Amid the news of the last several months it has been natural for firms to use insights in a reactive way. Understanding the impact of the crisis on the mindset of financial services customers, identifying ways to mitigate the negative impact of the environment, and determining how to best shore up customer relationships have been priorities for many firms.
While those are all critical steps to take, it’s equally important that financial services companies develop a forward-thinking approach to leveraging financial services innovation insights. This is an opportune time to go on offense a bit, demonstrate innovative thinking, and identify areas of differentiation that will propel both customer loyalty and acquisition.
Even with concerns about the banking industry lingering, playing defense can accomplish only so much. It can help you prevent churn or restore confidence. It can make customers take a pause before choosing to shift gears. But it’s unlikely to inspire behaviors that will drive growth and foster perceptions that will deepen brand connections. That’s where taking an offense-minded approach comes into play.
This is an opportune time to go on offense a bit, demonstrate innovative thinking, and identify areas of differentiation that will propel both customer loyalty and acquisition.”
What we mean by “offense” in this case is identifying opportunities to generate enthusiasm, connectivity, and action among both your current and prospective customers. And there three ways firms can do this right now:
1. Identify new opportunities by developing a clear view of the market landscape.
Refresh your perspective on the market landscape from the vantage point of identifying areas that will deliver meaningful differentiation to your customers.
Often, we see companies look at the landscape as a way to gauge where they stand in the current state of the market. In the current environment it’s perhaps even more powerful to use landscape research as a forward-looking tool to guide where you could/should go.
By integrating aspirational goals, benefits, and outcomes that customers care about (which can be readily identified by well-constructed qualitative research) into a market landscape research design, you can uncover opportunity areas that will compel action and deliver meaningful reasons for customers to deepen or start relationships with your brand.
The result is a roadmap that will set you apart and put you ahead of your competition vs. a roadmap that closes a gap or addresses weaknesses (which are important things to care about, but not necessarily things that will inspire and motivate).
2. Update communications to drive customer engagement.
This is an ideal time to scrutinize what you’re communicating now and seek input from customers on how you might refine your approach to be more compelling and meaningful.
It’s also a great time to highlight aspects of your brand (ideally based on learnings from your brand tracking or market landscape research) that will help set you apart as a company that customers want to do business with.
There are some simple ways you can do either of these things — qualitatively or quantitatively.
One approach we like to use is called Real-Time Concept Optimization, a process that helps clients gain customer insights to help them:
- Create meaningful communication platforms with their customers.
- Ensure new communications are effective and line up with what motivates and has meaning to their audience.
- Implement updates quickly and easily, allowing the voice of the customer to be heard and integrated into planning.
3. Identify new innovations to connect with customers and differentiate your brand.
Embark upon an innovation journey that will lead to offerings that truly connect with needs and set you apart from the competition.
While many firms, rightfully, worry about how to hold steady in turbulent times, the firms that are most innovative during turbulence can move themselves ahead of the competition. This is the ideal moment to pursue innovations that will compel customer action and acquisition.
Depending on the current state of your innovation pipeline, there are numerous ways you can move down a path that will lead to impactful outcomes for your business.
Our Innovation Sprint™ solution is structured to meet you where you are in your innovation journey and can help you start from scratch to build a pipeline OR refine and optimize the ideas you may have in your pipeline today. Regardless of where you sit, making a move towards offering meaningful innovations can help you simultaneously shore up your current customer base and attract new customers to your brand.
Chaotic and uncertain times are fertile ground for generating growth by identifying opportunities that will be seen as meaningful, motivating, and differentiating to customers.”
Take the lead by developing a future-ready stance.
These are a few of the key ways that financial services firms can go on the offensive by leveraging the power of insights at a time where it’s tempting to sit back and defend their territory. Chaotic and uncertain times are fertile ground for generating growth by identifying opportunities that will be seen as meaningful, motivating, and differentiating to customers. We encourage you make bold steps through insights. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss how you might be able to do this for your business.
Want to have a conversation about proactive innovation for your firm?