Having a successful brand that is integrated and coherent can provide a sustainable competitive advantage. The aim of this paper is to identify internal factors contributing to financial services brand success and ultimately to facilitate better‐informed branding activities, thereby growing brand equity.
A grounded theory approach is adopted and indepth interviews were carried out with 68 respondents amongst six financial services organisations.
The organisations with more successful brands were characterised by the following factors: a holistic, consistent and integrated approach to branding, a focus on excellent and personalised customer service, an ethos which challenges the norm, a responsiveness to change, a high degree of brand literacy, and a synergy between the brand and organisational culture.
The study was bound by the availability of respondents' time. The focus was to examine a relatively small sample of organisations in considerable depth. Moving forward, it is intended that a quantitative study will be undertaken to generalise and expand on these findings within the financial services market.
A number of significant managerial implications are drawn from this work, for example using the brand ethos model to enable employees to internalise their brand and the use of “brand jigsaw” workshops to facilitate brand consistency.
The results provide valuable insights into financial services brand management, encouraging the employment of more effective branding techniques within a sector that has traditionally had little interest in branding.
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