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Tech Connection Now Is What Personal Connection Was Then

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INFLUENCER: Wunderman Thompson India's Shaziya Khan on consumer trust and financial brands during a time of lock down

Tech Connection Now Is What Personal Connection Was Then

In our decades of advertising and marketing, we have often discussed, celebrated and experienced the trusted banker, insurer or financial advisor, who is about nurturing personal relationships. In the current context, the trust factor is evolving. The point of departure for the present and future, is that trust in financial services brands may not be restricted to the personal aspect alone. 

Practically speaking, at the time of lock down, several brands, each in their own way, are reassuring consumers and urging trust in ‘banking from home’ as the new normal, right alongside working from home.


Understanding the long term shift

Forging a personal connection, maintaining a personal equation or having a personal touch have been timeless intangible factors in Indian customers’ decisions in placing their trust in a financial services provider. 

To mention a few, the patient neighbourhood bank attendants, who are a favourite among retirees. The kind, obliging insurance agent called 'uncle' by many. The affable senior branch manager, who enquires how all are doing. These are all 'personal trust' experiences that matter to customers. 

However, these 'personal trust' moments, and many like them, may no longer be the best-in-class moments of trust. A mega shift towards trust in technology is the second biggest overall attitudinal shift in financial culture among modern Indian consumers. 

Finance was previously more about the human connection, Now it's more about the tech connection. 

This mega shift towards technology in the overall financial culture is supported by 4 of the top 10 attitudinal shifts across the entire study. What is significant is that it was equally strong among men and women, young and old people.

A couple of the supporting shift statements include the following:

Internet will change the way we deal with money and finances because it will connect all our appliances and devices.

These days, consumers are demanding more ease, speed and technology when dealing with banks, insurers and other financial services companies.

Relatedly, other attitudinal statements that focused on financial apps, digital lockers and identification are regarded positively too, being associated with likelihood of making better financial decisions. 

Technology Connection now is what Personal Connection was then

The Wunderman Thompson study on Financial Culture of Consumers reveals that the second biggest attitudinal shift is to do with trusting the technology connection more than the human connection, for making better financial decisions. The warm, personal connection may no longer be the main ‘trust factor’ here forwards. Our consumer attitudes study reveals that an approachable, intuitive and reliable technology connection is seen as the new trust factor, for better financial engagement and decision making, nowadays.


Implications for brands

We believe that financial brands should embrace the new value narrative of consumers to maintain their trust in technology as an enabler to better financial decisions. (It also ripples across categories, given that financial decision making impacts most purchase decisions).

Educated women are financial assets: Leveraging financial literacy to help empower women, is likely to be a key focus of several initiatives by financial brands. Women are not just consumers but also wealth creators, and this new perspective necessarily drives customised technology solutions for them.

Intuitive and approachable financial engagement: AR and VR make financial planning more intuitive: Wealth management firms, using AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), will strive to make financial planning more intuitive, for their clients, as well as, attract millenials towards managed investing. Other technology tools - Whispering Agents, Smart Assistants - will help to delight customers in times of cost constraints.

Visual Shift: The days when financial communication could be complex and corporate are gone. Attention spans for a tech native generation are shorter. They are demanding, approachable, intuititve and friendly engagement. (To position its brand for frictionless smooth interactions, Klarna’s Get Smooth campaign references pop culture, to make it more consumer friendly, even consumer led).

Ethically conscious financial tools for the civic minded: Millenials who are likely to become among the largest and most affluent consumer group, are more concerned about making socially and environmentally responsible purchases than any other generation. They are known to be optimistic, entrepreneurial and civic minded by nature. These sentiments extend to their expectations from the fintech industry, where brands are responding via tools that help make ethically conscious decisions. (eg. Doconomy cuts off spending when you hit a carbon limit rather than a spending limit (its credit card tracks carbon footprints of each purchase). 



Shaziya Khan is national planning director at Wunderman Thompson India

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Wunderman Thompson South Asia, Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:56:39 GMT