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Why a visual brand identity is so important in financial services

Marketers want people to relate to their brand. You want your consumers to see your brand’s personality, and recognize you as a unique provider who can improve their day to day lives.

Your visual brand identity distinguishes your brand from other competitors and ensures all content is consistently aligned to your brand guidelines.

Content that adheres to a list of predetermined visual cues is distinguishable from generic updates that appear in cluttered social news feeds. Content that’s bold and unique is strongly positioned to capture people’s attention on social and digital networks.

If your brand is heavily invested in social or digital advertising, custom content is the best way to boost clickthrough rates on those ads. Financial services brands are among the top spenders by industry on digital advertising, according to data compiled by eMarketer.

If your content isn’t noticeable, there’s little to no engagement for your efforts. If there’s no engagement, you’re simply blowing a big hole in your budget.

Show people they can trust your brand

Consistently on-brand content is crucial for businesses in all sectors, and the financial services industry is no exception. Faced with the goal of standing out in a crowded field of providers, financial services marketers are subjected to two additional challenges when creating content.

One of them is an overall lack of trust in financial institutions among the general population. Studies on consumer attitudes towards specific industries show financial services ranking at or near the bottom of brands deemed the most trustworthy the public.

Marketers that represent financial institutions must overcome the social stigma that financial services are inherently untrustworthy, and deserve little to no audience engagement.

The second challenge is adhering to tight regulatory directives for the industry. These regulations place strict limitations on content created by financial services firms. Marketers must find creative contingencies that stick to these guidelines while incorporating unique elements of their own identities into content.

If there’s nothing unique or creative, there’s little incentive for people to connect with your brand.

Build connections with consumers

Financial services marketers must walk a fine line between what’s best for the industry and what’s best for their consumers. Content must meet the standards of both requirements, which can be challenging if your creative team is limited in terms of resources or budgets available for content creation.

If your team lacks the resources or capabilities to create content at scale, the final assets are often rushed and lacking in brand consistency. A study conducted by Marcomcentral looks at some of the top reasons for inconsistent content in the financial services industry.

The lack of a brand identity plays into many of the results.

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Without the resources, the visual standards, or the lack of processes to create custom content at scale, you can’t regularly engage with your audience. If your brand isn’t active on social and digital platforms, you’re missing out on opportunities to build connections with your consumers.

People thumb-scroll through endless feeds of content on their mobile devices. In fact, statistics indicate that 90% of all time spent on mobile devices is within a handful of social apps in search of new or interesting content.

Those news feeds are cluttered with so much content that many people fail to recall the names of the brands promoting unique pieces of content. That’s why you need to prominently feature your brand and your content in those news feeds as frequently as possible.

But you need to customize your content so that it accurately represents your unique brand identity. People need to immediately see that your content is different than everything else in the feed. You need to show people the personality of your financial institution. They need a reason to stop browsing and actively consider doing business with your company.

Simplify your positioning with video content

Video content is a great way to make people stop browsing through their feeds.

Videos are more creative forms of storytelling. You can use videos to convey your positioning in a clear and concise manner. You can also customize the videos so that they’re uniquely associated with your brand alone.

Don’t be worried about video production costs. Some of the most successful financial services videos are simple productions showcasing real people talking about relatable issues.

Take, for example, videos produced for Wealthsimple by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. One of these videos involves a woman named Stacey who shares one of her favorite tips to ensure money is always around the house.

You can see there’s very little in the way of expensive production. The video is direct and to-the-point, conveying a simple piece of advice for viewers to absorb. The branding at the end brings the content back to Wealthsimple without subjecting viewers to heavy advertising. It aligns with Wealthsimple’s brand identity as a service that simplifies money management for the average consumer.

The content is also completed in just 15 seconds, which fits the ideal range for effective social video content. Facebook has data on the most effective pieces of video content, and the trend enforces the notion that shorter is better when it comes to videos.

You can produce videos of your own, customized to your brand’s unique visual identity, to better connect and engage with your audience.

Use technology to scale custom content creation

Financial services marketers need to create custom content to attract the attention of viewers who want to be intrigued by new ideas. Give viewers a reason to consider your brand by creating content that stands out from anything else they may come across in their feeds.

You can leverage technology to increase your creative output while maintaining consistency within all of your content. Consider a centralized content creation solution where you can calibrate your brand’s visual guidelines into a structured briefing template that you can share with your entire network of creative talent.

Think about what makes your brand unique, and decide on the best way to express those unique traits or values. Then upload those creative guidelines into your platform so you can keep all content consistently on-brand.

Make sure you insert a little fun into the content and simplify the message that your audience’s financial well-being is important to your brand. Demonstrate that you’re committed to improving their day-to-day lives, and keep them intrigued by pushing your content into their news feeds on a frequent basis. Help people come to recognize your financial institution as a leading provider and a trusted partner that they can feel comfortable with providing their business.

Trust and credibility are the end result of your efforts with content. But it all begins by controlling your the narrative around your content with a custom-made brand identity.
 

Ready to make the most of your financial brand identity? Read our blog on Targeted Audiences and Targeted Visuals for a great analysis on financial services social advertising, and the benefits of using custom content vs. generic content.