Covid 19 : A brief window when financial services can build consumer trust.

29th June 2020

Trust is the lifeblood of the financial services industry, without it why would any consumer touch a brand?  Convincing people that they can trust you and your services has never been more important.

Could your brand convince someone to take a leap of faith … would they trust you this much?

Using video to convince consumers to take the leap and trust that you will catch them is the subject of this blog. Along the way, we’ll also be exploring principles of effective video that can be applied to any comms project you may have coming up

If you work in financial services, you certainly don’t need me to explain how consumer trust in the sector was at an all-time low in 2010, nor that the recovery in trust has been slower than the industry would like. But consumer trust is vital to the financial sector, so how do brands build it and keep it? I put forward that we are at a unique moment in time. A time when the public is open to accepting change. A time in which Covid-19 has reset huge parts of public and private life, and it has, if not wiped slates clean, at least allowed a bit more space to write new messages. For me, as a video marketer this is a time in which the financial services industry has as an opportunity to improve consumer trust.


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It’s not just that consumers are open to a new level of conversation, reaching people is currently cheap. We are in a golden window where fewer brands are advertising so the costs per clicks are low, and people are watching more so the audience is bigger. As the world unlocks this window is closing rapidly, but we are still in it.  And it’s not just online – if you’ve ever thought about reaching an audience on national TV now is the time to do it.  Media is incredibly cheap in almost all sectors, and one national broadcaster is even running an offer where airtime is half price to brands that haven’t advertised before.

So the audience is out there, now we just need to figure out what to say.   When CV19 hit, we saw banks, mortgage providers, credit card companies and insurers respond to what was dubbed the “new normal” – some nailed it, others didn’t but at least they adapted and tried.  Personally, I found that as this financial marketing information started to arrive in my inbox, it came slowest from my bank, mortgage lender, life insurer, and my investment platform. But when it did arrive it was solid, well-meaning and genuinely helpful.  I’ve also noticed which of those brands hasn’t done anything beyond an initial virtue signal to say that they cared.  The brands I remember are the ones that have maintained a conversation.

But, beyond anecdotes, what should brands be doing in content now? For this, we can look to recent research from Edelman into what kind of messaging is resonating with audiences

  • 83% want brands to help them stay emotionally connected with people they know.
  • 84% would like to see brands use social media channels to foster community
  • 89% want to understand exactly how a brand they use is supporting employees and customers while 
  • 88% expect clear details on how they can best access its products and services. 
  • 61% say simply hearing from a company about what it’s doing in response to the pandemic is comforting and reassuring.
  • 77% only want brands to talk about products in ways that show they’re aware of the impact it’s having on people’s lives 
  • 57% are calling on them to stop any advertising or marketing that is humorous or too light-hearted in tone.

You can see from this that popular content can be summarised as informative and human. This is the time to get the CEO out from behind his desk and into a real place talking about real things!

For me, building trust with video comes down to:

  • Demonstrating empathy and compassion
  • Being accessible and human
  • Displaying honesty
  • Being present with help and support
  • Connecting with the appropriate emotions for the time in which we live.  This is the time for brands to solve, not to sell

How financial services can build trust and grow their brand with corporate video is a question too big for a single blog (I’ve literally written a book on it) so I’m going to focus on one area from the list above and explore … which emotional drivers in video can be used to connect and build trust.

I’ve written a detailed blog on why emotional drivers work to drive behaviour change, with research into blood chemistry and an outline of the psychology behind it.  For a quicker read, here is a range of positive and negative emotions that people may be feeling at the moment in particular, and around financial services generally. Which of these could you use to connect with your audience?

Negative emotional drivers for use in financial services videos

  • Uncertainty
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Feeling of Ignorance
  • Helplessness
  • Nervousness
  • Overwhelmed / Overworked
  • FOMO
  • Aware of missing out on home life
  • Fear of fraud

Positive emotional drivers for use in financial services videos

  • Looking at new ways of doing things
  • Keen to find an opportunity
  • Community
  • Family & friends
  • Enjoying time to learn

Examples of emotional financial services videos

For some inspiration, let’s look at how some other brands have used emotional drivers in their promotional videos to drive trust.  We can start by taking a look at Xero, and their use of a positive, have your life back / spend time with your family driver.

Next. A really nice film from Barclays that takes the negative emotional driver of fear, and turns it on its head, into a positive spin proving that the bank is there to support customers.

As a final example of emotional drivers in financial services video here’s a film that I like to show at conferences, especially at B2B events if I’m challenged by delegates that their product is way to dry to ever have an emotion attached to it.  It’s a film by Taulia, who have a very dull electronic invoice software product but they’ve found a driver to get people interested and has some fun along the way.

So there we have it, Financial services brands have a unique opportunity to gain trust through their communications in the time of Covid 19.  Keep things authentic, drop the corporate mask, be helpful and reflect the genuine emotions of your audience, and above all, keep doing it and don’t stop now.

As a little end of blog bonus, who not watch the first-ever TV ad for financial services, just revel in the simple times when we didn’t need to worry about emotional connections of deep understanding, we could just say what the thing actually did!


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Do you have any questions about building consumer trust in your financial service brand marketing, or how to how to use emotion to engage with your audience?

If so, please get in touch. Our finance marketing team will be happy to help.

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