A brave new world: branding in fi nancial services
The fi nancial services sector worldwide still resonates from the global fi nancial crisis of 2008 after which major brands suffered severe damage to their reputations. If the reckless lending practices of well-known brands were not enough, further revelations about money laundering, rate fi xing and misselling continue to emerge. The news of these misdeeds has led to high levels of distrust among stakeholders of fi nancial institutions (FIs). Many FIs are heavy investors in branding but, as a result of their own corporate misdeeds or those of their competitors, many brands have tarnished reputations. Although it may be tempting to blame this situation purely on malpractice, we argue that this is a good opportunity to assess branding in fi nancial services as a whole. Were FI brands in a healthy position before the crises and on-going revelations? Did customers fi nd the messages in the communication of brands consistent with their experience? Complaint columns, media analysis and fi nancial blogs suggest that the customer experience was not always consistent with brand communications.