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When it Comes to Trust, Main Street Beats Wall Street

A wise man or woman once said that trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. After decades of scandals across nearly every industry, consumers remain extremely skeptical of corporate America and institutions at large, creating real-world challenges for the financial industry marketers charged with building and protecting corporate brands.

A polished corporate website is table stakes; customers, investors, the media, and regulators visit sites for formal (form submission) and informal (research) reasons. Marketers pour resources into brand management, modifying messaging and perception for a broad and non-specific audience, and ultimately winnowing down into targeted content for specific groups. Built for this purpose, corporate websites are great at what they do. But for financial services companies with distributed workers, a corporate site often isn’t enough to create For financial services firms, this means that corporate websites must extend, in order to help local reps effectively build brand the community-based trust and confidence that consumers desire.

Fortunately, while trust in institutions is at all-time low, trust in peers is at an all-time high. Whether through in-person conversations, online reviews, Facebook groups or TikTok review videos, consumers are listening to one another. Practically, this means a neighbor, former college roommate, or work colleague is often consulted for recommendations.

For financial institutions, the rise of trust in peers offers a unique opportunity to evolve digital strategy and leverage the distributed nature of their workforce. They can do so by offering corporate-supported localized and personalized websites, which empowers agents, advisors and bankers to:

Build a personal brand with a local flair. A user website allows each banker, advisor or agent to attach a face to the name, share personalized information and provide a local address or map to establish proximity and relevance. Does an agent who graduated from Ohio State want to target local alumni? Does a wealth manager in southern Florida want to establish interest in boating and an upcoming regatta? Here’s the chance.

Establish credentials and coverage. When advisors are able to efficiently share biographic and demographic information that meets prospects’ needs for specific credentials, coverage areas, or expertise, sites can quickly demonstrate the right business match.

Share localized content to establish community ties. Beyond social media, the ability to share relevant content that drives in-person or virtual meetings and events fosters a sense of community. From hosting a wine and cheese prospecting event to supporting a charity fundraiser for the regional high school, there are plenty of ways advisors can demonstrate their personal investment in their neighborhood.

In a highly competitive and saturated market where consumers are skeptical of large brands, advisor websites are integral to the digital toolbox. Localized sites also help foster the community-based, Main Street trust and dependability that consumers crave, particularly in today’s socially distanced world.

Nora Burns

Nora Burns is a Product Marketing Manager at Hearsay, where she works closely with our product team to bring complex products to life and help communicate the value and impact on customer programs. Based in Baltimore, she has nearly two decades of brand and product marketing experience, at startups and Fortune 500 companies. She holds a BA in Psychology from Williams College and an MS in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.

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