Defining the starting the line

There was a time when building a brand was all about awareness. If your brand had the budget to dominate the above-the-line channels, top-of-mind awareness would follow. Times have changed. The age of self curation means that consumers have the power to assign their own priorities and block out everything else as white noise. Netflix and Spotify have paved the way, allowing us to embrace totally personalised experiences. Now, awareness plays distant fiddle to engagement.

Self-curation in financial services is still a distant horizon, so the vessels and currents that may leads us there not totally defined. But the place of awareness is still something that warrants attention. Is it worth trying to build awareness of a brand, if the intended users do not understand the products and solutions?

Watching consumers trying to decipher client facing communications is always sobering. Handing them a product page strewn with ambiguous terms such as “tracker”, “active”, “income” as product descriptors. Knowing that indecision and apathy is just one compliance-riddled statement away. Its clear that not challenging our processes and hoping benefit of the doubt will still lead to an increase in flows is woefully illogical. Especially when the people we are failing to resonate with, are square in the middle of our target retail demographic.


The chart above shows the significant gaps in awareness and understanding. Understandably, there is diminishing awareness and understanding of technical language, but even broad headline terms like equity and bonds registered the highest discrepancies. If you market an equity income fund, does your marketing, brand and communications ROI factor in that only 12% of investors would be comfortable to explain what this was to a friend.

At our recent quarterly segmentation breakfast deep dive, we looked at how savers and investors differ in their starting points, and how this affects their expectations and requirements when considering a new investment?

Universally, savers and investors seek guidance when researching an investment, but they begin this journey from different starting points. Savers look for familiarity using sources they understand and trust as anchor points. Investors tend to have an idea of what they need, but still need guidance on if what they are choosing is right for them. Consumers may want choice, but without understanding the criteria that separates one option from another, savers and investors alike can be easily overwhelmed.

As the robo hype continues, flows continue to find their way into solutions and multi-asset products, we have evidence that even experienced investors are realising that choice can be a poisoned and complex chalice.

Our quarterly consumer reports can be purchased for £2,000 – our latest report dives into how people choose investments, contains quantitative research with over 2,000 adults, two in-depth qualitative focus groups, and provides detailed insights and data into the difference between savers and investors.

Contact Carmel for details. 

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