PurposeThe present state of the financial services industry suggests the need for banks to appeal to consumers’ emotions with the aim of improving their reputation; this study aims to explore how UK banks are using emotional appeals in their advertisements and how this shapes consumers’ attitudes towards their brands.Design/methodology/approachQualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis in a two-stage study – Study 1 analysed the content of 1,274 UK bank advertisements to understand how the banks convey emotional appeals, whereas Study 2 elicited consumers’ perceptions of these advertising appeals and how they influenced their attitudes through semi-structured interview with 33 UK retail bank customers in London and Luton.FindingsUK banks are using emotional appeals in their marketing communication strategies. The qualitative findings highlight the bi-dimensional nature of feelings towards the advertisements and how this relates to the brand. There is a lacklustre attitude towards the brands; there was no sense of pride in associating with any bank, even with though there are possibilities of switching; and consumers feel there is no better offer elsewhere as all banks are the same.Practical implicationsBank brands should present distinct values about their services to the target audience, endeavour to build relationships with existing customers and reward loyalty. Importantly, financial brands need to engage in and highlight charitable activities and any corporate social responsibility as this can help to improve consumers’ attitudes as they often consider bank brands greedy and selfish.Originality/valueQualitative research methodology was adopted to better understand consumers’ attitudes towards UK retail bank brands.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 18, 2017
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