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Bank brands must get closer to their customers' needs

Bank brands must get closer to their customers' needs

As the world emerges from the economic crisis, banking brands need to be more aware of the values and aspirations of their customers, according to speakers at the launch in London of the BrandFinance® Banking 500 – an annual review of the top banking brands in the world published in conjunction with The Banker.

Speaking at the event at London’s Cass Business School, Tracy Britton, Group Head of Marketing at HSBC, which retained its place in the survey as the world’s most valuable banking brand for a third year in a row, commented:

“Brands matter a lot. They evolve but they always have to be relevant, differentiated and true. We are delighted that our brand is in a leadership position and that is through recognising that the world is changing at an exponential rate with most consumers now seeing themselves as global citizens.”

“Brand valuation is a tool that enables you to make decisions, notably how to improve the value of your brand through more effective marketing,” explained David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, introducing the survey.

“We are at a point where developing world banks, like developing world products, will become increasingly acceptable in developed world countries. These banks, as our survey reflects, will increasingly be looking to move into developed world markets to sell their products there.”

In the survey, Santander was named as the world’s fastest growing retail bank brand. Their Head of Marketing and Branding, Maria Sanchez del Corral Usaola, who flew in from Madrid to speak, said that their single brand reinforced a perception of strength and was helping Santander to attract new customers and build loyalty.

“You would not believe how proud we are with where we are in this survey,” she told the audience. “Five years ago, to stand here representing the fastest growing retail banking brand would have been just a dream.”

One finding of the survey is that established bank brands, particularly in the UK and the US, may now be at risk of a challenge from new players entering the market. Representing one such new player, Metro Bank, which will soon become the UK’s first new high street bank for 150 years, Chairman Anthony Thomson said:

“For us, it’s not going to be about competing on rate with the established banks. Our mindset is that of a retailer. We just happen to be a retailer of banking services. Our proposition is all geared to enhancing the customer experience.”

The Brand Finance Banking 500 reveals tangible signs of recovery, with the world’s 500 most valuable banking groups growing by 62% in terms of market capitalisation and their brand values cumulatively increasing by 49%. The report measures companies by both brand strength and brand value as of 31st December 2009.

The BrandFinance® Banking 500 rankings also track the rise of banking brands from emerging markets.  Middle Eastern brands, and most particularly in the GCC states, revealed a strong performance increasing in brand value by 78%. This is a reflection of buoyant oil and gas receipts underpinning many Middle East economies and the growth of Islamic banking. However, the South American region experienced the highest growth in brand value increasing by 84%. This is a reflection of the resilient performance in the region, particularly in the Brazilian banking market.

US dominance of the global banking industry has declined with a decrease in the number of US banks in the Global Top 500 down from 95 in 2008 to 85 in 2009. Although US bank brands recovered during 2009 the overall increase in brand value was only 29%.

 Whilst the number of European banks in the Global 500 has increased from 174 to 197, the number of UK banks has fallen from 24 to 22. This suggests that recovery in continental Europe – most particularly in France, Spain and Switzerland – has left British banks behind. European bank brands have recovered significantly growing their brand value in aggregate by 67%.

Asian markets continue to do well but grew by only 31% in brand value because Japanese brand values declined by 3% reflecting the continued instability of the Japanese market. By contrast India and China saw brand value growth by 137% and 58% respectively.

2009 is also the first year that a Russian bank – Sberbank – has made the Top 20 (No.15), with significant growth of 160% on the previous year, bringing its market capitalisation to US$51.1bn and its brand value to US$11.7bn.

Banks in the Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, have seen a recovery with growth of 58%.


Media Information:

Teamspirit Public Relations
Howard Robinson
M:  07702 153537

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