Date of release: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dr Emmanuel MogajiUK retail banks are still failing to endear themselves to potential new customers or encourage them to switch their accounts, according to research by a University of Greenwich lecturer.

Dr Emmanuel Mogaji, who specialises in Advertising and Marketing Communications, believes this will continue until the banks make their brands more distinctive and succeed in regaining consumer trust.

His research, published in the Journal of Product & Brand Management, suggests banks need to promote their rewards for loyal customers, their ethical values and their corporate social responsibility activities.

Dr Mogaji, a member of the university's Business School, says: "It is a decade since the financial crisis and credit crunch. Since then, there has been negative publicity for banks, which are accused of price fixing, money laundering and tax evasion, among other issues.

"However, the consumer market has changed considerably, with banks operating under new regulations, and it is now much easier to switch accounts from one bank to another."

Dr Mogaji's findings are based on his analysis of more than a thousand bank advertisements in nine national newspapers, and detailed interviews with nearly three dozen UK bank customers, aged between 18 and 72 years and living in London and Luton.

His research demonstrates that customers understand the 'emotional' content and messages which appeared in 64 per cent of the banks' national newspaper advertising – presenting themselves as either family friendly, secure, longstanding or approachable.

However, customers' personal responses were unenthusiastic. They did not trust the emotional messages being portrayed and they were unlikely to take any actions such as switching to another bank or opening a new account.

Dr Mogaji says: "It is as if having a bank account is perceived as a necessary evil, and that all the consumer banks are believed to be virtually the same.

"Banks are not emphasising their differences clearly enough and they are not taking full advantage of their charitable or social initiatives, such as Lloyds Bank's partnership with BBC Children in Need, to demonstrate their contribution to society.

"They also need to be seen to care more about their existing customers, and to take greater advantage of word of mouth marketing and personal recommendations. How people choose a bank is so often the result of the personal experiences and recommendations of close family members or friends."

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Dr Emmanuel Mogaji.