How consumers are looking for ‘more’ in financial services
2020 was a pivotal year. In a matter of weeks, even days, the lives of people all over the world got turned upside down. Consumers were forced to adapt the way they work, shop, socialize and travel. This created a new reality with serious implications for brands and businesses. In this ‘Better Together’ series, we zoom in on how the pandemic accelerated changes for consumers and businesses worldwide. One of these shifts is the consumers’ desire to buy from companies that share their values, so-called ‘meaningful brands’.
In this blogpost, Paul Child, Global Client Partner at InSites Consulting in the UK, discusses how consumers expect their money to follow their values and thus expect ‘more’ from financial services.
The recent rise of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) funds in the UK illustrates how consumers are looking for ‘more’ in financial services; they want their money to follow their values. In my 20+ years of running research in the banking and finance sector, I have never seen such a strong shift towards purpose-led investing. What sets these ESG funds apart is that they go beyond simply excluding ‘sin’ sectors; they actively support businesses in doing good and realizing positive change. This approach also seems to provide fertile ground for new investors to enter the market via digital-first brands.
An example that caught my eye is the app tickr. The brand’s founders previously worked in the investment management industry. They started tickr to make investing with societal impact convenient and accessible to everyone. The app only lists funds designed to invest for impact – be it affecting climate change or promoting diversity.
Via short videos and company profiles, tickr brings its users transparency; it also offers guidance via in-app ‘financial education’ videos. With their app-led approach, the brand aims to bring investing to the masses. It is targeting a rather different investor audience which seemingly pays off. More than 40% of its investors are female, with an average age of 31 and a massive 50% that have never invested before. They also follow what I consider the golden rule of success in the ESG space: being open and honest about where they could improve or the areas in which they’re not quite where they want to be (yet). This openness prevents scrutineers from excavating embarrassing exceptions to their philosophy, and sets out their long-term goals to grow their service.
Consumers today expect brands to understand their unique needs and wants. They also prefer to buy from businesses that share their values – like tickr. To provide a relevant offering, brands thus need to listen to the voice of their consumers. And to install a culture that is led by consumer insights, a practice we call consumer intuition.