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Fin plays catch-up to Tech: Most Connected Brands study

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The need to deliver a frictionless experience for customers has become more important than ever.

It should come as no surprise that financial services brands are few and far between within our top 100 most connected brands. The Most Connected Brands Index has been created to help businesses and brands understand how they are connecting with consumers and provide them with ways to improve.

As the finance sector continues to grapple with the impact of the financial crisis, it still has some way to go in rebuilding trust and confidence with the UK public.

At the same time however, there is also great cause for optimism. Opportunities to innovate, use transformative technology and revolutionise how people access and manage their money are now bigger than ever.

This has never been more evident than with the payments industry. Leading the way on innovation and more closely resembling tech rather than financial services brands, both PayPal and Mastercard are the two financial services companies that have successfully made it into our top 50 Most Connected Brands.

FinTech companies such as PayPal have transformed the financial services. They have disrupted traditional markets by combining bold new business models and cutting-edge technologies and this has rubbed off on to traditional financial services brands. FinTech companies are now more willing to work with traditional providers while banks are starting to think and innovate like FinTechs.

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Barclays is a case example of this. Successfully featuring within our top 100 Most Connected Brands, it leads the way in open banking technology having just launched the UK’s first open banking app. Customers who have a current account with seven of the UK major banks are now able to view all their balances and transactions in one place, giving them a complete overview of their money at a glance.

Santander, also featuring in our top 100 Most Connected Brands, is an example of a bank which has successfully managed to turn around its fortunes since the financial crisis. Its 123 Current Account became one of the most popular on offer, and has drawn in hundreds of thousands of customers since it launched. Despite having to slash interest rates for the 123 Account in 2016, the product and its positioning has had a major impact on retail banking in the UK.

As the financial services sector evolves, a continued collaboration between traditional players and fintechs will be needed to embrace emerging challenges and new opportunities. New innovations are evidence of an industry which faces a period of significant change as it contends with multiple challenges tied to regulations, legacy systems, disruptive models, and new competitors. The need to deliver a more connected, more collaborative and frictionless experience for customers has become more important than ever. Success will require a willingness not only to adapt to the challenges ahead, but also to embrace them.

Opinium's Most Connected Brands Report can be found here.

Alexa Nightingale is an associate director at Opinium

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