A report, produced by UK company Fleishman Hillard, examined ‘the importance of authentic communications and measures the performance of different sectors against our nine drivers of authenticity.’
Called ‘The Authenticity Gap,’ the study looked at consumer’s attitudes to brands within the finance industry and of those located in Canada. A key finding, regardless of industry, was that clients value what a company stands for, their behaviours and their impact on society. This significantly contributes to a person’s perception of the brand or firm more so than the cost of a service.
This means companies offering financial services shouldn’t undervalue the strength of things like a mission statements, community outreach programs and having clear-cut company core goals. Often it’s these components that clients are considering above the cost of said services or the size of your AUM.
Manulife, Sunlife, TD and RBC were among the companies assessed for the study.
Gay Wise, an advisor with Wise Financial Services, highlighted that it doesn’t just help the client to have set values, but the advisors too.
“As a small business owner myself, it helped us to step back and consider who we are and where we want to go as a business.”
Still, a mission statement is something that should be revisited often to remind employees and employers of the path they have chosen, he says, and to evaluate whether it is still applicable or if an adjustment is required.
“A mission statement is a bit like a financial plan; you need it, you need to check in on a regular basis to monitor results, you need to revise it when it is no longer working for you.”
The survey also found that financial institutions globally tended to score low when it came to how a client felt about the brand in terms of communication, transparency, customer care and value for money. This means that expectations aren’t high but, with attention to detail and honesty, it could also mean that such low expectations make it easier for advisors to exceed them.
While clients will always be focussed on their needs and the services a financial firm can offer them, they also look behind the price tag and value what a company stands for and the behaviors it exhibits.