The economic recession that began in 2008 has changed the way that financial services companies represent their brand. In an effort to re-establish trust and confidence with their customers, providers have dramatically reduced the use of imagery and messaging depicting aspiration and conspicuous wealth. Here are five of the main design trends.
1. Focus on Women
Since women are now frequently the primary money-makers and financial decision makers in the their households, it makes sense to focus on women. However, the stereotypical images of shopping bags and pink items have been replaced by images featuring contemporary females shown looking empowered who balance many different roles.
2. Surprising Shots
Financial imagery has become less literal with the use of unexpected, bold and artful images to illustrate classic concepts and help campaigns stand out. The pictures might be unusual, but they help change the perception that financial conversations have to be dull.
3. The New Wealth
People are reassessing what wealth really means to them. The accumulation of possessions is being replaced by the idea of having new experiences. Messaging is focused around living life with meaning and appreciating the basics: security, health, relationships, and personal achievements. Images emphasize the simple things in life and reflect what we love and value – moments and people.
4. Small Business
Over the past years, there has been an increased interest in small business imagery, especially in financial services marketing. Small businesses are incredibly important to the economy as they hire the bulk of the workforce, account for a key part of production and are the source of innovation and creativity. Entrepreneurship is becoming a much admired character trait and many people aspire to own their own business one day. Small business photography emphasizes the strong concepts of honesty, passion and determination.
5. Corporate Responsibility
As an industry, financial services lost consumer trust over recent years. According to the Edelman 2012 Trust Barometer, ‘listening to customers needs’, ‘treating employees well’, as well as ‘having ethical business practices’ are considered more important in rebuilding trust than ‘delivering consistent financial returns’. Many financial service brands are starting or supporting projects, which go beyond campaigns and are set-up for the long term to demonstrate their responsibility for local businesses, communities and the environment.
Curve by Getty Images, 2013