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Among the top ten most widely known brand names, only Charles Schwab and Fidelity achieve high name recognition, positive sentiment among affluent investors, and stellar customer satisfaction/loyalty
RHINEBECK, N.Y., Sept. 28—New research from Phoenix Marketing International shows that the ten most widely known brands among a list of 34 financial services companies include: Bank of America, Charles Schwab, E*Trade, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney, Prudential, T.RowePrice, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo. At least 78% of affluent investors recall the advertising for and/or are aware of these firms on an aided basis, and three brands boast investor awareness in excess of 90%.
While achieving top-tier name recognition based on whatever investors have seen or heard about the brand is noteworthy, Phoenix data show that seven of these brands drop in ranking when measured by investors’ overall impression and consideration of the brand (pre-disposition). Only Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and T.RowePrice remain among the top ten for these measures. “This finding has implications for the communication strategy leading brands might follow. Our data indicate that underlying market sentiment significantly impacts media recall and investor response to brand advertising,” explains Kristina Terzieva, Director of Syndicated Financial Services. “Clearly, investment firms should assess whether it is positive or negative investor sentiment that accounts for their high name recognition before touting new products/services that may fall on deaf ears,” added Terzieva.
In addition to using brand pre-disposition to understand whether positive or negative investor sentiment accounts for a widely recognized firm name, pre-disposition is also an early indicator of whether brand advertising will be recalled and, more importantly, acted upon to generate revenue for the brand. Advertising recall among investors with positive pre-disposition to certain brands is at least twice that of investors with less favorable sentiment, and investors who already think positively about some companies are five times likely to respond to brand advertising.
Coincidentally, several companies with a lower share of brand awareness actually lead the category in terms of positive sentiment among affluent investors: American Funds, Riversource, TD Ameritrade, TIAA-CREF, USAA, Vanguard, and Wells Fargo Advisors. Many of these brands, plus Charles Schwab and Fidelity, also receive stellar marks from current account holders for overall satisfaction/loyalty. Over 90% of their current account holders comprise an investor segment described as “extremely satisfied” with the brand overall, “extremely likely” to recommend the brand, and can be counted on to stay with the brand for another year. Other companies with noteworthy investor sentiment and/or customer evaluations include: A.G. Edwards, American Century, Ameriprise Financial, Edward Jones, Franklin Templeton, Raymond James, Sharebuilder, and Scottrade.
Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing research companies in the U.S. Study findings are from an analysis of 15,231 interviews conducted in 2010 among brokerage and fund investors age 21+ with investable assets of $100K+ (excluding employer-sponsored plans). Phoenix has collected monthly brand metrics and investor evaluations of brand advertising (multi-media) since 2004.
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