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The crisis in Russia and sanctions against Russian banks in the west are creating favorable conditions for foreign banks and financial companies to enter into the Russian market. First of all due to the deep trust of the Russian population in foreign banks. Which tools will be most effective for a financial company while entering Russian market by - read in the RMAA Group blog.
The financial services market in Russia has not been stable in recent years and, frankly speaking, does not enjoy deep trust of the population. This is due to many factors, for example, an almost twofold fall in the national currency against the dollar and the euro in 2014, from which, incidentally, the ruble has not recovered so far. The increased activity of the Central Bank of Russia, which in great numbers has been withdrawing licenses from Russian banks (in 2015 - 93 banks, in 2016 - 97 banks) does not add confidence too. Of course, in terms of improving the country's financial system, these measures are important and necessary, but from the point of view of an ordinary consumer this is a factor that undermines confidence in banks in general.
Therefore, Russian consumers at present trust mainly two categories of banks: banks with state participation, or close to high-ranking Russian officials, as well as foreign banks. However, a number of state-owned banks as a result of the events of 2014 got under the sanctions of Western countries and thus look less appealing for many people. Thus, it is foreign banks that currently seem to be the most reliable for the Russian client. It should be noted, however, that foreign banks cannot have their branches in Russia and can act only through subsidiaries fully complying with the legislation of the Russian Federation.
Identify your target audience
Initially, when entering the Russian market, it is necessary to determine which category of customers your bank or financial company will offer its services. First of all, there is the distinction between corporate clients and individuals. Corporate clients, in turn, are divided into Russian and foreign ones. Many foreign banks start their business in Russia by serving companies from their own country conducting business in Russia, and vice versa – Russian companies that conduct business in the country of the bank. Such a model, for example, was held by Swedish bank Swedbank.
If your bank specializes in providing services to individuals, it is important to determine the age and behavioral characteristics of your potential clients in Russia, because this will determine the choice of promotion channels. For a younger audience, for example, mobile advertising and SMM tools are appropriate, and for the older generation it is better to rely on traditional advertising in the media.
Advertising in the media
Advertising in the media remains the most effective in Russia and the most budget consuming tool for the promotion of financial services. Depending on the promoted services and the target audience, advertising can be placed in different types of media. For example, when first entering the Russian market the most effective advertising channel will be television providing the widest audience. Advertising on the radio is better to be used when the brand is already remembered by the consumer, and advertising affects individual products of the bank or expansion of the bank's presence in a certain city. Advertising in business print media, as well as magazines targeted at top-managers of companies, will be relevant for financial organizations, whose target audience is corporate clients, as well as wealthy private clients. It is also worth noting that it is good to use native advertising to promote financial organizations or a bank.
When promoting the bank on the Russian market, public relations practices will be relevant. The main task of PR in the bank is to explain the social role of the banking business. The bank is responsible to the society where its activities are carried out. PR can include many areas: promoting new opportunities for young people (education), supporting the poor (charity), supporting creative work (culture and art), and supporting efforts to protect the environment and improve living conditions (environment). PR tools are also diverse:
• press conferences, presentations, symposia;
• communication with the media;
• managing the image and reputation of the bank among existing and potential customers;
• intracorporate PR;
• a variety of public and charitable activities;
In order to be well remembered by Russian consumers it is useful to resort to outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is still a reliable way to make the brand recognizable. One can use both billboards on the streets and outdoor advertising indoors with a large flow of people: airports, stations, shopping centers. By the way, we already wrote about advertising in Russian airports.
Direct marketing is usually used in two cases: working with corporate clients and promoting loan offers to the public. In both cases, E-mail marketing, telemarketing, as well as personal communication with customers is used. Also for promotion among individuals you can use sms-mailings (most often the advertising message is added to free newsletters: weather, horoscopes, billboard, etc.).
Digital-marketing is also an effective tool for promoting financial services. It is important that digital marketing tools have ample opportunities for targeting the audience: gender, age, geolocation, interests and so on. This includes banner advertising on the Internet, mobile advertising, targeted advertising in social networks, and of course, contextual advertising, which will completely get into the target audience.
Promotion in social networks
Also, to win a young audience, it is important to maintain the activity of your brand in Russian social networks, in particular Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook. It is important that your bank is not just represented in social networks, but also ensures that through groups your current and potential customers can quickly receive information that might interest them about the bank's work, its services and other related issues.
It will also be good if your social networks are not just a way of communicating with customers, but also a source of useful or interesting information for them, so it is advisable to use content marketing tools. You can start blogging or add themed humorous content that would entertain subscribers.
Influencer Marketing can also be useful, especially if it is not about promoting the whole brand, but about promoting certain financial products: deposits, loans, etc. In this case, of course, it is important to choose the right agent of influence, the audience of which should consist of adults who independently manage their finances.
Foreign banks at present enjoy great trust among the Russian population. A set of tools that can be used by a bank or a financial institution when entering the Russian market is quite extensive. First of all, this is advertising in Russian media. Also effective will be the use of PR tools, outdoor advertising and promotion in social networks. Specialists of RMAA Group will tell how a foreign bank or a financial company will enter the Russian market.
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About the Author
Ksenia Kuznetsova is the Editor of the Blog about Successful Marketing Strategies in Russia. She has been working at RMAA Group as a Assistent of Client Service Director since 2015. Ksenia has experience in planning and carrying out of advertising campaigns for foreign companies in Russia.