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Macro Trends in Financial Services: Developing Trust is a Key Part of Brand Loyalty

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by Benjamin Gau

Vice President

Today we live in an era of misinformation, AI-generated deepfakes, and scams seemingly lurking in every email, text, and phone call we get. It feels like every other day there’s news about a data breach or someone hacking private information that is supposed to be secure. Even communications from institutions we’re supposed to trust become suspicious, like a phone call from your bank or investment company — companies that are supposed to keep your money safe.

Over the years, consumers and businesses alike have developed a large sense of distrust. Yet, trust remains paramount as something we all seek and desire, especially when it comes to the financial decisions we make as individuals and organizations. Instilling a sense of trust in your customers is vital for financial institutions to grow their business, increase loyalty, and stand out from the competition.


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Instilling a sense of trust in your customers is vital for financial institutions to grow their business, increase loyalty, and stand out from the competition.”

Radius recently performed a Macro Trends Analysis that looked across a wide range of research initiatives conducted during the past 18 months within the financial services space, including retail banking, business banking, insurance, fintech, investment banking, and financial advisory services. From that analysis, the idea of trust rose to the top as a consistent and important theme across both B2C and B2B audiences.

Below are some questions that dive a little deeper into what trust means within the financial services sector, why it matters, and what your brand should do about it moving forward.


How do your customers define trust?

Trust, depending on who you talk to, can mean a lot of different things. But, at the core of it, trust is showing your customers, whether consumers or businesses, that you have their best interests in mind. You’re not just out looking for ways to sell them more products, services, or other offerings. You’re listening to them, personalizing your partnership with them, and working towards the same goal: ensuring that their financial needs are being met.


Why is trust important?

Within financial services, our macro analysis indicates that trust is an important trend for several reasons:


Money matters

Money is important to both consumers and businesses alike. For consumers, it enables them to start a family, go on vacation, cover bills, contribute to savings, and provide for life’s essentials. For businesses, it’s ensuring a healthy cash flow, keeping people paid and employed, growing the business, and investing in new innovations. No one is going to give you access to their money unless they trust you and your organization.


Impact on reputation

Having a good reputation is largely built around the perception of trust. If people haven’t heard good things about you and read good reviews about youthey are not likely to trust you. Being perceived as a trustworthy company is vital to winning new business and keeping existing business.


Unbiased advice

Advice, like the content we consume daily, is as only good as its source. If a consumer or a business feels like the advice they are getting is biased in any way to make a sale or to get you to share unnecessary information that advice will instantly be discredited and distrust will begin to grow. Companies need to ensure that they are sincere in their advice and recommendations. Upselling a customer on a product or service is fine, so long as that product or service could help meet their financial needs in a meaningful way.


Consistently showing up

To ensure long-lasting trust, companies need to consistently come through for their customers. This means that through every step of their financial journey, you need to be there for them in the good times and bad times, for big decisions and small decisions — all with their best interest in mind.


What should brands do to develop trust?

Consumers and businesses entrusting their money to a financial institution is a big deal — they’ve worked hard for it and their futures depend on it. Being able to trust the financial institutions they work with plays a big role in their decision-making process, both to the point of purchase and beyond.

Here are a few ways financial services brands can grow their perception of trust, deepening engagement, and building greater brand loyalty.


Segment financial needs and goals

We all have different financial needs and goals. By segmenting your customer or prospect base in into subsets of consumers or businesses that have common financial needs, attitudes, and/or priorities allows you to understand and keep their best interest in mind, creating content, developing products, and offering advice on what matters most to them. This leads to greater engagement with your brand and deeper trust.


Map out customer decision pathways to trust

Decision pathways reveal the underlying patterns in decision-making that lead to engagement, providing your brand with the details required to prepare for and impact every situation along the customer journey. By mapping these pathways out, pinpointing the touchpoints that influence and bolster trust in a brand the most, it provides targeting opportunities for your brand to intervene across all customer segments and convert consideration into purchase, whether in the B2C or B2B space.


Measure brand trust over time and what drives it

By measuring trust in your brand, and competitive brands, over time allows you to pinpoint where opportunities reside, where weaknesses need to be reinforced, and where strengths need to be leveraged to increase your perception of trust in the marketplace. By drilling down and identifying drivers of trust, you’re able to focus on those aspects of trust that matter most as well as measure your brand’s performance on them over time.


Pinpoint trust messages that resonate best

When you know what messages resonate best with your target customers, the messages that best instill a sense of trust and grow a positive brand reputation, you interact with them more efficiently at key moments in the customer journey, breaking through the noise in the marketplace and ensuring them that you are trustworthy.


Building a sense of trust among your customers and prospects offers a breadth of opportunity for financial institutions to differentiate themselves in the minds of customers – both personal and professional. By taking steps to build and maintain trust, you’ll put yourself in a position to grow though both new customer acquisition and deeper customer loyalty.

Want to discuss how to build great trust for your brand?

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