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Brand Overview: Finance - UK - July 2018

“There is a substantial difference between perception and reality within the financial services sector. Users of brands tend to be happy with their bank, for example, but seem unconvinced about the merits of those they have not used. In insurance markets, the financial incentive to switch is enough to get around this, however within banking consumers appear perfectly content to keep the status quo.”

– Richard Hopping, Senior Brand and Household Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

Consumers are often attracted to the biggest names in the financial services industry, despite the fact that many of the brands with the most positive reputations are smaller, less traditional organisations. Sometimes in spite of themselves, consumers remain reassured by size and stature, which means smaller challengers often have to use better deals and innovation to compete.

There is a substantial difference between perception and reality within this sector. Users of brands tend to be happy with their bank, for example, but seem unconvinced about the merits of those they have not used. In insurance markets, the renewal cycle and the potential savings that can be made by switching means that people are more willing to test out newer brands, but within banking consumers appear perfectly content to keep the status quo.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Brand Leaders
            • Average usage of FS brands is lower than other sectors
              • Figure 1: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by overall usage, November 2015-May 2018
            • Non-traditional FS brands lead on trust
              • Figure 2: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that I trust”, November 2015-May 2018
            • Sunny and Amigo learn lessons
              • Figure 3: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by satisfaction (net of “good” and “excellent” responses), November 2015-May 2018
            • Consumers inclined towards the big names
              • Figure 4: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by commitment (net of “It’s a favourite brand” and “I prefer it over others”), November 2015-May 2018
            • Premium image leads to standout proposition
              • Figure 5: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by differentiation (net of “It's a unique brand” and “It’s somewhat different from others”), November 2015-May 2018
            • Brand Reputation
              • Financial services brands less likely to be thought of as ethical
                • Figure 6: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Ethical”, November 2015-May 2018
              • Face-to-face helps Post Office’s service reputation, but does not appear essential
                • Figure 7: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that has great customer service”, November 2015-May 2018
              • Few mainstream brands seen as exclusive
                • Figure 8: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Exclusive”, May 2015 May 2018
              • Competency influenced by expertise elsewhere
                • Figure 9: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Competent”, May 2015 May 2018
              • The Financial Services Brandscape
                • Users of brands focus on their individual experience
                  • Figure 10: Average score for selected attributes in the financial services sector, by users and non-users of brands, November 2015 – May 2018
                • Price comparison sites excel compared to other categories
                  • Figure 11: Average brand attitude scores for different financial services categories, November 2015 – May 2018
                • Consumers struggle to differentiate the big brands
                  • Figure 12: Scores for trust and differentiation amongst biggest banking brands, November 2015-May 2018
                • Active loyalty measures help build perception of rewards
                  • Figure 13: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that rewards loyalty”, November 2015-May 2018
                • People generally reluctant to switch bank of choice
                  • Figure 14: Brands with the lowest proportion of lapsed users in the financial services sector, November 2015-May 2018
                • Loan brands take the heat off others
                  • Figure 15: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Unethical”, November 2015-May 2018
                • Price comparison sites are the largest spenders on advertising
                  • Figure 16: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the financial services sector, by top brands, 2017
                • What we think
                • Brand Leaders – What You Need to Know

                  • Average usage of FS brands is lower than other sectors
                    • Non-traditional FS brands lead on trust
                      • Sunny and Amigo learn lessons
                        • Consumers inclined towards the big names
                          • Premium image leads to standout proposition
                          • Brand Usage

                            • Average usage of FS brands is lower than other sectors
                              • Figure 17: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by overall usage, November 2015-May 2018
                            • PCWs and big-name banks most used in last year
                              • Figure 18: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by usage in the last 12 months, November 2015-May 2018
                          • Trust in Financial Services Brands

                            • Non-traditional FS brands lead on trust
                              • Figure 19: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that I trust”, November 2015-May 2018
                            • PCWs are detached from negative associations
                              • Aviva and Direct Line’s proposition aids trust
                              • Satisfaction and Recommendation

                                • Satisfaction with FS brands is lower than average
                                  • Sunny and Amigo learn lessons
                                    • Figure 20: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by satisfaction (net of “good” and “excellent” responses), November 2015-May 2018
                                  • Banking brands able to enthuse customers
                                    • Figure 21: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by proportion of excellent reviews, November 2015-May 2018
                                  • PCWs earn recommendation on basis of proposition
                                    • Figure 22: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by likely recommendation, November 2015-May 2018
                                • Brand Preference

