Increasing Trust in Your FS Brand

Trends / Wellness
Catherine Falls Commercial
Sandra Michalska
Mar 6, 2024
As financial uncertainty clouds the future, how can financial brands illustrate trust and security? Our latest consumer data reveals that 6 in 10 Europeans feel that the cost of living will exceed their means. From a greater focus on financial wellness to more empathy in digital communication, our new research reflects on the challenges the financial service industry will face in 2024 and beyond.
When showing financial wellness, relatability is key

In the aftermath of the cost‑of‑living crises, consumers are 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 18% in Europe think that wealth and status are the most important benchmarks for success. Instead, they value moments, experiences, and living‑in‑the‑moment. From money balance to life balance—consumer 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 moments enjoying the here and now will resonate with Europeans. 
Technology will look more empathetic

Digital transformation has become an important topic in the Financial Services sector and over the years, FS brands have embraced sleek blue‑toned digital palettes showing insights and data‑backed decisions through data visualisations. However, our research suggests consumers want a more human approach. In 2024, Europeans expect financial services to be more digital and more empathetic—at the same time. According to Getty Images' VisualGPS research, 75% of Europeans appreciate when companies they do business with acknowledge the challenges they personally face. While the convenience of online services remains essential, visualising human empathy rather than just digital efficiency is key.

With artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly sitting at the heart of digital transformation, FS brands have the opportunity to educate and rebrand dated representations of AI for a wider audience. While our research shows that European consumers' feelings are mixed (half of the European consumers feel that AI makes them nervous, while the other half is excited), generative AI has the potential to deliver significant new value to banks—between $200 billion and $340 billion1. Moving away from techno‑futuristic depictions, consider unexpected metaphors that combine conceptual imagery with relatability, real people, and services. 
B2B communication will be more personal

More than half of European Gen Z 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. 55% of consumers see social media as a place to go to either learn or educate themselves (especially through video content), and 42% even use it to get career advice. 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, FS 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 activity2, our visual analysis reveals that only 7% of visuals portraying business owners feature people over the age of 40. 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

People value authenticity in visual storytelling. According to our data‑backed research, 8 in 10 Europeans expect brands to be consistently committed to inclusion in their advertising and business communication visuals. However, visibility gaps persists. For example, only 1% of visuals most popular with financial services brands feature a person with a disability, 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.
Challenging stereotypes around disability, as well as other identity factors such as ethnicity, body, age, gender, sexuality, or religion, starts with the self‑questioning of who, how, and when you represent. Our insights help clients understand the state of visual inclusion in their industry and challenge stereotypes across all identity factors. Our special collections as well as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion imagery toolkits help brands across all industries challenge bias and stereotypes in visual storytelling and connect with all consumers.
Video credits 
1833564667, Maskot
[1] McKinsey & Company
[2] Financial Times
Visualising Healthcare in 2024