Keeping up with the language of Gen Z can be tough, but here’s a concept any financial services brand can understand: investing over the long term. Brands’ obsession with youth reflects an interest into their future potential as customers, with acquisition and long-term loyalty both being key to playing the long game. So, the principles of making real-life investments—start small, stay consistent and be committed—are key to building lasting ties with Gen Z. But brands won’t get anywhere without first laying a foundation of trust.
Understand the importance of trust.
Market volatility has been a withstanding theme that our entire generation is still learning to grapple with—a concern shared with Gen Z, who in the US identify “level of trust and security” as the top priority when choosing a financial service provider. And while 50-80% of smartphone-owning Gen Z in the US use mobile banking, their preference for mobile and digital service doesn’t mean they’re uninterested in traditional banks. In fact, traditional banks and payments remain more trusted and preferred for Gen Z.
Traditional banking and payment brands already have the trust of Gen Z, but that doesn’t mean there’s little to no work to be done for these brands—especially in light of the recent banking crisis in the US. As we progress through myriad uncertainties—stagflation, rounds of layoffs and more—even the most established names need to stay vigilant. Thankfully, Gen Z has clued us in to what’s important to them: namely the desire of personalization, speed and simplicity of engagement. Delivering on these needs boils down to the fundamental concept of building brand trust, of which social media can play a big part.
Focus on the content that matters most to your audience.
A generation brought up by the internet, more than half of Gen Z seek financial advice online through social media, with TikTok and Instagram having the greatest pull. Roughly two thirds of Gen Z cannot answer more than 50% of general financial literacy questions correctly, meaning content that focuses on areas of financial literacy (and shared through emerging formats) would best benefit Gen Z audiences.
This gives brands the opportunity to position themselves as a source of truth and thus, demonstrate their competence with the shared knowledge. And while the range of content on social media is big, it doesn’t hurt to start small. Simply start with the basics and continue to iterate from there.
Keep language consistent and coherent.
To succeed on social channels, brands need to establish strong social media principles, content focus and tone of voice. Without a social media strategy, they risk falling into the trap of focusing too much on tactical promotions. Here’s what not to share:
- Marketing speak that is difficult to understand (“Get up to 3.5% rebates”)
- Promotions with inaccessible fine print (“Limited redemption for the first 100 customers weekly for each outlet”)
- Rules that are confusing to understand (“Stand a chance to be eligible for up to 8% per annum interest if you qualify for more than three categories”)
Keeping things simple might be one of the most challenging tasks for brands in the financial services industry. But it’s incredibly fruitful: just look at how Gen Z have skewed towards “buy now, pay later” options over credit cards thanks to their simplicity.
Transparency is key to maintaining trust.
Investing in greater transparency on social media goes a long way toward building trust. In fact, 53% of consumers say a brand’s transparency on social media would prompt them to consider that brand for their next purchase, and 37% say they would purchase more from a company that is transparent on social media.
Moreover, social media’s predilection for connection makes it easier for brands to track sentiment and results from campaigns. Approaching content in a friendlier, youthful persona helps reflect Gen Z’s demand for more authentic content. Breaking down the “fourth wall” between brands and consumers requires decision makers to act with integrity and respect the standards of interaction on each channel.
Through each of the tactics above, we’ve explored key ways financial service brands can build trust with their audiences. From supporting consumers early on their journey to financial literacy, to focusing on simplicity and transparency, brands can build strong, trustworthy voices to connect with consumers.
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