UAE Focus: Trust & Finance Brands

Trends / Technology
Sandra Michalska
Apr 12, 2024
How can financial brands illustrate trust and security? From a greater focus on financial wellness to more empathy in digital communication, our new research reflects on the opportunities for the UAE financial service industry in 2024 and beyond.
When showing financial wellness, relatability is key
Consumers are now redefining what success looks like. According to Getty Images’ VisualGPS research, the past year has had a major impact on consumers’ perception of money, and only 28% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) think that wealth and status are the most important benchmark for success. Instead they value moments, experiences, and living‑in‑the‑moment. From money balance to life balance—consumers focus shifts from future success to a more mindful present.

This presents an opportunity for Financial Services (FS) brands to concentrate on empathy and relatability in visual storytelling. Consider moving away from aspirational imagery of success—large milestones like home ownership or new cars. Instead, celebrate the everyday moments of smaller wins that make people feel valued, connected and inspired. Moving away from aspirational perfection to real‑life relatability will resonate with a UAE audience.
Technology looks more empathetic
Digital transformation has become an important topic in the Financial Services sector. Over the years, the industry has embraced sleek, blue‑toned visuals evoking insights and data‑backed decisions through data visualisations. However, our research suggests consumers want a more human approach when showing technology. In 2024, consumers across the world, including the UAE, expect financial services to be more digital and more empathetic at the same time. According to Getty Images' VisualGPS research, 90% of UAE consumers appreciate when companies they do business with acknowledge the challenges they personally face. While the empowering aspect of technology is felt by 66% of people in the UAE, visualising human empathy rather than just digital efficiency is equally important.

With artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly sitting at the heart of digital transformation, financial services brands have the opportunity to educate and rebrand dated representations of AI especially for a UAE audience: 72% of them see how AI could benefit their lives. In addition, generative AI has the potential to deliver significant new value to banks—between $200 billion and $340 billion globally.To visually rebrand AI and digital technologies, consider unexpected metaphors that combine conceptual imagery with relatability, real people and services.
B2B communication will be more personal
83% of UAE consumers see social media as a good place to build a personal brand. This coincides with the rise of the creator economy, in which perfected algorithms allow niche markets to be served through social media. 89% of consumers see social media as a place to go to either learn or educate themselves (especially through video content). This presents an opportunity for FS brands to cater to a wider B2B audience by visualising businesses empowered by unique personalities and passions.

At the same time, our research shows that when addressing the B2B audience, financial services brands tend to represent younger generations as business owners. While founders aged 45+ now account for between a quarter and a third of all new entrepreneurial activity globally,2 our visual analysis reveals that only 7% of visuals portraying business owners feature people over the age of 40 in the business owner visuals popular with our financial services customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This representation decreases to just 2% for people aged 50+. To address this, we teamed up with Natwest to create the Female Focus Collection—bringing an authentic and inclusive lens to female entrepreneurship.
Embrace the power of authenticity
Our research reveals that consumers are more likely to engage with brands that show authentic and inclusive depictions of people. However, visibility gaps persist. For example, less than 1% of visuals used by financial services brands in UAE feature a person of determination, and their representation is often limited:
  • Nearly 5 in 10 visuals show a person in a wheelchair.
  • 3 in 10 equate disability with older persons with reduced mobility.
  • Only 1 in 10 shows a person with a hearing, vision or intellectual disability.
Opening up visual expressions and bringing a more inclusive lens around disability, as well as other identity factors (ethnicity, body, age or gender) starts with questioning who is represented in your visual strategy. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion imagery toolkit for the United Arab Emirates help brands across all industries understand inclusion better in their visual storytelling strategy and how to connect best in more relatable ways with consumers in UAE.
Visualising Technology in Europe