The Impact of Advertising on Retail Banking in Terms of Increasing Brand Awareness: A Case Study of Halifax UK

1.0 Introduction

Banks generally, have a tendency to push what they consider to be exact preferences of the customers rather than allowing the customers to choose their preferred products.  However, by not being able to satisfy the exact banking demands of the customers, the banks might lose out on its current customer base. In this respect, Wong and Amrik (2003) pointed out that the priorities of individuals keep altering as they progress in life and so do their financial services. In the contemporary banking era, customers are inclined to experience retail banking services. Instead of travelling far, customers use local branches of larger commercial banks. The several services offered by the retail bankers: saving and checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit/credit cards and certificate of deposits (Rajh, 2005).  Banks generally prefer to include retail banking options in order to offer an one-stop shop for many financial services, thereby, building its equity and preference among customers.

However, in order to distinctly identify a particular service from that of its competitors, advertising is of immense significance. Kangis and Passa (2007) revealed from a study that ads have a clear and positive impact on brand awareness.  The several promotional campaigns leaves an indelible impression in consumer’s mindset that eventually influences to prefer a bank’s service over the other. Thus, several banks offering homogenous services are able to create awareness and interest for its product and services, using several tacticalpromotional ad campaigns. Although, the choice of a specific ad campaign is significant (depending on its reach), yet it can be deemed an effective tool to reach out to wider mass, thereby, increase sales.

1.1 Rationale of the study:

The choice of advert policies for retail bankers is critical as a single strategy might not be efficient enough to influence the decision making of the entire population. Retail bankers of UK are large by number and are using tactical policies to attain market edge (Berger and Nasr, 2008). Thus, the use of varied promotional policies in order to impact the consumers’ decision making will ultimately prove to be profitable for the retail bankers. However, prior market research to identify the reach and effectiveness of advert policies, that could at times be time consuming and costly. Frequent alterations in advert policies might result in some mismanagement and often beyond the capability of smaller retail bankers. Considering this issue, the study tries to evaluate the effectiveness of advert policies for brand awareness building.

1.2 Study Background:

The precedence of retail bankers in UK has been since ages. However, the increasing presence of retail bankers has intensified the competition level. The retail bankers are currently using several advert policies in order to carve an identical market image (Rajh, 2005).  However, greater focus is on using the virtual media as a result of its wider reach. Although, the latter fact is true yet traditional advert policies cannot be avoided. Among all factors that catalyses brand awareness, advert strategies can be termed to be quite significant. Such policies is considered to build an inclination among the customers to experience the current offerings of the brand.  

1.2 Research Aims:

The study will aim at evaluating the significance and influence of retail banking for increasing brand awareness. The research will therefore concentrate on how far bank’s equity and awareness can be developed by the process of retail banking. The specific focus of influence of retail banking will be on the customers of UK towards Halifax bank.

1.3 Research Objectives:

The following will be the proposed objectives for the study:

  • To identify the variables influencing advertising in retail banking sector of UK.
  • To determine the variables impacting brand awareness in the retail banking sector of UK
  • To assess the impact of advertising over brand awareness of Halifax, UK
  • To suggest measures to improve advertising efforts for advancing brand awareness.

1.4 Research Questions:

The concept of retail banking has gained significance in contemporary banking era. Although, customers prefer retail banking, there is still some lag in terms of how far the current concept of building brand awareness. So, finding out the answer of the following research questions can assist in fulfilling the research objectives:

  1. To identify the variables influencing advertising in retail banking sector of UK.
  • What are the variables influencing advertising in general?
  • What are the variables applicable for the retail banking sector of UK?
  1. To determine the variables impacting brand awareness in the retail banking sector of UK
  • What variables impact brand awareness in general?
  • What are the variables that impact brand awareness for the retail banking sector of UK?
  1. To assess the impact of advertising over brand awareness of Halifax, UK
  • What are the current advert policies used by Halifax, UK?
  • In what ways Halifax, UK been able to build its awareness through its advert policies?
  1. To suggest measures to improve advertising efforts for advancing brand awareness.
  • How can advert policies be developed for better brand awareness?


2.0 Literature Review:

2.1 Retail banking

Recently, retail banking has become one of the key areas of strategic prominence in the banking industry. For evidence, according to Albers (2008) with the rising trend of retail banking, number of retail loans and deposit shares of commercial banks have increased gradually. The foremost notion of the banking sector is to broaden its products, diversify revenues, alternative delivery channels for the branches, and to provide a variety of financial services to all types of corporate, retail and wholesale customers (Bagozzi et al.2009). In order to experience mass coverage, strategic promotional efforts should be made by the retail bankers.

2.1.1 Factors influencing advertising

The success from advert measures can be ensured only if few factors are borne in mind. These factors would help in nurturing the chances of effective promotion of the current offerings thus resulting in brand awareness building.

