Branding and brand development through direct marketing in the consumer financial services sector: FINDINGS Aim 2

Aim 2: Evaluating financial services DM branding against brand-building and relational models The findings are evaluated under five headings condensing dimensions from the two brand-building models described in the literature review. Whereas the original intention was to consider the relational dimension of branding separately under the bonded level of the Brand Dynamics Pyramid, this dimension has been integrated into analysis of other brand-strength components, to reflect how interviewees wove the relational aspects of branding inextricably into their discussion of other key brand-building components. Emotional warmth in financial services branding, which was debated separately, is discussed instead under the bonded heading. ‘I think that a brand is a set of values that people can believe — that people feel are relevant to them’ (DM agency). Agencies often expressed concern that mainly transactional or financial data about customers is too limited to yield brand relevance. Interviewees maintained that only small amounts of data were needed for ‘dropping into’ DM in order to make it more relevant. Relevance’s role was defined for branding in direct marketing as including a relational role. ‘that it recognises that they are a loyal customer and demonstrates that we, as a company, or the brand, know who they are and their importance’. (DM brand- building judge) This is similar to both Barnes’ (1997) ‘cared for’ dimension for relationship closeness and Fournier’s (1998) ‘cared for’ component of brand-partner quality, identified by her as ‘a felt positive orientation of the brand towards the consumer (eg making the consumer feel wanted, respected listened to and cared for).’ Recommendations for increasing relevance are given in the first section of the Appendix with details of the following good practice examples: researching non- responsive DM recipients (LandRover); developing customer acknowledgement systems (Citibank); acquiring data (TSB) and tailoring DM; discrete targeting in order to avoid alienating other important customer segments (Barclaycard’s differential marketing approach, Tesco’s segmented database and Diet Coke’s adaptation of an above-the-line campaign for a youth market). Meeting or surpassing customer expectations is thought, by those interviewed, to influence brand loyalty to some extent. The downside of this, in view of so many brand extensions expanding into financial services, is that a brand changing from a ‘warm and friendly’ building society, like Bristol & West, into a bank, which can ‘close people’s accounts, turn people down for loans’ (DM agency), could cause inconsistencies and lack of credibility in positioning. Apart from First Direct, Goldfish and Barclaycard, some interviewees claimed more segmentation could be done to achieve differentiation, ‘their products are regarded as being commodities, but they’ve done nothing to try and differentiate themselves in terms of being brands’ (DM brand-building judge). Larger brands were defended by agencies on the basis of size of their target market compared with more clearly branded but niche players. ‘You’ve got to bear in mind that Barclaycard has nine million customers, whereas for American Express GoldCard you’re talking a few thousand . . . and First Direct are relatively small; it’s a niche market compared with NatWest or Barclays.’ (DM agency) Choosing a financial services brand for comfort and reasssurance was a recurring theme throughout the interviews. ‘If they have a choice, they will choose, normally, what feels comfortable.’ (DM agency) ‘A large proportion will buy a name they think they can trust but that’s because of the brand, not the product. Like Commercial Union’s ”We won’t make a drama out of a crisis”. That was very nice, very comforting.’ (DM agency) One interviewee qualified this statement by saying that trust might equally come as a result of contact with a particular person who represented the brand values, rather than through the brand’s reputation. ‘They might buy it from somebody, emotionally that they feel comfortable with’ (DM agency).

Representative APR 391%

Let's say you want to borrow $100 for two week. Lender can charge you $15 for borrowing $100 for two weeks. You will need to return $115 to the lender at the end of 2 weeks. The cost of the $100 loan is a $15 finance charge and an annual percentage rate of 391 percent. If you decide to roll over the loan for another two weeks, lender can charge you another $15. If you roll-over the loan three times, the finance charge would climb to $60 to borrow the $100.

Implications of Non-payment: Some lenders in our network may automatically roll over your existing loan for another two weeks if you don't pay back the loan on time. Fees for renewing the loan range from lender to lender. Most of the time these fees equal the fees you paid to get the initial payday loan. We ask lenders in our network to follow legal and ethical collection practices set by industry associations and government agencies. Non-payment of a payday loan might negatively effect your credit history.

Calculate APR