Still Not Connecting

Felix Thomson

Content Executive

The Financial Services Forum

Banks have spent billions in recent years in marketing and advertising themselves around the world, yet despite this – or perhaps in some cases because of it – customers are still confused about who’s who. Allyson Stewart-Allen relates the sorry tale.
More than one in four British consumers believe the Deutsche Bank logo belongs to HSBC. Only four in ten UK consumers are able to identify correctly the HBOS logo, with 36% suggesting that it belongs to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). And the RBS logo has higher recognition with consumers in Spain, Japan, France, Germany and Italy than in its British home market.
These findings are taken from the Stewart-Allen/GMI Brand Barometer™, a worldwide panel of over 15,500 consumers surveyed on their perceptions and direct experiences of a selection of American and European household names in financial services.
Many interesting findings emerge about the brand perceptions and brand consistency in these international markets. It can be seen from Figure 1, for example, that although HSBC claims consistently to be “the world’s local bank”, it is RBS that the panel associates most strongly with being “local”.
JP Morgan is seen in both America and Britain as being influential and individualistic, and it is probably neither surprising nor worrying that it is also thought to be “limited” in the UK. But in Italy it is rated as common and cold – if still influential.
In America, GMAC’s top two attributes are common and influential, whilst in Britain it is rated as limited and insignificant.
When panellists were asked to identify the country of origin of each brand, and then indicate whether this heritage makes them think more or less favourably of it, their American origins appeared to be liabilities for GMAC, American Express and Merrill Lynch in Europe. More UK and French respondents found GMAC’s American heritage made them think less favourably of the brand, as did British and German consumers for American Express. For Merrill Lynch, panellists in all three countries rated the brand less favourably.
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