes
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Insurance companies – How increasing brand awareness and reputation will pay dividends in the marketplace
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Bank size and the Canadian consumer
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Brand influencers – Building a brand’s personality in the minds of consumers
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • Trend Application

                                                        • Trend: Locavore
                                                          • Trend: Experience is all
                                                            • Trend: Access All Areas
                                                            • Market Factors

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Economic overview
                                                                  • Overall negative impact of lower oil prices on the Canadian economy
                                                                    • Figure 5: Canada’s GDP, by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                                                                    • Figure 6: Household disposable incomes and savings in Canada, by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                                                                    • Figure 7: Canada’s unemployment rate, by gender, 2008-15
                                                                  • Impact of Interest rates, inflation and exchange rates
                                                                    • Figure 8: Inflation rates in Canada (%), 2004-14
                                                                  • Bank of Canada cuts interest rate to 1% in January 2015
                                                                    • Figure 9: Canada bank rate by month, 2005-15
                                                                  • Outlook on the real estate and housing market
                                                                    • Consumer Confidence
                                                                      • Figure 10: Consumer Confidence Index, monthly, January 2008-February 2015
                                                                    • Household debt in Canada
                                                                      • Demographic overview
                                                                        • Population count and growth in Canada
                                                                          • Figure 11: Share of population of Canada, by territory/province, 2015 (projected)
                                                                        • Minority groups account for less than 20% of Canada’s population
                                                                          • Figure 12: Estimated population of Canada, by ethnicity, 2011
                                                                        • Canada’s population is expected to age in the coming years
                                                                          • Figure 13: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                                                                          • Figure 14: Projected trends in the age structure of the Canada population, 2014-19
                                                                      • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                        • Strengths
                                                                          • Weaknesses
                                                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • New RBC location replaces cashier's counter with work stations and touchscreens
                                                                                • TD’s new concept ‘Green Branch’
                                                                                  • Tangerine Bank’s biometric tools for mobile banking
                                                                                    • RBC and Nymi
                                                                                      • TD’s #MakeTodayMatter Campaign
                                                                                      • Social Media Kred Scores

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Figure 15: Kred scores of selected financial institutions, April 15, 2015
                                                                                      • Companies and Products

                                                                                          • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
                                                                                            • Overview and company information
                                                                                              • Recent activity
                                                                                                • Manulife
                                                                                                  • Overview and company information
                                                                                                    • Recent activity and innovation
                                                                                                      • TD Financial Group
                                                                                                        • Overview and company information
                                                                                                          • Recent activity
                                                                                                            • RBC
                                                                                                              • Overview and company information
                                                                                                                • Recent activity
                                                                                                                  • Scotiabank
                                                                                                                    • Overview and company information
                                                                                                                      • Recent activity
                                                                                                                        • Desjardins
                                                                                                                          • Overview and company information
                                                                                                                            • Recent activity and innovation
                                                                                                                            • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Belair direct is the most active direct mailer
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Direct acquisition mail in financial services (credit cards, insurance, investments and banking), April 2014 to April 2015
                                                                                                                                • Select brand promotional campaigns
                                                                                                                                  • Ontario credit unions seek to boost awareness with a high profile joint marketing campaign
                                                                                                                                    • Manulife’s Are You Ready?
                                                                                                                                      • TD says thanks in a special way
                                                                                                                                        • Select campaigns from Mintel Comperemedia
                                                                                                                                          • Tangerine’s “Refer 3 Friends and earn $250” campaign
                                                                                                                                            • RBC’s $50 banking statement challenge to prove not all banks are the same
                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Brand Awareness and Usage

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Summary of brand awareness and interaction
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Level of brand interaction with the major financial brands, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                • ‘Big five’ banks have a brand awareness level of 90% or more
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Brand awareness of major financial brands, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                • Almost half of Canadians have/or had a product with TD, RBC and CAA
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Product usage of major financial brands, February 2015
                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Importance of Factors in Brand Perception

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Trust is the most influential factor
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Most important factors associated with financial institutions (ranked #1), February 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Competitive fees as important as trust to younger consumers
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Significant differences in importance of factors by age, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Higher income earners are relatively more influenced by competitive interest rates
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Importance of competitive interest rates by income levels, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Brand Personalities

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • TD rated as friendly and innovative; RBC perceived as traditional
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Brand personalities of financial institutions (% of respondents who chose the adjectives), February 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer- Choice Factors When Selecting Main FI

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Value for money ranks as the top choice factor
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Choice factors when selecting main FI (rank #1), February 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Choice factors when selecting main FI (% who ranked factor among top five), February 2015
                                                                                                                                                      • Convenient branch locations and previous experience rank highly for older females
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Choice factors when selecting main FI (rank #1) by age and gender (significant differences), February 2015
                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Financial Institutions

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Summary of attitudes
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Attitudes towards financial institutions, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • Younger Canadians more positive towards the big banks and more open to product consolidation
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Attitudes relating to consolidation and size, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • LGBTs have a much more positive view about credit unions and small local banks
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Attitudes about credit unions and virtual banks, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • Males more likely to prefer insurance companies for wealth management
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Attitudes about insurance companies and financial advice, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Chinese Canadians and Their Brand Perceptions

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Overall brand awareness levels are similar to the general population but specific differences exist
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Comparison of brand awareness: Chinese Canadians versus overall population, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                          • Chinese Canadians are much more positive about the big banks
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Attitudes towards financial institutions: Chinese Canadians versus overall population
                                                                                                                                                          • Brand reputation more important and convenient, branch locations less important
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Choice factors when choosing main FI, Chinese Canadians versus overall population, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Three target groups
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Target groups, February 2015
                                                                                                                                                            • Credit union lovers (25%)
                                                                                                                                                              • Bank lovers (34%)
                                                                                                                                                                • Passive observers (42%)

                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                                                                Brand Perceptions of Canadian Financial Service Institutions - Canada - May 2015

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