Trust in Capitalism?

Morgan Stanley’s latest brand campaign uses the New Deal Art style to reiterate the aspirations of the American Dream that emerged during the Great Depression.

Work and equality get the star billing in this campaign – encouraging the pursuit of a better life for family and business; showcasing the successes of capitalism with the help of their expertise in insight, intelligence and integrity.

Since the early 20th century Capitalism has prospered through social market economy and individuals have been able to pursue their dreams. However, developments in the financial sector over the past six years, including a lack of transparency and the continued misbehaviour of financial institutions, have left limited room for companies and the individual consumer to prosper. Ultimately, this has led to a lack of trust in the partnership between financial institutions and individuals/organisations. The limits of a fragile relationship have been tested.

The recession encouraged financial institutions to redeem trust with consumers: open discussions about risks and provisions are key contents of the information exchange; attempts at developing partnerships with the individual consumer, who is promised levels of attention on par with big companies who have larger investment potential. Financial institutions are striving to ensure peace of mind amongst consumers, that they are dealing with someone they trust. And to be honest, a successful financial system couldn’t function without trust.

So has lack of trust in the financial system increased marketing activity and creativity on how to subliminally communicate and re-build trust?

In Britain, financial institutions hardly ever use the terminology “trust” in their communications. Instead, they subliminally try to reach out to customers with persuasive messaging that attempts to reflect understanding of individual concerns and requirements.

Our Future of Britain study highlighted the concerns of consumers who feel more strongly than not that the Banks are an industry in Britain lacking the consumer’s interest at heart. This doesn’t come as a shock considering 90% are apprehensive about the current state of the economy.

Despite little doubt that consumers will continue struggling to commit their trust to the financial system, there remains a strong confidence in the financial institutions’ ability to reform wealth management in our neo-capitalist society by providing  global stability, future inspiration and informed progress…getting Britons closer to their dreams.


Co-authored by Anna Ward, Insight Intern, OMD UK, and Denise Funke, Insight Manager, OMD UK


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