Wake-up call for financial services companies

Former BT global brand marketer John Luff will warn the financial services industry that it can no longer “hide its skeletons” and must remember that a company’s brand is its promise in a speech next week.

Luff, former head of global brand and corporate responsibility (CSR) at BT, will also call on the financial services industry to re-evaluate its approach to CSR at the Financial Services Forum annual conference on Tuesday.

He says there is a need for greater transparency in companies’ dealings with consumers. Companies that fail to apply transparency across all of their operations risk damage to their brands.

Luff, chief executive of CSR strategy consultancy Sustainable Marketing, says: “Financial services companies need to wake up and acknowledge the new information rich consumer will choose to deal with the companies they feel they can trust.

“Integrity is not an option. A company’s brand is its promise – and the financial services industry cannot hide its skeletons any longer.”

He will also urge companies to highlight poor practice in the industry in a bid to regain trust from consumers.

Other speakers at the conference include O2 head of business strategy Tim Sefton and former HSBC marketing chief Peter Stringham.

The forum has members representing the major retail banks, building societies, life and pensions companies, asset managers, stockbrokers and corporate investment banks. Almost half, 44% of members, are marketing directors or head of marketing.

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