Beatsonand Gudergan (2008) referred that the factors that influences advert policies for retail banking sector are: frequent accessibility of advertising campaigns, scale of creative production of product and service promotion, choice of advert policies based on sales and social media ads. Keeping the latter factors in mind will help the retail banking marketers to devise suitable policies to reach across wider mass and be able to motivate the consumers to experience the offerings.

2.2 Brand Awareness

Bolton (2008) referred brand awareness as the strength of a brand’s presence in the mind of the consumers. A brand can be considered to be high on awareness if consumers’ could easily recognize the brand or is often recalled at the time of purchase. However, brand awareness is dependent on few factors that catalysis the chances of earning high market awareness.

2.2.1 Factors influencing brand awareness

Brand awareness is dependent on several factors namely: brand name, advertising, celebrity, sales promotion offer, public relations and the parent company (Phillips and Furniss, 2008).  The latter factors influence the consumers to develop a positive brand perception, thereby, being the first recall during purchase. Halifax being already a reputed retail banker might not have to deal with recognition issues. It has the advantage of being a noted retail banker of UK (The Guardian, 2014). However, the factors are supposed to be taken care off as each has a significant influence on building brand awareness in the market (Penn, 2009). Although, it might be difficult to give equal weight to each of the factors, yet efforts must be made to incorporate all the latter factors while framing advert policies for Halifax, UK. Soon, the brand will turn to be the first recall of the retail banking customers.

2.3 Impact of advertisement to build brand awareness

Advertisement is an integral component for the development of the brand, especially in the financial sector (Bolton, 2008). The information that is being promoted via the web source can help in distinctly identifying the same over its counterparts. The networking service helps the business to create a concrete ground for the marketing through cross linking and visibilities, results in customer relationship management.De Mooijand Hostede (2010) explained that in the modern times, the techniques adopted by the advertisers to promise the brands are though brand activities. With the help of campaigns, ‘Above The Line and Below The Line’ activities the brand can occupy a unique stand on the mind of the consumers. The latter policy will thus prove effective for businesses in banking sector with two way communication with the customers, hence, resulting in brand value and strong brand loyalty.

The current advertising campaigns of Halifax UK are: “staff as stars” and “extra” which have assisted the brand in developing its product and service awareness amongst the amongst the target customers (, 2014). However, the possibility to attain wider reach with the current advertising strategies can be highly doubted. Although, the brand has strategically made its presence felt in the virtual media, yet it has not been able to promote its services across a global customer base (Czepiel, 2009). Several customers are still unaware of the current branches of Halifax.

2.4 Advertising measures to build awareness of retail banking services

The sole objective of an advertisement is to ensure the best visibility of the bank’s own products. In order to achieve the latter purpose the banking brand has to come across some advertising measures. These measures count on firstly, Social media presence, with the help of which the financial sector can spread awareness amongst its frequent visitors about its presence of branches and the offered products.  Second is the, strategic use of the web, where the majority of the businesses are based online, hence the bank can promote its awareness through websites (Holt, 2005). However, the technique will help in improving the search engine optimisation of the company, thereby, helping to track the traffic over the internet. This will help in devising customer centric policies for turning them loyal towards the brand. Thirdly, by advertising through traditional methods, banking brand can widespread its current products and services across global customer base. However,in the opinion of Dunlop (2004) the use of print media has declined over the time yet the considerable consumers still prefer the same over virtual channels. Therefore, the retail bankers can use print and other advert policies in order to increase its awareness amongst the target mass.

2.5 Conceptual framework:



Figure: Conceptual model

(Source: self-created)


3.0 Research Methodology:

In order to gather detailed data on the present topic, the researcher would prefer using mixed data collection method. Brannen (2009) determined that mixed data collection includes the data collection via both quantitative and qualitative method.  Although, qualitative might be time consuming, yet it helps in detailed and descriptive data collection on the research subject. Besides the latter details, quantitative questionnaires have been distributed among the chosen sample in order to identify the influence of advert policies on building brand awareness among the banking customers of UK.

3.1 Types of Investigation:

Exploratory nature of investigation will be used in the study. Cameron (2009) referred that exploratory research is considered to explore the research questions and to attain a detailed idea of any past research subjects.  Both the concept of advertising and retail banking has evolved since ages.  However, gap lies in how advertising can be made use of increasing brand awareness. The current choice of investigation will help in detailing the present concept, thereby, assess and recommend ways by which Halifax; UK can experience better awareness amongst the banking customers of UK.

3.2 Data collection method:

Both primary and secondary data have been collected for the present study. Corner (2002) referred,while primary data are original by nature and collected from the chosen respondents, the secondary details are mostly past studies and studied facts of pervious authors.  The primary data have been collected from the chosen respondents. The quantitative data have been collected via sending over questionnaires via email. However, the qualitative details would be accumulated through face-to-face interview process.  Contraryto the latter, the secondary details will be collected from: books,journals, blogs, and websites and company reports.

