Harris Interactive’s recent hi brands® research, which measures brand sustainability, reveals that wealth management/investment providers have greater vitality than many other categories across various sectors, including far outstripping current account and credit card providers, especially in terms of excitement. This means that when it comes to wealth management brands, consumers are more likely to seek out information about them and encourage them to keep in regular contact; they also have a stronger desire to be the first to take out new products and services and fear missing out on the latest offers. This will be encouraging news for those working in investment marketing.
The hi brands® brand sustainability matrix for wealth management/investment providers, new for this latest wave of the study, is shown below with the strong vitality scores represented by the relatively large bubbles on the chart.
Leading the pack in the compelling category (top right) are well-known investment platforms Bestinvest and Hargreaves Lansdown, both of which have not only high present equity and knowledge, but strong future relevance and sustainability – not a surprise to see in our post-RDR world, where these brands are the most likely to be recommended and have enviable levels of trust. However, whilst clearly the draw of platforms is strong for consumers, many of whom are choosing to go down an execution only route, often sceptical of and unprepared to pay for professional financial advice, there are also a collection of more traditional wealth management providers in the compelling category. These include Brewin Dolphin and St. James’ Place Wealth Management, both of which are brands that emphasise their personal service, with Brewin Dolphin’s strong future relevance and vitality perhaps explained by its claim to provide “A helping hand for the next generation” by helping young people get on the housing ladder and build their savings.
Lower in terms of brand equity, sitting more in our challenging segment, and with slightly lower future relevance too, are some of the more traditional investment or corporate banks, including Commerzbank, Schroders, Société Générale and Investec; with strong vitality, these providers are in a good position to progress. In our building quadrant, with less perceived future relevance and vitality than the challengers, are in fact arguably the most established brands, with the biggest global financial services providers sitting here, including UBS, Credit Suisse and Citi.
Completing the hi brands matrix, in the strong quadrant, are the high-street banks of Barclays and HSBC, with high knowledge and equity, but perceived as having very little vitality in the investment space at present. We suspect that Walker Crips, the other provider to make up the strong segment, is struggling with an image problem here, being confused by respondents with a well-known food manufacturer. Mistaken for providing salty snacks, it is the least favoured brand when it comes to managing consumer’s wealth.
The overall high levels of vitality and strong future relevance is good news for brands operating in wealth management and investments. Whilst it is understandable that consumers can more easily see the excitement of a brand when considering the prospect of making money from their money, the sense of brand excitement with consumers seeking interaction and new products and services is something financial services providers could do with emulating when it comes to other aspects of our financial lives, such as managing everyday expenses and buying insurance and protection products. Perhaps brands can also utilise this excitement to encourage more consumers to take out a pension and become more actively involved in preparing for their future retirement.
Georgiana Brown is Associate Director within the Financial Services team. To discuss the hi brands® results or for further information, drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About hi brands®
Harris interactive, together with Aston Business School, has developed hi brands®, a new brand sustainability measurement framework. It comprises five pillars measuring: brand knowledge (awareness and penetration); brand equity (overall brand health); future relevance (how the brand will be evolving); and overall brand vitality, which measures to what extent consumers are excited about the brand (active interest in the brand and offers, as well as anticipation) and brand community (to what extent the brand and consumers interact, and what level of empathy there is amongst people).
 The hi brands® research cited was conducted in February 2017 with 2,000 online nationally representative interviews conducted amongst UK adults aged 18+ within the wealth management category. Brand ratings were collected for brands respondents were familiar with.
 The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) of 2013 saw the introduction of a set of new rules governing the retail investment market, including the abolition of commission in favour of up-front advice fees, and which were designed to ensure more transparency and fairness for consumers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s post-implementation review can be viewed on their website here: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/post-implementation-review-retail-distribution-review