This trend will have legs, Bhargava predicts. That said, it’s one thing to frequent CVS to reward its historic decision to stop selling tobacco products in 2015 because you believe in its healthful mission. But it’s a whole other to ask people to take the time off from work to go to their bank, fill out a million forms, reroute automatic payments, and transfer accounts and money.
“Is [purpose] the reason why people switch banks?” asks Bhargava. “Not yet—but I think that there’s a huge aspect of that for the people who are starting banking relationships. Think how important the college audience has been for a long, long time for banks. Because they know once you get them at that age, that they tend to keep their accounts for decades afterwards.”
Then, there’s a second benefit for financial services: hiring. “Purpose increasingly matters from a recruitment point of view,” says Bhargava. “That’s always been a big challenge for banks because they’re all trying to fight for the top talent. And now that top talent is saying, ‘Hey, what do you believe? What do you stand for? And can I, as an individual, go to my friends and my family and my social network and say I’m working here and feel good about myself? Because if I can’t, then I don’t need to. I’m going to go somewhere else.’”
Fair warning, finserv. Find and communicate your purpose—or get left behind.
The marketing opportunity for financial services brands
Put your money where your purpose is. Purpose is how you ask for trust. Content is how you convert your ask by skillfully explaining the meaning of your purpose and why it benefits the end user. A purpose story told well drives consumer signups and attracts talent. “Sitting on the sidelines is not enough,” writes Bhargava. “Now companies must work to earn consumers’ trust through positive business models, ethical treatment of workers, charitable good deeds, socially responsible sourcing and a daily commitment to purpose along with profit.”
The takeaway: Dig deep, do the work and identify your purpose. Make it authentic. You can’t claim to support a cause and not embed it in how you do business. It’s worth the effort, he says. Financial institutions that do it well will be rewarded.
Rohit Bhargava's latest book, Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future, is out now.
This is the third article of a three-part series on 2020 marketing trends, which also covers Bhargava's outlook on the marketing trends that B2B companies and associations should account for in their marketing strategies over the coming decade.
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