How can digital enable a more human and useful bank?

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) are transforming how they do marketing and, as part of this, aim to be the most proactive and useful financial brand in the UK. But for a brand that traditionally takes a mass broadcast approach, they needed a new mindset, beginning with how to approach social media. The starting point for Blue State Digital was obvious: people. Because brands are guests in the social space—and shouldn’t intrude without permission or reason—we should ask people if what we have to say is useful.

So, rather than create elaborate documentation or a five-year roadmap, we quickly outlined some principles and then started doing, taking a fail-fast approach to see what works. Targeted deployments of content and messaging allowed us to get results about what resonated with people in a matter of weeks, short-cutting LBG’s usual launch timelines and quickly delivering learnings to the business.

“What I personally love about working with Blue State Digital is that they feel less like an agency and more like a partner—we can bounce ideas off of each other, they understand our business, and they are experts in this field.”Shailen Joshi, Head of Digital Marketing Communications, Lloyds Banking Group

Rolling up our sleeves

We began with a series of social media content tests for LBG’s much-loved life, investments and pensions brand, Scottish Widows. First, we conducted a social listening snapshot to understand where, how, and why audiences use the social web to talk about pensions. Informed by this, we rapidly developed three hypotheses around messaging and targeting, then created content to bring them to life. We wanted to learn whether we could earn people’s attention and preference by giving them personalised, warm messaging in the places and moments that matter to them.

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This insights-driven test outperformed LBG’s campaign benchmarks for click-through rates and cost per engagement. Equally important, it delivered immediate value in the form of a clear feedback loop from real users, empirical data to guide future campaigns, and growing internal confidence in digital as a tool for testing and learning.

“In ‘test and learn’ you have to move in a lean and fluid way, and those are two words I would absolutely use to describe Blue State Digital.”Shailen Joshi,Head of Digital Marketing Communications, Lloyds Banking Group

Embedding and scaling

All of our projects are united by an approach that prioritises the user and trusts data to lead the way. This requires a shift in mindset and ways of working. In parallel to running pilot projects, BSD has produced tools for LBG’s internal experts, including a social playbook to guide them in producing human and useful content, and participated in a series of “digital expert days” to upskill colleagues across the marketing department. Lessons from all of our work are continually coming in and, combined with a robust test-and-learn measurement framework, are being scaled for maximum impact as digital increasingly becomes more central to the bank listening to and learning from its audiences.

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