Australia is the fourth largest financial services market globally, and the size of our market continues to grow. Additionally, according to a three year study by ReBrand, financial services companies are the most likely of all industries to rebrand.
Yet the financial services industry faces unique brand-related challenges. Often a financial services organisation’s offer is service-based and less tangible than a brand that sells luxury handbags or budget travel. Rapid growth combined with acquisitions can result in brands being combined, closed down or much larger than they were before, and marketers are then faced with the challenge of redefining the brand in light of the organisational shift.
In a brand sense, it could be said the financial services market is also somewhat immature. Within the industry there is a sometimes-limited understanding of product versus services marketing, and decades of continuing growth has meant that the industry has not been forced to clearly identify its point of difference in order to succeed. In many cases, growth has continued to increase unaided by brand. Over time, this has resulted in an industry that could be viewed as inward-facing, less customer-facing, and lacking the brand innovation and speed of response to excel in today’s rapidly changing financial services marketplace.
What this means is that forward-thinking financial services organisations have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition by investing in developing a strong brand. This opportunity is, however, time-critical, and as the market gradually begins to mature in the wake of the global financial crisis, those who fail to innovate will fall behind.
However, before launching into a comprehensive rebrand you need to understand the business problem you are trying to solve, and realistically assess if a rebrand can effectively address your challenges.
The following list offers a range of signals that it could be time for your organisation to review its brand:
- Are you looking for a way to accelerate growth and lead your organisation forward?
- Have you merged with another organisation or been acquired by another organisation?
- Have you acquired a significant new asset?
- Have you introduced a game-changing new product or service?
- Are you developing a new strategy that will change the direction of your organisation?
- Do you need to introduce your services to an important new audience?
- Have you been involved in a damaging or controversial situation that will impact your brand?
- Has it been more than 5 years since you reviewed your brand to check it was still relevant?
- Has it been more than 10 years since you refreshed your brand or rebranded your organisation?
- Have you been exposed to trademarking or legal issues?
- Is a new competitor threatening your market position?
- Does your brand tell the wrong, or an out dated story?
- Do you struggle to recruit the industry’s top talent?
If two or more of the descriptions above apply to your business, that is a decisive indicator that it is time for your organisation to rebrand. If your situation doesn’t appear in the list, consider if a rebrand is truly the best solution to take your organisation forward.
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BrandMatters has developed a comprehensive resource to help business leaders and senior marketers link business strategy and brand. The Guide to Financial Services Rebranding identifies when a rebrand would be strategically advantageous, and what is involved in the rebranding process. To download your copy of The Guide today, click on the link below.