                                  • Post Office commitment and usage work in tandem
                                    • Consumers inclined towards the big names
                                      • Figure 23: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by commitment (net of “It’s a favourite brand” and “I prefer it over others”), November 2015-May 2018
                                  • Brand Differentiation

                                    • Premium image leads to standout proposition
                                      • Direct Line and Churchill stand out in a crowded field
                                        • Figure 24: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by differentiation (net of “It's a unique brand” and “It’s somewhat different from others”), November 2015-May 2018
                                      • Advertising is not always influential
                                      • Brand Reputation – What You Need to Know

                                        • Financial services brands less likely to be thought of as ethical
                                          • Ethical behaviour largely focuses on inclusivity
                                            • Face-to-face helps Post Office’s service reputation, but does not appear essential
                                              • Few mainstream brands seen as exclusive
                                                • Competency influenced by expertise elsewhere
                                                • Ethical Brands

                                                  • Financial services brands are less likely to be thought of as ethical…
                                                    • Figure 25: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Ethical”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                  • …but only just
                                                    • Press coverage may reaffirm consumer confidence in their own brands
                                                      • Ethics is a passive concept
                                                      • Ethical Activity

                                                        • Ethical behaviour largely focuses on inclusivity
                                                          • Lloyds Bank wins Diversity in Advertising award
                                                            • Halifax, Lloyds and Nationwide go autism-friendly
                                                              • Lloyds and HSBC develop dementia services
                                                                • The Co-operative Bank works its way back up…
                                                                  • Figure 26: Agreement with “ethical” for Co-operative Bank, March 2012-May 2017
                                                                • …but Triodos seeks to capitalise on ethical uncertainty
                                                                  • Figure 27: Triodos launches current account, May 2017
                                                                • American Express fights plastic
                                                                  • Figure 28: Parley joins up with American Express to create ocean plastic card, June 2018
                                                              • Customer Service

                                                                • The importance of customer service
                                                                  • Face-to-face helps Post Office, but does not appear essential
                                                                    • Figure 29: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that has great customer service”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                  • Direct Line and Aviva offer customers reasons to seek them out
                                                                    • Customer service opportunities need to be taken advantage of
                                                                      • Personal experience of brands is positive
                                                                        • Financial services brands struggle with perception versus reality
                                                                          • Figure 30: Average scores for usage and perceived great customer service in the financial services and retail sector, January 2015-May 2018
                                                                      • Prestige and Premium Brands

                                                                        • Few mainstream brands are seen as exclusive
                                                                          • Figure 31: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Exclusive”, May 2015 May 2018
                                                                        • Bupa benefits from the image of PMI in general
                                                                          • Figure 32: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Prestigious”, May 2015 May 2018
                                                                      • Competency and Reliability

                                                                        • Competency influenced by expertise elsewhere
                                                                          • Figure 33: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Competent”, May 2015 May 2018
                                                                        • Post Office most likely to be considered reliable
                                                                          • Figure 34: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Reliable”, May 2015 May 2018
                                                                      • The Financial Services Brandscape – What You Need to Know

                                                                        • Users of brands focus on their individual experience
                                                                          • Price comparison sites excel compared to other categories
                                                                            • Consumers struggle to differentiate the big brands
                                                                              • Active loyalty measures help build perception of rewards
                                                                                • People are generally reluctant to switch bank of choice
                                                                                  • Loan brands take the heat off others
                                                                                    • Price comparison sites are the largest spenders on advertising
                                                                                    • My Brand vs Your Brands

                                                                                      • Users of brands focus on their individual experience
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Average score for selected attributes in the financial services sector, by users and non-users of brands, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                      • Sunny users note its different proposition
                                                                                        • First Direct’s reliability and competency
                                                                                          • Figure 36: Top scoring brands for selected attributes, by users and non-users, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                        • Greatest disparity in formation of trust
                                                                                          • Figure 37: Average score for brand attitudes in the financial services sector, by users and non-users of brands, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                        • Post Office and Bupa demonstrate brand strength
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Top scoring brands for brand attitudes, by users and non-users, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                      • The Difference between Financial Services Categories

