Opportunity knocks for financial services work

Building society literature design is set to mushroom as legislation governing societies is relaxed, according to design consultancies working in the financial sector.

Design will play a vital role as building societies expand services, compete for customers against high street banks and make themselves more attractive to their new shareholders.

“The initial implications of the deregulation are that there are a lot of opportunities,” says Ian Stewart, managing director of The Small Back Room.

Building societies may also consider reviewing their corporate image to make them less regional and more competitive, says Giant director Mark Rollinson, who is involved in more projects as a consequence of the recent changes.

Justin Mould, managing director of Facade Design, which has produced literature for Abbey National and the ill-fated Barings, agrees: “Some building societies’ images may not be appropriate for the banking community.”

However, they are unlikely to risk a complete revamp, for fear of alienating their existing mortgage clients, Mould adds.

Banks and insurance companies in turn may reassess their marketing strategy to protect their own markets.

“If the opposition makes a move to damage your business, one area to look at is communication with your customers,” Rollinson adds.

Stewart, who is approaching all the major financial players, confirms this: “Both the banks and insurance houses will have to put their best foot forward to counteract the considerable losses from building societies.”

Landor Associates sponsored a recent conference on the “image crisis” facing both banks and building societies. “Many financial services firms seem to be facing a tide of criticism,” says executive director Adrian Day.

“While these same organisations are working to redefine themselves in an attempt to satisfy the customer, there is clearly a need to communicate more effectively with the public.”

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