Marketing brand loyalty

Mike Richards

If your washing machines decides to break down you will, no doubt, be forced, unless you wish to emulate Queen Elizabeth I and was annually, to get yourself down to your nearest Curry’s.

Upon your arrival and having parked up and found where the white goods are housed you will be confronted with a selection of choices.  You will have a good idea what your needs are: spin speed, load size, colour (if you don’t want your white goods to be white), price and finally brand

Will you choose Samsung (they’ve sponsored various football clubs and your phone may be made by them – not that you’re expecting your washing machine to send photos)? Bosch (you can’t go wrong with German engineering and hails from the same city which brought you Mercedes)? Or the washing machine, slightly away from the others, which is possibly cheaper and made by Planet Tharg – a company you don’t think you’ve heard of (because you haven’t).

In November 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority produced their interim report into the study of the asset management market.  Within this report is a chapter on “how do investors choose between asset managers?”

The report highlights three main factors behind this decision of choice: past performance (you’d had your Bosch before and it never let you down); charges (the Bosch comes within your budget) and reputation(you’ve never heard of Planet Tharg, but you’ve seen ads for Bosch, Hotpoint, Zanussi, so deep in your sub-conscious you know these are brands you can trust and won’t let you down).

With washing machines you have a choice of about ten brands;in asset management there are nearer 110. How do you achieve cut through and develop a propensity to be bought?  If you’re an asset management division within a bank or an insurer you have high street distribution; if you’re not, you’re already on the back foot.

TV remains the best way to create and maintain brand awareness.  

However, with only 4% of the UK population owning unit trusts, 1% investment trusts, no one asset manager is prepared (quite rightly)to educate the masses into owning equity investments.  Whilst TV can now be bought cheaply given the proliferation of TV channels in the UK, production costs would be prohibitive still to do it properly.  

Out of home (OOH) is used more and more by asset managers(again, quite rightly).  Sophisticated research owned by the OOH contractors can take your target audience and pinpoint which stations (if you’re using transport advertising) are the most relevant to use, therefore, a campaign can be built without too much wastage.  OOH isn’t cheap, but it is the second-best branding medium after TV. Years ago, one would have to take posters for one-month – it would take in account getting them up, keeping them up (using the correct glue) and then taking them down for the next campaign to be installed.  So many sites now are digital, so not only can the messaging be displayed immediately, it can also be changed – time of day, type of weather, direction of traffic.

The decline (although this decline seems to have been arrested) in the personal finance media remains a small battleground, but is not creating numbers to create brand awareness. Aside from these hobbyist magazines, the national press remains one of the few media which still has sympathetic editorial: The Daily Telegraph’s Your Money, FT Money and now, over thirty years in existence, the Daily Mail’s Money Mail.   If affordable within a marketing budget, this is the high street distribution for many asset managers.  Also, brands like the Telegraph, the FT (and say what you will about it) the Mail have a reputation and there is loyalty within their respective readerships.  By association, asset managers can grow their reputation through these established and reputable brands, thus gaining the confidence of the prospective buyer/investor; this is called the halo effect.

Advertising to the consumer also helps the adviser.  It makes their job easier if the company he or she is trying to sell pops up in the client’s mind as something they’ve read in the Telegraph or seen on the concourse at Waterloo Station.  It gives the asset manager a greater chance. Because no one’s going to buy Planet Tharg Unit Trusts – unless Neil Woodford moves there.

Mike Richards, founder of Capital City Media
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