Is lifestyle banking the future of financial services?


Banking on a Lifestyle: three ways to communicate the shift

In recent years, banks have begun accompanying us into areas of our lives previously uncharted by the financial services sector. Going for a coffee with a friend? Make sure you get cashback rewards with your bank. Hooked on a new TV series? Get some free months of streaming with your bank. Booking a holiday? Get cheaper prices if you book with your bank.

FinTechs in particular are enabling people to bank based on their lifestyles. Challengers have clocked on to the fact that university students, for example, don’t want good quality pension plans yet…they want 50% off pizza. They’ve adopted a customer-centric model that allows different people to make more of their money at different stages of their lives.

Lifestyle banking is making waves in the industry: legacy banks now realise they need to get a move on and learn from this approach, while FinTechs need to up their game in the face of rising competition.

So how should banks and FinTechs alike communicate this lifestyle-led approach? Particularly when we’ve seen some real bloopers in this area recently…

  1. Moving from product to purpose

Firstly, it’s about moving away from product-focused messaging. While this might lie at its core, simple product-centred communications alone fail to win over the hearts and minds of consumers. Banks and FinTechs’ communications must appeal to customers on more than just a transactional basis when it comes to lifestyle banking, spelling out the benefits that their services bring to consumers. How much could they save by dining at a particular restaurant? What cashback might they be entitled to by buying their next pair of trainers at a specific store? It’s the answers to these kinds of questions that should be at the heart of a brand’s communications.

  1. Addressing authentically

Players in the space must avoid offering customers lifestyle perks simply for the sake of it or trying to tackle sensitive issues that only result in offended consumers. ESG is a prime example. Our last Authenticity Gap study found that 75% of industries are failing to meet consumer expectations when it comes to caring for the environment. Therefore, before communicating – or even implementing – an additional offer that addresses a topic such as the environment, consider how it will land with an audience that feels passionate about this. Communicating that you’ll offer cashback when buying from a sustainable retailer won’t cut it if this additional perk doesn’t truly drive change.

  1. Proactive and reactive

If done well, moving from simply offering financial products to becoming engrained in more aspects of a consumer’s life will see banks and FinTechs become much more of a partner to their users. But for more established banks, this is a shift in approach and communicating this might result in questions from these customers. And for FinTechs who have based their offering on this strategy, they will have superior levels of customer service to live up to. As such, being proactive in communications is key, but being reactive to customer enquiries is arguably even more so. There’s no point offering a lifestyle-led perk if a customer can’t engage with it if they have a question.

The blurring between banking and lifestyle is only set to continue, but FinTechs and established banks alike both need to be addressing this in the same way. Considering these three key areas will be crucial in communicating this shift. Who knows, could our bank become our best friend?

Angus Guironnet, Technology

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