Fiona Blades, CEO of MESH Experience
The pursuit of purpose
We believe it will become even more important for organisations in financial services to have a brand purpose with real meaning. Using our Retail Banking Experience data stream, we’ve partnered with Signoi to look at this area through a new universal lens: that of the drivers of human happiness. As a summary, there are a number of drivers, across a spectrum from fleeting hedonic fun, through quality of life and agency, to deeper ‘cultural affinity’ happiness. We’ve found that to build a more meaningful brand purpose: it’s important to highlight a point of difference signifying better behaviour, e.g. Nationwide making a feature of being a building society. Cause related campaigns can also fuel deeper brand meaning as highlighted by TSB’s Pride of Britain activities or the Lloyds and Macmillan tie up.
The rise of Challenger banks
2019 will see challenger banks growing in momentum but it will take time to break through in a crowded market. They don’t come with baggage – but nor do they have heritage. Trust is a slow burn. Consideration is rising – but people don’t switch readily (c.f. the CASS campaign). Our data shows that steadily increasing share of experience presages growth, especially as these challenger bank experiences are demonstrably more positive. Challengers are getting good WOM and traction through earned channels generally. This is key to growth, when little is being spent on paid media.
Customer experience will evolve into a more encompassing Experience Driven Marketing approach
Financial services have focused on customer service and customer experience for a while now. We predict that this focus will broaden out to brands and organisations thinking about all experiences people have with their brands.
First Direct was applauded in the media earlier in the year for offering the best service amongst retail banks. However, our data highlighted Nationwide as the best performing retail bank as it delivered high levels of positivity, making each touchpoint experience count, and is the most considered brand. All this, despite its share of experience being lower than other banks such as (Barclays, Halifax and Lloyds). We found Nationwide stands in a unique position – ‘building society’ – and it reinforces this advantage through experiences from campaigns through to in-branch experiences.
The point is that ‘experience’ is not just about customer service. It is about the full range of touchpoints – owned, paid, and earned. Knowing this wider context is what helps brands grow through experience-driven marketing. The more experiences someone has with a brand, the more visible and salient the brand appears. Each interaction is an opportunity for brand building. In the absence of experiences (and especially positive experiences), people may deem a brand to be in decline. So, the number of experiences people have with your brand matters. As does how positive these experiences are.