Last week, Vested hosted our final Breakfast & Brainfood event of 2022. The scene was Christmassy and the food was great, but the company and conversation were even better.
We brought together practitioners from across the breadth of financial services to discuss findings from the third Financial Narrative, Financial Marketers’ Index. The study explores the perspectives of financial services marketing and communications leaders from around the world. The focus of the event was to share key learnings from 2022 and look ahead to the challenges and opportunities we expect to face in 2023.
2022 was a year of extreme volatility, with external pressures hitting markets, companies, countries and individuals hard. War in Ukraine, the energy crisis, the climate tipping point, and cost of living crisis have increased consumer sckepticism. It is expected that 2023 will see many of these pressures continue. As a result of these external factors, the discussion around the breakfast table focused on three key areas as crucial to driving success for communicators during unpredictable times: trust, authenticity and the need to remain positive.
Trust as the foundation
Trust has always been an integral part of why consumers pick a brand, and recent black swan events have highlighted the importance of remembering why. Trust is an emotion that takes a long time to build, but can be lost instantly. The communications and marketing professionals involved in the discussion all agreed that being conscious of how to build and maintain trust will be an essential part of planning for 2023.
For marketers, the challenge is communicating efficiently, effectively and in a way that builds the trust needed to retain your existing customers and attract new ones. This all comes down to clear communication that breaks through the echo chamber. Customers want brands to help them through hard times in relevant ways and with empathy. Striking that balance is an opportunity for brands in 2023.
As well as highlighting the need to build trust, 2022 reminded us that authenticity is vital in an ever-changing environment. Topics such as ESG, DE&I and others have come under increased scrutiny, and a rise in opposition to each has gained momentum. When a movement such as ESG reaches such a tipping point, brands have to decide whether to truly embrace the change needed to be involved or not. If companies are going to be at the forefront of change, they need to ensure they are backing up their words with tangible action.
Remaining true to your authentic self is something that has been a focus for individuals for a few years, but 2023 will be the year that companies either embrace this or risk falling behind. Consumers will call out those that do not back up their claims – the danger of being ‘cancelled’ should not be underestimated.
It is important to remember that hard times don’t last forever. 2023 will see the UK face a recession, and both marketing and communications teams (and companies more broadly) need to prepare, but the consensus around the table was that we should not lose our heads. Marketing and communications have a huge role to play by considering the rhetoric around challenging times. At points, there are opportunities to focus on communicating more positive and uplifting messages that support audiences, clients and customers to get through their challenges and difficulties.
As 2022 draws to a close, the marketing and communications professionals debating and discussing the opportunities and trends for 2023 felt that focusing on building trust, retaining authenticity and remaining positive would ensure success. To read more about the Financial Marketers Index click here.