Study: Financial Firms Should Promote Brand Experience

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In response to the volatile economy, many financial services institutions are changing their marketing campaigns to include alarmist messages about the future of the economy, thinking this will help them attract and retain clients.


But according to a study released yesterday by Forrester Research Inc., this type of marketing does not have any effect on the affluent -- those consumers with investable assets of at least $1 million. The firm suggests that companies wanting to attract and attain wealthy clients should breed loyalty and promote a cohesive, relevant brand experience.


Forrester Research said it recently surveyed 2,500 North American affluent households on the state of the economy, the market and technology. It found the millionaires to be confident about the economy and secure in their wealth.


"The bottom line is that retaining customers costs less than acquisition and loyal customers buy more frequently and spend more," said Ekaterina Walsh, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. "Loyal customers are a firm's best acquisition vehicle. One of the top three ways affluent investors learned about their most recently chosen financial provider was through some sort of referral."


Walsh said that to increase loyalty, companies must better understand their customers and their expectations. Customers do not separate their perception of a firm into individual interactions, but lump all their experiences and expectations into an overall impression of the financial institution.


"Affluent clients whose primary financial providers successfully integrate two or more desired services are 25 percent more likely to recommend the firm and 24 percent less likely to leave," Walsh said.


Financial firms should focus on the unique benefits of their services and integrate their delivery based on their target market's expectations.


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