Good microcopy will guide people through your website. But great microcopy will get across your brand personality at the same time.

We’ve written about why microcopy matters, and looked at some brilliant canine microcopy on the Dogs Trust website. Now, with NatWest selling its brand as “helpful banking”, we thought we’d see whether the microcopy on finance websites pays its way.

Recently, NatWest has been building its brand around one word – helpful. So, you’d expect them to offer excellent website microcopy. But when we tried out their site we were a bit surprised at what we found.

There were examples of some good microcopy, guiding people as they complete forms; warning about links opening in new windows and explaining the function of search buttons. The surprise was that all the microcopy was very functional, with no creativity or brand personality.

A bit bland? Functional microcopy on NatWest’s eISA application form.

NatWest’s site is generally also very heavy on the words, which tends to bury the microcopy. Not particularly helpful.

Happily, there are other financial websites out there using some great microcopy. Take this example from Moneysupermarket.com.

Moneysupermarket’s engaging microcopy.

The microcopy box in yellow on the right provides an excellent explanation of why the site needs your car registration information, and offers help if you can’t provide it. Proof that stylish, functional microcopy can create credibility and trust.

Equally worth a mention are LV and the Co-op. Both these sites use microcopy to give reassurance. On its travel insurance email contact form, LV reminds you up-front that you need to complete the required fields, and confirms twice that your email address won’t be used for marketing purposes.

The Co-op’s site is similarly helpful, using microcopy on the current account application form to direct you to a more suitable bank account if you have CCJs, and giving a warning about documents opening in a new window.

But the most impressive finance website of those we looked at was Confused.com.

Confused.com uses microcopy to stop you getting, well, confused.

The microcopy there manages to strike the perfect balance of functionality and creativity, showing that while helpful microcopy is good, injecting it with some of your brand personality is even better.

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