Thursday , September 21 2017

Big Banks: No Need To Rub It In

They are considered to be the least trusted sectors of our day: banks and financial services. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for banks to steer clear of messages that make consumers think more unfavorably about them than they already do.

I have no doubt that banks are full of good and well qualified people who have a passion for restoring trust in the banking industry. But this happens too often: Information to consumers is communicated in good faith but is perceived in a very negative way. Such messages should be spotted and rejected by the bank’s marketing or communication divisions before they are seen by the public. Somehow they slip by, are published, and shout at customers in a way nobody wants.

One message from a well-known UK bank stated: Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

This print ad appeared all over the bank’s branches across the UK (here shown partially):

RBS MSG1

Is this really what a bank should tell its customers when it sorely needs to get them back on on its good side? I am not sure, but it might be the most hostile message customers have seen from a bank in a very long time.

In this ad, the bank’s brand is linked to all kinds of negative values and attributes that banks in general need to avoid. It makes people think that those in charge of this particular bank are cold-hearted, distant to customers, have little understanding of human behavior and have zero tolerance towards common incidents that might happen to anyone.

Why is it necessary for that bank to broadcast such a pessimistic message? I have no clue.  Instead of reminding customers of a possible detrimental action the bank might take against them, this bank ought to frame positive messages and associate people’s most treasured values with its brand. Instead of emphasizing repossessing its customers’ homes, the bank should publicize how it can better serve them.