Despite increasing consumer interest in personal financial management, less than one-fifth of US consumers know anything about leading financial brands, according to recent research from Ipsos Insight.
The study also found that women lag behind their male counterparts: an average of only one in six American women is familiar with major financial services brands, even though women have improved their financial independence.
According to Doug Cottings, senior vice president of Ipsos Insight's Financial Services Practice, "Overall familiarity with key financial brands is surprisingly low, particularly given the marketing efforts of the big players."
Cottings also noted that, with the current "one size fits all" mindset that seems to dominate the industry, the financial services sector has yet to really connect with important segments such as women, young consumers, and many middle income families.
Brand awareness by age
The research found that as consumers age there is a natural progression of familiarity with financial services brands; older consumers are more conscious of key brands.
"Despite the financial services industry's focus on the Baby Boomer market, the survey revealed that most aren't familiar with the range of financial services brands until after retirement age. By then, most consumers have made their most important financial decisions," said Cottings.
Indeed, it seems there is a real opportunity for the financial community to build brand awareness in the younger market, including the Baby Boomers that have yet to retire. (For trends involving the Baby Boomer demographic, also see The retail tide that's about to change - 24 Oct. 2005.)
Brand awareness by income
Income is also a significant factor in determining the familiarity of brands in financial services: customers with household incomes around US$100,000 per year have the strongest knowledge of major financial brands.
Ipsos suggests that, to sustain long-term growth, the industry should focus on "power branding" in different demographic and sociographic segments of the population.
Despite the fact that most financial companies target the expected audience (male, mature, and wealthy), those companies should also note the potential in younger generations, especially females who are financially successful, independent, and more conscious of their financial health.
The survey was conducted via Ipsos US Express (a weekly national omnibus survey), and fieldwork was conducted between June 30th and July 18th 2005. The survey was based on 2,687 telephone surveys with adults (aged 18 or over) across the USA.