Best Brands: Financial Services


Best Brands: Financial Services

How do you contact your bank? 20 years ago, this question had only three possible answers: 1) by going into a branch in person, 2) in writing, or 3) by phoning my bank. Nowadays, there are numerous possible answers. Of course, customers can still contact their bank by going into a branch, in writing or by telephone - including Phone banking - but there are other channels too, such as Home banking, Smart banking, Easy banking, e-mail, the website and Self banking, as well as social networks and chatbox.

The importance of GfK’s Best Omnichannel Brands study, conducted on Serviceplan’s request, becomes clear when we consider the changes in the banking sector as a whole in the past few years as the industry continuously adapts to customers and their needs. The results of this study for the financial sector are summarised below.

Note that Argenta was voted best banking sector brand by the Best Product Brands survey. The bank stood out with a far higher score than its competitors for Share of Soul.

Best Omnichannel Brands presents a very different picture. Instead of being in the lead, Argenta is ranked fourth in its category. The top three bank brands are KBC, Belfius, and AXA.

KBC owes this honour to two main factors. First is the reach of its offline experience, which is one the highest in the sector and leaves a very positive impression with users, followed by the very positive impression created by its online experience. AXA came third in the category. Although it scored more consistently for both online and offline impression, the more limited reach of these user experiences kept it in second place behind KBC. In fourth place, Argenta profile is the reverse of KBC’s. Users appreciated the quality of its offline experience in particular, but its reach is greater online.

BNP Paribas Fortis and ING, ranked 5th and 6th respectively, face similar challenges. Despite strong memorability of both offline and online customer experiences and an online impression in the high average, the perception of the brands’ offline experiences is less positive compared with the top 3 brands above. The three best brands score in the 30% to 65% range for offline experience, whereas BNP and ING score between 1% and 6%.

It is important to reiterate that the experiences in this analysis are not limited to users’ in-branch experiences for offline and mobile applications for online, but span a far greater range than these two channels. Yet it is interesting to note that, according to a survey reported by L’Echo in September 2017, which covers the same period as the Best Omnichannel Brands survey, KBC’s, AXA’s and Argenta’s apps were among the highest rated apps, with Belfius and ING taking up 4th and 5th place in this top 5.

The aim of the Best Omnichannel Brands survey is to provide an alternative assessment to the Best Product Brands metrics. Unlike Best Product, which includes factors related to satisfaction, emotional connection and financial performance, Best Omnichannel sets out to measure a brand’s performance and ability to combine and communicate across different touchpoints. GfK gathers data to give advertisers insight into their strengths and weaknesses and, potentially, to indicate opportunities for improving their online/offline strategy. 

Is your company one of the 300 brands covered in the survey? To find out, register for the Best Brands Awards on 22 March 2018, go to, or contact Serviceplan or GfK for more information.

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Nancy Delhalle

Chief Marketing Officer

+32 2 774 01 00