                                                                                        • Price comparison sites excel
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Average brand attitude scores for different financial services categories, November 2015 – May 2018
                                                                                        • Banking brands lack differentiation
                                                                                          • Advertising assists PCW standout
                                                                                            • Figure 40: Brand usage, commitment and differentiation, by average scores for different financial services categories, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                          • Insurance performance cannot prevent churn
                                                                                            • PCWs recommended even without high satisfaction
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Brand experience, by average scores for different financial services categories, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                          • Established Banks vs Challenger Banks

                                                                                            • Consumers struggle to differentiate the big brands
                                                                                                • Figure 42: Scores for trust and differentiation amongst biggest banking brands, May 2018
                                                                                              • A lack of branch network can make a difference
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Scores for trust and differentiation amongst challenger banking brands, May 2017-May 2018
                                                                                              • Challenger brands lack reputation of the established
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Average scores for brand attitudes amongst established banks and challenger banks, by users and non-users, May 2017-May 2018
                                                                                              • Concerns about size influence perceptions
                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Average scores for brand traits amongst established banks and challenger banks, May 2017-May 2018
                                                                                                • Experience of established banks also stronger
                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Average brand scores for experience-related attributes amongst established and challenger banks, May 2017-May 2018
                                                                                                • Consumers may turn to challengers for products with fewer touchpoints
                                                                                                  • Challenger brands recognised for deals and innovation
                                                                                                    • New digital-only banks make a splash online
                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Online mentions for banking brands, June 2014-June 2018
                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Topic cloud around Monzo, June 2014-June 2018
                                                                                                    • Sponsorship can make a difference
                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Topic clouds around First Direct and Virgin Money, June 2014-June 2018
                                                                                                  • Loyalty in Financial Services

                                                                                                    • Active loyalty measures help build perception of rewards
                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “A brand that rewards loyalty”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                    • Financial services generally considered poor for loyalty
                                                                                                      • Santander and Halifax lead the way in banking brands
                                                                                                        • Few insurance brands recognised for rewarding loyalty
                                                                                                        • Customers and Switching

                                                                                                          • People generally reluctant to switch bank of choice
                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Brands with the lowest proportion of lapsed users in the financial services sector, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                            • Branches remain key to the status quo…
                                                                                                              • …and could still encourage new customers
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Virgin Money Store in Sheffield, May 2018
                                                                                                              • Travel money and insurance brands struggle to keep customers
                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Brands with the highest proportion of lapsed users in the financial services sector, May 2015-Novembr 2018
                                                                                                              • Consumers happy to stay with insurance providers…
                                                                                                                • …but price gets in the way
                                                                                                                  • Opportunity for customer service to break the cycle
                                                                                                                  • The Impact of Technology in Financial Services

                                                                                                                    • The importance of tech in modern banking
                                                                                                                      • Comfort with online services opens up chatbot potential
                                                                                                                        • When tech goes wrong – Tesco Bank and TSB
                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Proportion of online conversation around Tesco Bank and TSB, January 2016-May 2018
                                                                                                                        • Tesco Bank avoids lasting damage, TSB not so lucky
                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Proportion of positive reviews for TSB and Tesco Bank, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                                        • Tech problems could knock confidence in challenger brands
                                                                                                                        • Negativity in the Loan Category

                                                                                                                          • Loan brands take the heat off others
                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Only cares about profits”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                                          • Consumers do not differentiate between types of loan brand
                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Irresponsible”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                                          • Wonga is considered unethical by more people than any other brand
                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Top ranking of brands in the financial services sector, by agreement with “Unethical”, November 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                                            • Loan brands perform more strongly among users…
                                                                                                                              • …but reputation likely to limit word-of-mouth positivity
                                                                                                                                • Negativity provides opportunity for more recognisable brands
                                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                  • Adspend has been consistent over last four years
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the financial services sector, January 2015- May 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Advertising is concentrated in two parts of the year
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the financial services sector, by month, January 2015-May 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Price comparison sites are the largest spenders in the sector
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the financial services sector, by top brands, 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Confused.com highlights savings potential
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Confused.com’s The Sheep Whisperer ad, September 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Comparethemarket.com promotes loyalty initiative
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Comparethemarket.com’s Compare the Meerkat ad promoting Meerkat Movies, March 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Direct Line and Aviva advertise in lieu of price comparison presence
                                                                                                                                    • Over-50s life insurance targeted by advertisers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Welcome to Life After 50 SunLife TV Ad, March 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Brands Used

                                                                                                                                          Brand Overview: Finance - UK - July 2018

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