The economy has been showing some signs of growth, albeit at a miniscule rate. To an economist looking over the data generated by a G7 nation 0.6% is wonderful news but to anyone else (an employer, employee or a saver or someone living on a fixed income perhaps), 0.6% is hardly going to set the world alight. Imagine going into your office and telling your boss you were going for growth of 0.6%? It suddenly doesn’t seem quite as impressive a figure!
The challenge with publishing these figures is that politicians use them to defend their policies or criticise the opposition and make such a big deal out of it that the actual point of them get lost. They are an indication taken at a specific time, a sounding of the state of the economy and no more.
To raise the level of hope and positivity we need to see consistent growing quarters and most importantly an explanation of where and why the growth is happening, rather than going up and down on the roller coaster of statistically insignificant numbers rounded up or down to the nearest 3 places to score political points in the media. Without the evidence of growth drivers, the figures are as random as trusting an astrologer to predict your future.
How does this affect the advertising industry? Well currently I’ve seen no financial institution comment publicly, through their own PR or advertising and drive home the advantage created by offering the general public insight into what to make of the growth data.
This offers a real opportunity for financial brands; banks, insurers and even supermarkets to build on their brand values and become trusted; trusted for customer service, trusted sources, and trusted to do right by the customer.
They need to build trust in their opinions within audiences outside of just the financial markets and start to share the views of their economists, traders and senior executives to offer a perspective on how households can plan and profit from their advice.
Only then can individuals get confidence to take decisions against a frame work that is equally informed by fact as it is by fear.
Matthew Margetts, Partnerships Lead - Finance, Microsoft Advertising & Online UK