A Yonder Whitepaper series
Vulnerable audiences

How to reach, engage and support vulnerable audiences

Get in touch for more information

A stark rise in the number of vulnerable customers has seen the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issue guidance for businesses to act fairly in support of audiences who need extra safeguarding. As the socio-political environment in which businesses operate continuously evolves, the definition of ‘vulnerable’ customers continues to adapt. A vulnerable customer is seen as someone who’s especially susceptible to harm due to their personal circumstances, age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect. With the cost of living rising, the number of people falling into this category is increasing drastically.

Financial vulnerability: a growing audience

The term ‘vulnerability’ has become vastly nuanced in recent years. Post pandemic, and in the midst of a cost of living crisis, a high percentage of the population is experiencing even higher levels of vulnerability than ever before, with 13% of UK households now living in fuel poverty. Their change in circumstances is blurring the lines of longstanding demographic segments that have previously enabled businesses to understand their audiences.

Given this growing nuance – and growing demographic – all businesses must now consider that the majority of their customers may be struggling, and may have changing needs, even if they don’t tell you.  Vulnerability is not something audiences outwardly project, especially as many forms of vulnerability are invisible or entwined with other vulnerabilities, be they financial, medical or age-related.

But this is no excuse for businesses to turn a blind eye. Businesses have a responsibility to understand (not assume) the true needs of their vulnerable audiences, and to use this insight to design appropriate products and solutions to better serve their customers. This, in turn, helps growing numbers of vulnerable customers through the difficult times we now face. With this in mind, how can businesses both reach and support vulnerable audiences in ways that are helpful and productive for all involved?