In the banking sector, where products and services are intangible, the image and reputation of a bank have a great importance in influencing decisions and perceptions of consumers. Aware of the fact that the brand is a major strategic asset, Intesa Sanpaolo is always focused on the measurement, enhancement and protection of the image and reputation of its brand.
For this reason, Intesa Sanpaolo has for some time adopted a Group brand image monitor to assess developments over time among all targets (the population, small business, SMEs, corporate and opinion leaders), also considering the social, political and economic scenario and the reference sector.
2015 saw a continuous improvement in the image, both with customers and non-customers, which stood at the top of the banking system and above the average market image. Despite the fact that the banking sector's health has been very compromised at the end of the year by the events which concerned the four local banks and the "salvabanche” (bank bail-in) decree, Intesa Sanpaolo continued to be perceived as a solid bank, with a range of quality services, focused on supporting social and cultural initiatives.
The brand, as a corporate asset, is also economically quantified each year by the Bank’s internal bodies in order to measure its value. To this end, an average of three important international estimation models is used: Brand Finance, Hirose and Royalty Relief. This value is also compared with synthetic brand equity indices calculated by leading research institutions based on: visibility, image and ability to attract new customers.
The Bank pays special attention to image and reputation monitoring also on the Internet, where web listening platforms monitor participation in online discussions, the main discussion sources, the buzz share in the sector and the issues and sentiment of these conversations. In 2015 Intesa Sanpaolo ranked among the top 5 players for its conversation share, maintaining the first position of the conversation share relating to communication activities and the customer service area.
Aware of the fact that every opportunity for contact with the brand helps to form a corporate image, both with customers and with non-customers, Intesa Sanpaolo also monitors the effects of sponsorships and cultural activities on its image and reputation.
In 2015 Intesa Sanpaolo sponsored Expo Milano 2015, as Official Global Banking Partner, interpreting this role beyond the simple provision of banking services and participating as a protagonist through its own pavilion from which it offered visitors a full calendar of events, cultural activities, artistic performances, presentations of companies and much more.
The visibility obtained thanks to this sponsorship on the media and on social networks has rewarded this choice, making Intesa Sanpaolo the first Expo partner remembered spontaneously in the "no food" sector and the "no food" brand deemed most suitable to sponsor Expo. The impact on the image and reputation has been very positive, with a large image gap between those who remembered the sponsorship and those who did not know about it. Actually, according to an IPSOS survey, for 43% of the Italian population the image of Intesa Sanpaolo has improved; this percentage rises to 55% among those who have visited Expo and 61% among the Group's customers.
Participation in Expo has thus contributed to the improvement of the Bank's image, while its reputation improved also among those who were aware of the partnership.
Even the so-called "people of the web" welcomed the Bank’s partnership in Expo and the sentiment of the conversations on Intesa Sanpaolo in connection with Expo has been largely positive, helping to increase the positive sentiment of all conversations about Intesa Sanpaolo.
The positive experience in Expo, marked by the sharing of experiences and emotions, is continuing in the new branch model and in other projects, whose repercussions on the Bank's image and reputation will be measured during the year.
Value of the Intesa Sanpaolo brand
Taking into account the Brand Finance assessments and applying other internal models based on the Hirose and Royalty Relief approaches, values attributable to the Intesa Sanpaolo Group brand come close to 6 billion euro, on the basis of 2015 figures. These values, given the correlation with observable stock market prices, can be indicative although they too suffer the peculiar level of current financial market variables.