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Trust Breakdown, Trust Refresh: A Lesson from Banks

In Cleveland Vs. Wall Street, Swiss filmmaker Jean-Stéphane Bron captures the pain of ordinary people hit by the financial crisis.  As the film’s mock trial progresses, he demonstrates how people come together to save their community.  Yet he also clearly portrays people’s anger over banks, which leads us to the MSLGROUP study: “The banking industry in post-crisis times: From vanished trust to evidence-based credibility.”

At MSLGROUP, we think a brand is nothing if people do not trust the company behind it.  And in our post-crisis world, too many institutions suffer from a lack of this most important quality.

To fully understand this dynamic, and to better serve our clients, MSLGROUP conducted an eight-week research project on the state of the financial services industry.

We conducted a comprehensive media and data review, talked with financial experts and conducted an online survey in partnership with Linkfluence in the USA, UK, France, Germany and China. We analyzed the tone of blogs in these countries, and listened to opinions on who is to blame for the crisis and what should be done now.

In a series of blog posts, found in the Reputation Management category, we will share with you what we learned.  In short, banks are mostly to blame for the financial crisis, and some institutions may never fully recover.

As our colleague David Chamberlin, SVP and director of issue and crisis management at MSL North America says, “ The destruction of wealth we have witnessed through the global crisis appears to be easing. But the destruction of brand equity and reputation among financial institutions show no sign of relenting.”

And these insights are easily applicable to other industries, for let’s not forget the “trust crisis” that BP is experiencing.

In our next blog post, we will discuss our “Value for All” proposition and what it means for your brand.

For more information on the MSLGROUP research project and results, please contact Chief Strategy Officer Pascal Beucler at or +33 1 57 32 86 66.