Banks should stop trying to make emotional connections

Halifax “Our kind of Person” adverts are strange – you’re a bank’s kind of person? Great!

Halifax is not alone in its attempt to make an emotional connection, the latest Nationwide advert tells the story of a young man and his father who bond over a scarf, which when lost is returned via Twitter by a Nationwide employee. Presumably this will make viewers want to bank with them because… Nationwide “cares”?

But do any of us believe this? Is this freak (fictional) one in a million reunion the result of anything other than an act of kindness from an individual that happens to work at Nationwide? Or are we supposed to believe they only employ people that try ad reunite people with scarves?

Regardless, I don’t think brands should be trying to make such tenuous emotional connections (unless they’re charities) as it feels insincere and bordering on exploitative.

My advice to larger organisations is to think of building emotional connections in a similar way as building trust is thought of. Concentrate on assuring your customers that they can trust you to do a job, rather than trying to convince them to simply trust you. For example, I trust my Mum 100%, but would I trust her to lead a team of Nasa scientists? No. Do I trust banks? Not really, but I trust that when I go to the cashpoint to get money, it will be there. I trust them to do this because they would lose my businesses if they didn’t.

I would suggest that for the vast majority of customers, emotions such as gratitude, assurance and ultimately affection would be better achieved by acknowledging the mutual benefit of the relationship: “We realise you have a choice, and therefore feel reassured that we will do everything we can to make you choose us – it’s in our interest to do so”. Why? Because it’s honest and good PR is always “truth well told”.

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