Mark Adams, Head of Innovation at VICE, thought leadership

Retail Financial Services


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It’s time to face up to some facts.
We’re living in an era of crisis, in a volatile uncertain and combustible world. The main victim of all this? One of the most fundamental principles of any working communication model - that principle is: Trust.

When trust leaves (as many an ex-girlfriend once told me) the relationship drops to zero.

Nowhere is this lack of trust more clear than in the world of finance and financial institutions, the scale of the mistrust that millennials have for these organizations is absolutely staggering and the only reason these organizations still stand is because there has traditionally been no viable alternative. But the rise of block chain currencies and new market entries such as Atom Bank are coming.

At Vice we commission a lot of millennial research and when we started looking into the financial world the results were absolutely shocking. We found young people feel completely alienated from the financial conversation - no matter how many times you tell them what the APR on a loan is, they  1) don’t care and 2) don’t even know what APR stands for. The disconnection between what people in boardrooms at financial institutions believe they are saying and what is actually being heard is vast.

Now we are in a fight to the death, a fight to survival. Every bank is trying to connect with the next generation of consumers. This generation will be the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the planet. So those banks who can successfully bridge this communications gap will exponentially win, and those who can’t will suffer.

Banks have put themselves in these situations so now it’s up to them to get out of it. Pretending it’s business as usual won’t work.

At the same time there are massively exciting developments within finance and financial comms models. At Vice we’ve had the pleasure of working with UBS to create one of the most successful branded content platforms that the finance world has seen. Through UNLIMITED, UBS has reached out beyond the boardroom BS and obsession with financial products and got back into the conversation with young people. UBS and Vice have won their trust by talking about the things that young people are passionate about.

So there really is all to play for and the winner will take everything. It is utterly essential to remember the lifetime value of the consumer in banking is worth a phenomenal amount. Banks need to invest now to hedge against a very volatile future. In this future, trust which is the same thing as BRAND, will matter more than ever.

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