3.3 Sampling method:

Both probability and non-probability sampling will be used in the current study. In order to prevent timeand being biased-free in quantitative data collection, the researcher will opt for probability sampling process. Freshwater (2007) mentioned that simple random process gives equal chances to the entire population to be a part of the studyand has chances to be selected, based on  the random selected samples. So, simple random samplingprocess will be considered for the purpose of selecting considerable data within the set time frame. However, purposive sampling would be considered for selecting qualitative respondents. The choice of purposive sampling is effective to gather data details from respondents having prior knowledge on the present subject.

3.4 Accessibility issues:

In order toprevent the chances of accumulating non-valid data, the researcher would prefer to collect relevant details from the virtual media.  Relevant secondary details regard the significance and impact of        advertising on retail banking sector of UK will be gathered from web. On the other hand, the primary details will be collected through internet based questionnaire survey.  Doingso is considered to facilitate in the process of fulfilling the research objectives.

3.5 Ethical Issues:

Johnsonet al. (2007) supported, the maintenance of ethical considerations for the purpose of ensuring that the research is being collected in an accurate manner and wholly error-free. For the present study, the researcher will make sure that the primary data is not manipulated and the respondents are not being forced to respond in a certain chosen way.  The purpose of data collection will be cleared in advance and the accurate details of both the respondents and Halifax, UK will not be made public.

3.6 Data Analysis plan:

The process of analysing both the quantitative and qualitative data will be different. The quantitative responses will be collected by MS Excel. Graphs, charts and tables will be used for the purpose of analysing the same. However, the responses will be calculated by percentage measure.  The percentage will be used to devise the response graphs and charts.  Against the latter process, the qualitative details will be collected and detailed by a descriptive manner.

3.7 Research limitations:

The research is prone to face the following limitations for the study: the respondents might consume enough time to fill-in the questionnaires and return within the set time frame. The respondents might also feel reluctant to respond to all the questions. Also, it might be difficult to complete the entire study within the set time frame. Collection of secondary data might also be time consuming, besides finding it difficult to screen the relevant details.


4.0 Anticipated Findings:

In an exploratory research, the researcher anticipates the findings and measures the same by applying empirical data in the research model. The main anticipated findings of the study are that the customers develop a good or bad perception depending on its current promotion features. Although, not all advert policies might have the same level of reach or influence on target mass, yet the same is considered to of help in developing the brand’s USP in the market. Within the homogeneous UK’s retail banking market, advertising policies is deemed to help its players like Halifax to widely promote its services, thereby, enhance its values amongst  the country’s banking customers. The several online promotional tools is considered to assist a brand in enhancing its potentiality to build a strong market base. However, the traditional advert policies should also be used such that specific retail brand is able to reach out its services across considerable markets and influence them to avail its current products and services. Halifax, UK mainly uses the virtual media to build brand awareness, thus necessitating the use of the traditional channels as well.

5.0 Appropriateness of dissertation structure:

The chosen dissertation structure has been illustrated in the appendix.  The topic has been detailed in the introductory chapter besides setting the aim, objectives and questions. The latter specifications are considered to assist in setting a direction to the research. In the literature review, secondary details will be assessed wherein related theories will include judging the topic and meeting the objectives. Choice of research paradigms will be evaluated in the methodology chapter. In the findings, the primary data will be illustrated. While the quantitative data will be demonstrated, the qualitative details will be described.  By the process of data triangulation, theresearcher will conclude the topic in the final chapter.

6.0 Timetable:

Refer to appendix to determine the timetable that would be followed in the potential study.

7.0 Conclusion:

Each of the portions that have been detailed above is considered to lay an effective brief on the process of conducting the potential research. While the aim and objectives is considered to help in offering a direction to the study, the literature review is deemed to help in providing a brief of the studies on the same topic by past authors. The anticipated findings are considered to forecast the expected result of the study.




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Bolton, R. N. (2008), “A Dynamic Model of the Duration of the Customer’s Relationship with a Continuous Service Provider: The Role of Satisfaction”. Marketing Science, 17, pp. 45–65

Brannen, J. (2009) ‘Prologue, mixed methods for novice researchers: reflections and themes, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(1), 8–12.

Cameron, R. (2009) ‘A sequential mixed model research design: design, analytical and display issues’, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(2), 140-152,

Corner, J. (2002). In search of more complete answers to research questions: Quantitative versus qualitative research methods is there a way forward? Journal of Research, 16, 3, 718-727.

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 Dunlop, W. R. (2004). “Retail profits”, Economic Journal, 39, pp. 357-70

Freshwater, D. (2007) “Reading mixed methods research: contexts for criticism”, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), pp. 134-46., (2014). Halifax UK | Bank Accounts, Savings, Loans & Mortgages. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2014].

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Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J. and Turner, L. A. (2007) “Toward a definition of mixed methods research”, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), pp. 112-33

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Exhibit A:


Figure: Dissertation Structure

(Source: self-created)



Exhibit B:

Topics Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Determine aim and objectives.
Determine Research Methodology
Accumulate secondary data
Analyse the secondary data  


Gather primary details
Interpret the primary responses.
Link with the objectives and recommend strategies.


Figure 2: Gantt chart

(Source: self-created)