Trust no-one…

Consumers don’t trust the banks but this is no great surprise. What is surprising is that they don’t trust anyone when it comes to money, not even trusted retail brands.

Making the observation that consumers don’t trust banks is about as earth shattering as someone noting that the sky is blue.

You might have thought then, that in these proverbially tough economic times, consumers might have been eagerly looking for new leaders in the financial marker in which to place their trust, and cash.

But according to Baber Smith and YouGov’s consumer trust study, trusted retail brands such as M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are finding that putting themselves forward as alternative banking methods isn’t as simple as encouraging people to pick up a bank account or credit with their Sunday roast ingredients. Despite their trust in the banks being crushed, it’s become a case of “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.

For all their efforts, I sense a slight sense of denial coming from these retail giants, who insist that the rewards benefits they can provide in conjunction with financial solutions stamped with their all familiar brand logo is all the trust a consumer needs.

Before people are forced to revert to the days of hoarding cash under their floorboards, there is a great opportunity for brands outside the financial market to position themselves as trusted experts in finance to debunk the perception that banking with a supermarket is any less credible than a bank. The likes of M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and anyone else looking to capitalise on the overwhelming consumer scepticism towards banks need to bang their own drums a little harder with the message that not only do they know groceries but they know how to look after your money.

In the same way that Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have reined in celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver, they need to also emphasise the level of expertise that sits at the heart of their financial offerings. Show consumers you know what you’re talking about, rather than entice them with extra rewards points to bank with you – that’s the key.

On another note, Marketing Week is looking for marketers to take part in a survey on what they want from agencies. The survey closes at the end of the day, so if you get a chance, please log onto

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