Banks are custodians of customers’ assets and wealth. It acts as trusted intermediaries. Banks are symbols of national security, public trust, the nerve of national economies. A bank’s vault goes beyond the literal space of safe-keeping but a metaphorical representation of trustworthiness, credibility, and care which are linked to a bank’s brand and reputation.
This is to say, banks as custodian of costumers’ wealth, is highly influenced by the customers aggregated conversation, behaviors and sentiments towards a banking corporate brand. Banking corporates public sentiments is simply the summary of positive, negative and neutral tones of conversation around the banking brand.
A tone of news narrative as projected through the media has the potential to influence a bank’s existence especially if unchecked, negative tones could dent an image of a bank’s brand in a competitive banking sector.
Naturally, banks are supposed to pay extreme attention to their brand narrative tones in the media, but these important strategic brand communication values seem to be eluding banks in Ghana.
Corporate communications departments of the banking sector are encouraged to adopt consistent scientific mechanisms for measuring brand sentiments attributes in the context of attitude, thoughts, judgements, opinions, emotions, and affections. Failure to employ brand sentiments strategic efforts creates small pictures in the mind of the consumer and subsequently leads to long-term invisible brand-injuries in the minds of banking sector consumers.
The importance of brand sentiments contributions to corporate returns on investment led IBNA to embark on the Ghana Banking Media Sentiments Index Ratings (GBMSI-R), 2021. This index is a contextual tone measurement of the 23 Ghana banks news narratives within the degrees of positive, negative and neutral (uncertainty) tones.
Results from the analysis of top 10 banks media narrative sentiments among the 23 banks in Ghana for the first quarter (Q1) and second quarter (Q2), 2021 are as follows:
Among the top 10 banks, FBNBANK recorded the highest positive brand tones of 845 (24%) to lead in the Ghana Banking Media Sentiments Index Ratings for the period of study. GCB bank took the second position with 673 (19%), with ECOBANK also recording the third position with 446 (13%). The fourth to the tenth positions are as follows: ADB bank and ACCESS bank shared 327 (9%) and 302 (9%) respectively. ABSA bank and STANCHART bank also pulled 257 (7%) and 231 (7%) respectively. STANBIC bank 218 (6%), FIDELITY bank 211 (5%) and FNB bank 37 (1%).
In terms of negative brand tones ratings, GCB bank recorded the highest negative tones of 88 (59%). It must however be emphasized that the negative GCB brand tones were not linked to brand performances nor in the context of consumer service relations but a sad unpredictable event of robbery. FBNBANK recorded the second negative tones of 39 (27%) with STANBIC bank on the third position with 21 (14%). ADB, ACCESS, ABSA, ECOBANK, FNB, FIDELITY, and STANCHART banks recorded no negative brand tones ratings.
A critical segment of brand sentiments measurements should be geared towards social media platforms. In an era of big data, and fleeting brand contents in tweets, banking corporates are encouraged to pay attention to every single sentiment tone emanating from social media influencers and the extent of its impact on a banking brand. Positive brand sentiment is central to corporate vitality.
The writer is a lecturer at the Communications Studies Department of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) and Founder of the Institute of Brands Narrative Analysis (IBNA) a strategic media intelligence agency: Email- [email protected]