“Our communications strategy will be to respond to the genuine concerns of consumers and society with real actions. They want to know that large financial institutions are committed to the prosperity of the communities.”
Anne Finucane faces a challenging year ahead, and it's much like last year: Re-establishing the public's trust in the country's largest bank holding company. And in the wake of the financial crisis, recent public relations woes such as charges of disclosure improprieties and credit card rate-hike controversies, have also taken form.
“The array of challenges facing today's marketers across the financial services sector is as complex as any time I've seen in the industry,” Finucane said. “The lack of trust in big banks among consumers remains significant. Adapting to sweeping new regulation is fundamentally shifting how banks engage customers. And the explosion of new media options has liberated consumers to make their own choices and share their own opinions across vast networks of digital communities.
“For me and my team, we've had to look deep into these challenges to find opportunities established in an emerging new marketing communications paradigm,” she said.
Finucane is well-positioned within the company to address these issues. In addition to heading up the company's marketing, research and advertising groups, she oversees public policy, government affairs, consumer policy and corporate social responsibility. And she oversees the largest community development and investment goal ever established by a U.S. financial institution ($1.5 trillion over 10 years).
“We've had to be more aggressive in our marketing approach that accepts rather than resists the questions large banks face,” Finucane said. “Our strategy has demanded that we shift to a proactive communications posture—one that embraces all channels, including social media—and is rooted at the local level rather than top-down, one-size-fits-all.”
For the future, corporate streamlining and public trust are paramount.
“If we can crack that code, especially in a new media and financial services landscape, then we'll be well on our way to recapturing the brand leadership we enjoyed prior to the financial crisis.” —C.H.