Independent research has shown that customers who feel that they are the centre of value-added communications are more likely to identify with the brand and utilise its offerings.
Findings from independent research account for the great strides Standard Bank has made in its efforts to become more customer centric during 2014. At the centre of the success was a total change in strategy that saw the customer being placed at the heart of marketing and communications.
The customer centric approach
“In line with our customer centric approach, we adopted a new marketing strategy that relied on branded content integration and product placement to increase brand visibility and customer engagement.
"This resulted in an increased uptake of our financial offerings amongst customers. Examples of this include a 48% increase in the use of Standard Bank’s AccessPoints, a 45% increase in the use of debit cards for purchases, and a 55% rise in the use of money transfers,” says Jacqui Carnelley, Head of Marketing and Communications at Standard Bank Personal and Business Banking South Africa.
Today, financial institutions aren’t just competing against each other, but with all companies that seek to engage customers in a unique way through new technologies, enhanced service experience and innovative ways of communicating with customers.
“How you differentiate yourself will not rely solely on the service channels you offer customers, but increasingly on how individuals experience your brand promise. You really have to talk to customers as if they are the only person you are talking to,” explains Carnelley.
Using the right channels to communicate
Further to this financial institutions have a key role in educating and informing customers on the best way to manage their finances, as well as answering government’s call for responsible lending.
“The challenge lies in using the right channels to communicate these important messages to our customers in a way that they can easily identify with. This resulted in our investment in an integrated radio and TV strategy using product placement and financial advice,” says Carnelley.
Integrated branded financial content and information on Standard Bank’s offerings was woven into the storylines of TV soaps Isidingo, Muvhango and Isibaya.
The same strategy was applied for Standard Bank’s own radio soap, Iketsetse-Zenzele (Do It Yourself), which is broadcast on SABC and community radio in 10 languages.
Touching lives through telling stories
This strategy was piloted in 2013 and due to its success Standard Bank increased their investment in 2014. According to Carnelley this is probably the biggest commitment to a TV and radio branded content strategy in South Africa to date.
“Our marketing campaigns focus on the lives we touch and aim to tell a story. This form of marketing to drive messaging makes sense as customers were spoken to in their own languages. Equally customers could identify with the financial offerings due to the easy access of ‘touch points’ within their communities,” says Carnelley.
The overall impact of Iketsetse-Zenzele was measured through SMSs received from hundreds of thousands of listeners taking part in Iketsetse-Zenzele competitions. Further engagement was encouraged by enabling fans to download their favourite episodes from Standard Bank’s website.
Best integrated campaign
The unique and strategic approach was rewarded with gold at the AMASA Awards - where it was acknowledged as the ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ for its innovative use of TV and radio soaps. Two bronze awards followed at the Assegai Integrated Marketing Awards.
Standard Bank was also lauded for outstanding use of radio by the Radio Advertising Bureau while Iketsetse-Zenzele was showcased in the RAB publication, ‘Radio Best of 2013’.
2014 saw Standard Bank launching exciting technological innovations to make their customers’ lives easier and make the shift towards becoming more customer focused.
These included Standard Bank’s new app for tablets and mobile, as well as revolutionary mobile payment solutions such as SnapScan and MasterPass. The technology-based, but ‘friendly’ campaigns that followed saw Standard Bank’s #appy advertising being rewarded with Silver at the Assegai Awards
“Recognition of our customer-led marketing campaigns is an important indicator that we are moving in the right direction in helping our customers make progress in the different phases of their lives,” concludes Carnelley.