This week, I am in Osaka, Japan, part of the panel “Innotribe Health Index: Accelerating positive re-balancing” that is taking various views on the “health” of the financial services industry.
The panel is part of Sibos, the world’s largest financial services conference, which brings together industry leaders, innovators and disruptors to assess the present and future of financial services.
We are honored to be presenting with luminaries such as John Hagel and proud to showcase our big data approach to evaluating the health of the financial services industry by diving into the performance of global banking brands in social media – a preview of functionality in the Social Business Index (our free site) which will be available to registrants before the year is out.
As part of our second anniversary of the index, we will soon launch free access to brand health indices for key industries. Brands will be able to compare their performance against others using a simple, free interface. To begin, we’ve assembled a presentation with findings on the current state of brand in the financial services industry and presented our findings below.
The financial services industry has fallen behind
Despite pioneering corporate blogging and social customer service, the financial services industry has fallen far behind in social. This is understandable given regulatory pressures, consumer perceptions, and the general conservatism of the industry, but at this point any brand has the opportunity to seize the lead and innovate.
Advocacy and conversation lag other industries
For such an enormous industry that practically every social media user interacts with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis – the level of conversation and passion is miniscule. People are simply not inclined to subscribe to financial services brands in social, plus if they are it is highly unusual for those individuals to interact with brand content or advocate on the brand’s behalf.
Our analysis found that conversation length for FinServ brands (an indicator of engagement) is 30% the levels of wireless companies, and 15% of what is typical for a media company. This indicates that these brands are failing to engage their customers in anything but the most superficial of interactions, and that they are not connecting meaningfully using social channels.
It gets even worse when it comes to advocacy. A financial services firm will typically have just 9% as many advocates as a wireless company, and 2% as many as a media company. These numbers are abysmal and are likely reflective of firms lack of effort in cultivating average consumers as supporters of their brand in digital spaces. Every brand has advocates, but not every brand has advocates who are self-motivated enough to participate online without organization and encouragement. Advocacy is the key to delivering significant brand impact in the social world. Without it financial services brands will continue to struggle in social.
Credit Suisse and Citigroup lead the pack, but no one has put it all together
Of the brands we analyzed, Citigroup and Credit Suisse have the best natural assets to succeed in social, but for very different reasons.
Credit Suisse is an industry leader in the length of conversations occuring across its social accounts. This is an effective indicator for customer interest and the quality of brand tactics for stimulating engagement. In fact, Credit Suisse is the only company across the FinServ competitive set that has levels similar to the more well-known wireless companies. Similarly in terms of advocacy Credit Suisse gets the most value out of each of the advocates it has with more than 95 consumer/brand interactions per advocate conversations in the time period studied.
Citigroup does not garner the kind of advocacy and conversation that Credit Suisse enjoys, but they are leaders in reach and audience size. These two factors are critical assets for social success – without an attainable audience very little else can occur in terms social success. Citigroup has the biggest reach in the industry by far, as well as the most conversations occurring at any given them, and the highest volume of consumer interactions. The quality of conversation is not there yet, but at least there is interest and attention to work with.
Responsiveness is the foundation of success
In trying to determine what matters most for success in the Financial Services industry, we found that brand responsiveness to consumer interactions is absolutely critical. Credit Suisse’s overall advantage in advocacy and engagement from its audience, the critical factor driving their success, appears to be a focus on meaningful interactions`with their audience. While their content does not necessarily drive extreme responsiveness and sharing (in fact Banco Santander does a better job there), and their reach is not the best (we know Citigroup dominates that category), they win flat out on responsiveness. This in turn, drives a significant advantage in mindshare among their consumers.
Want to discuss this deep dive further? Just let us know and we’ll schedule a 1-on-1 conversation.
This post was co-authored with Brian Kotlyar using data provided by David Mastronardi.