In search of quality search 06 December 2017

Why do leading investment banks hide away their talents and capabilities away online?

In our latest Living Ratings analysis of the digital intelligence of investment banks, a whopping 85% of the banks we assessed failed to deliver content and functionality designed for C-Suite audiences.

In fact, just one bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) makes it into our top tier – what we call ‘Determined’ digital communication. The rest fall short, missing out on a chance to engage their audiences and build powerful, connected digital brands – brands that deliver clear, thought thought-provoking and relevant messages to clients, prospects and other key stakeholders. This should send an unambiguous signal to the entire sector. And perhaps prompt a few New Year’s Resolutions… 

Needles. Haystacks.

Your perspective, your point of view, your message. Call it what you will, it matters. It’s a key facet of your brand. And your corporate .com website is where it all comes together. It’s your brand showcase. Today, visitors to your website want to find relevant content faster than ever. This places a huge onus on your search functionality and on how your content is surfaced.

So it’s a mystery why so many banks in our survey make the good stuff difficult to get to. Just 35% of banks offered a clear pathway to M&A content, for example. Overall, only one bank delivered world class search and just two banks enabled personalised content. If good, proactive digital communication can have a tangible effect on your bottom line, why hide it away?

Search – the intuitive way

A single, solitary investment bank offers search that surfaces relevant, engaging content quickly, simply and easily. BofAML positions itself as a potent problem problem-solver by addressing client interests as well as the issues the sector is facing... and makes it all accessible. In contrast, the lowest ranked firms neglect the need to put their clients’ interests first by failing to provide evidence of their capabilities through even the most basic case studies.

The implication is clear: many investment banks underestimate the power and influence of their online brand – and, in particular, their own .com website – which plays such a critical role in the digital mix.

Opportunity is out there

So let’s give the investment banking community one cheer for effort, not three cheers for digital excellence. That solitary cheer comes in recognition of two things:

First, there’s an opportunity for 10 out of the 20 banks in our survey to leap into the top tier by making their content more easily accessible and attractively presented. It’s a functional as well as a creative task – but not a difficult one for a well-resourced sector.

Secondly, the big investment banks are clearly getting their act together when it comes to framing their capabilities through comment and analysis. They make a virtue of seeing the big picture and many have macroeconomics in their sights, with opinion pieces that reflect breadth of vision. Steering away from the ‘me, me, me’ is a positive in an otherwise disappointing report.

Now, for the investment banks, it’s time to play catch-up.

Creating difference

Here at Living Group, we work with leading investment banks, asset managers, hedge funds, financial intermediaries and pension providers to develop digital communications that engage with customers and inspire new conversations.

Working across channels, we drive business performance with strategic thinking, brand creation and cut-through messaging - creating effective communications that get tangible results.

To find out how please contact Kate Shaw in London, Aliena Lai in Hong Kong, or Kevin Windorf in New York.

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