NatWest and Virgin ‘suffer from lack of public trust’

NatWest and Virgin are the among the least trusted financial services providers in the country while Marks & Spencer is the most trusted, according to a Mintel report.

Based on a survey of 2,000 people presented with a pre-selected sample of financial and non-financial groups, eight per cent said NatWest was the least trusted financial group. Six per cent named Virgin in the financial and non-financial group.

The least popular group overall was British Gas, cited by 28 per cent of the sample.

Bizarrely, Virgin also features among the top ten most trusted groups, beaten by only British Airways, Co-operative Bank, Abbey National and M&S.

The Mintel report on branding and value for money in financial services, compiled using the results of the survey, also shows that financial services advertising is failing to develop brand values.

In the vast majority of cases customers can remember straplines from financial advertisements but cannot distinguish the characteristics of one company from another.

The exceptions to this are companies which have entered the field from other industries, such as M&S and Virgin.

Significantly, the report also shows that people working in financial services do not understand the difference between name awareness and branding. When asked to describe the advertising messages of financial service providers, none of the staff responded be giving brand values. The majority mentioned some form of product push or selling message.

However, on a more positive note, two-thirds of those questioned believe they are getting good value from their financial services provider.

The total ad spend in the sector in 1995 was 166.5m (Register-MEAL/Mintel).

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