I was struck by a simple and blunt statement by New York Times columnist Bret Stephens on Bill Maher’s show recently: “If we all emerge from this situation with the same convictions we had before, it means we’re just not thinking.” While he was speaking about how the pandemic will upend politics and economic policy, the certainty of dramatic change of course also applies to financial marketing. Our industry was already in flux before this erupted; it will only hasten in the year or two ahead.
Trust again front and center
Last year’s Edelman Trust Barometer showed trust in financial services institutions at an all-time high, rising from 49% in 2012 to 67% in 2019. As the economy collapses, this crisis puts the industry and individual brands at a crossroads. We’re all seeing the ads claiming “we’re with you…we’ll get through this together.” But what about in 3 months, 6 months, or a year from now? It is imperative that brands take a long-term view and deliver on these promises across the customer experience throughout the recovery.
Acceleration of shifts already in motion
The digital divide between generations is narrowing, and marketing priorities will need to adapt. Will face-to-face go away? Of course not – just look at people across the country itching to get out of their homes and away from their computers. As marketers and employers, we will need to find the right balance.
Speed and authenticity over perfection
As celebrities do their own makeup and national news reporters broadcast from home with AirPods, we’re all seeing communicators get scrappier, and that’s okay. In fact, it often helps build a stronger emotional connection. Financial brands will need to let their hair down a bit, or risk appearing out of touch.
Without a doubt, we’re all in for an interesting ride.