Best Brands Belgium 2017, what the financial sector has learned

Every year, the Best Brands study organised by GfK and Serviceplan rewards the best of the 10 leading brands in the country, selected from more than 30 different business sectors.

Financial services are one of these sectors. And the brands selected to take part in the study certainly have what it takes to be among the winners in the coming years.

In recent years, the financial services sector has often been at the heart of troubled events. Reinforcing the consumers’ need for a guarantee of the transparency of the sector’s activities, and that they can continue to trust their banks and insurance. Nevertheless, this sector is characterised by having to combat the mistrust of its customers because money and valuables are the main issue. In this context, obtaining the trust of its customers, and above all their loyalty, proves to be particularly difficult. A difficulty reflected by the position of financial services in 28th place out of a total of 30 sectors studied in 2017.

A difficulty which also explains the results obtained for this sector in terms of consumer relationships. The system of relationships which GfK employs is equivalent to 9 human relationships grouped into 3 types of relationships: strong, weak and risky relationships. A best friend, a guru or a member of one’s social circle are the relationships covered by the « strong relationships » type. A stranger, an acquaintance or a flirtation constitute « weak relationships » and an enemy, a friendship which has ended or a conflictual relationship are used to define « risky relationships».

When consumers are asked to define the type of relationships they have with the brands of the financial sector, only a quarter of them say they have a strong relationship with them. Worse still, more than one in six say they have a conflictual relationship with these brands, which is the highest score recorded this year of all the sectors.

These relationships have an impact on the market positioning of a company. A best friend is someone with whom there are regular exchanges without the need for specific investment in each meeting. While in the context of a flirtation, an exchange may not be mundane, and a greater investment in the encounter is desired. This is precisely the phenomenon observed with regard to brands. A best friend would be a brand that one bought more frequently, and which would therefore occupy a greater share of the market. While a flirtation would occupy a smaller share of the market but would have a higher average price.

As we know, the sector is undergoing increased digitalisation while the role of these ‘retailers’ is to maximise the experience offered to customers regarding the service in order to retain their loyalty. But what is the role of offline in all this? How should the role of financial advisor as we currently know it develop? The first ideas with the results of the new category Best Omnichannel Brand will be presented on 10 October at the ‘House of Data’ event co-organised by Serviceplan, GfK and Media Marketing at the Cinquantenaire Museum.

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