Financial services brands ‘ignoring’ women in advertising

New research shows that instead of not talking to women in the right way, financial services brands are “not talking to them at all”.

Banking brands are overlooking and failing to engage women in their advertising, and therefore missing out on a potential £133bn in investment, according to new research.

Kantar’s ‘Winning over Women’ study shows financial institutions are less likely to solicit a positive response among female viewers compared to men in their advertising. Brands are also failing to communicate important brand features such as ‘trustworthiness’, ‘dependability’ and ‘accessibility’ to women.

Kantar claims women usually respond “more positively” to advertising than men, but found this was not the case with financial services. One brand example of this gender difference in advertising is Barclays, which created an ad warning audiences of fraud (see above).

“Women are a bit less confident and fearful about taking risks. In a Barclays ad, it seems like you’re talking to a woman in a call centre but 20 seconds in you realise the person has just stolen personal details from you. Interestingly, women were responding really positively [to the ad], until they get to that point and their trust and confidence is undermined. But the male response was really positive,” says Amy Cashman, UK managing director of financial services and technology at Kantar.

The research also found that rather than talking to women in the wrong way, they were “just not talking to them at all”. Ads are also likely to be too “male orientated”.

“Context is very important to women. They tend to think more about other people in regard to financial activities; they are much more conscious about family life. A lot of financial advertising is much more male orientated, and advertisers often use a standard male lens. It’s almost like they’re leaving women out,” she adds.

Financial services ads tend to be more male focused in both ‘everyday banking and insurance’ ads and communications promoting services such as investing and pensions – but Kantar claims this could lead to brands missing out on billions of extra revenue.

In ‘everyday banking and insurance’ female clients tend to hold more savings, mortgage and general insurance products than men, and are typically more loyal.

The study also shows that if financial services brands are able to be more engaging to women, and support women in increasing their confidence levels for saving and investing, an incremental £133bn would potentially be redirected to savings and investments.

Cashman concludes: “Women are less confident, they want to have more information to be more empowered about the decisions they’re making. They can also find some aspects like imagery and language off-putting and disengaging, so try and look at it from their perspective and make sure to not disempower them.”

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