Consumer Opinions Are Changing Rapidly – How Financial Services Can Stay Ahead

With the normalization of technology in the form of the smartphone, there is huge consumer demand to manage all aspects of modern life via a portable screen, from shopping and travel to banking, finance and money transfers. Seeing this trend emerge, rapidly evolving challenger banks and financial institutions have quickly capitalized on the attention of digital native consumers.

Slower incumbents did not have the same scan rate; whether this is due to reliance on existing market share or the presence of legacy technologies in their infrastructure is highly debatable. But, given the irresistible pressure from consumers for easy financial management, even the old institutions are adapting. In short, business transformation is digital transformation, and both are 100% necessary to attract and retain consumers and businesses as customers of the financial industry.

Over the past couple of years, the strain of the enforced lockdown and huge economic disruptions have changed many aspects of the financial lives of individuals and businesses. According to research by digital consumer intelligence firm Brandwatch, levels of online conversation about spending have remained relatively high over the past two years, but levels of interest in payment methods have shifted – more of using short-term digital credit like Klarna and other installment payment facilities, for example. Conversely, cash outlays have decreased, as have amounts saved.

See more information from the Brandwatch report here.

There are plenty of fairly clear causes and effects in many of these trends, but a common long-term effect of the internet and the democratization of data it brings has been the way brand messages, products, opportunities and trends were disseminated. From headquarters around the world, marketing departments spread their messages across social platforms and inspire, encourage (and reward) others to do the same. But consumers and users of brand products and services speak just as loudly, and often louder.

There’s a lot to learn by listening to what consumers are discussing publicly online. Businesses can spot emerging behavioral trends and new audiences interested in particular financial choices. This is essential information for the growth strategy of any financial company. For example, social intelligence firm Brandwatch reported the growing interest in casual investing:

NOTICE onlineView Brandwatch’s full report on Consumer Credit Trends here.

Social listening platforms have historically been deployed by companies that to know they must respond to the opinion, needs and growing expectations of consumers. The challenge for these legacy digital intelligence platforms is to gather meaningful data in real time, from an ever-changing choice of platforms and opinion sources.

For example, Brandwatch is a leading solution used by many of the world’s biggest brands – including financial giants such as Standard Chartered – for reliable, real-time monitoring and analysis of brand health, reputation of the company, trends in consumer attitudes and behavior, campaign performance, and competitor activities.

A recent Brandwatch analysis of how consumers talk about their experiences with brands across different industries reveals a mixed picture for the financial services industry. Companies that dig into the online conversation can better understand their strengths and weaknesses:

Online reviews

Here’s an example of a case study showing how a financial services brand benefits from Brandwatch’s platform and insights.

Why is real-time consumer sentiment analysis important? The answer is that rankings and reputation are fluid, move quickly, and are driven more by customer opinion than any brand marketing activity. Take as a simple example the search results for “Best Insurance Provider” on the Google.com homepage. Companies that rank highly do so because of the closed box of Google’s algorithms.

When a business loses popularity for some reason, its website will receive fewer visits. Soon after, the company will slide down the Google search results page. Why? Because Google ranks on popularity, among other factors. These changes occur within seconds and the effects seem almost exponential.

There are far more places consumers and businesses go to research and compare financial products than this single Google page, of course, but comparison sites, aggregator apps and review portals all apply same types of algorithms to the companies that populate their pages. Once a company’s online reputation deteriorates or it fails to respond to an emerging trend or brand crisis, the effects can snowball across the internet. Likewise, the same processes can propel an unknown fintech startup up there to go side-by-side with known vendors.

The ways people and businesses express themselves and their values ​​online are constantly changing based on tastes, trends, geography and cultural shifts. But what’s different in 2022 is how quickly companies need to react to these expressions. Your digital consumer intelligence platform must be able to collect relevant data about consumer conversations and opinions, quickly segment and analyze it, make sense of the data, and deliver actionable insights in the right format to consumers. good decision makers. To stand a chance of being first to market and ahead of competitors, businesses need a fast, smart solution that delivers cutting-edge AI.

To read Brandwatch’s in-depth analysis of consumer credit trends, go here and learn more about Brandwatch’s digital intelligence platform.

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Stephen V. Lee