As part of the Project Merlin agreement banks have pledged an additional £76bn to help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Up to now SMEs have apparently been surviving on overdrafts and the good old credit card – not an ideal, or sustainable way to run a business. While in the short term it’s a strategy that may cover a gap in cash flow, it incurs giddy rates of interest on both overdraft and credit card charges in the process. Added to this the Edelman Trust Barometer, shows trust in Banks has dropped for the third consecutive year.
It is against this back drop that agencies; Portland, Fishburn Hedges and Open Road are pitching to the British Bankers Association. The brief, to improve the reputation of banks with SMEs, is an unenviable challenge. Banks have become very risk adverse with SMEs, the riskier they seem the higher their interest rates are likely to be. SME’s that can get them will be paying a premium, those that can’t will be relying on their entrepreneurial skills and creativity to conjure up an alternative.
Even with the best campaign plan restoring the reputation of the banks will require actions to back up words. Money can’t buy a magic bullet for the banks. For SMEs and PR agencies that spells time and hard work. How are you managing realistic expectations of what communications can deliver?