Purpose, pride and content: TSB’s holy trinity

February 6th, 2018

TSB local prideTSB has set out its stall as a challenger bank, differentiating itself from its high-street rivals and former parent Lloyds Banking Group. It sees content as a critical way to bring its brand to life. Bian Salins, TSB’s Head of Social, and colleague Enrique Rodriguez talk about the bank’s use of content — and why it has just joined the CMA.  

The best way to understand the TSB’s approach to content is through the story of Rhandir Singh Heer, whose Midland Langar Seva Society charity provides food for the homeless. Rhandir, as everyone calls him, was the 2017 winner of the Pride of Birmingham TSB Community Partner award.

The award is part of the larger Pride of Britain (PoB) event, which TSB has sponsored since 2016 and around which a core part of its content strategy sits.

Rhandir’s award exemplifies the TSB’s unique approach to banking, while its expression in video and social media demonstrates its use of content to bring the brand proposition to life across multiple channels.

But first, a quick potted guide to TSB. It was spun out of Lloyds Banking Group in 2013 with a mandate to act as a challenger brand. It has a clear purpose and brand proposition: to provide local banking for Britain. Underpinned by an ethos centred on people helping people, TSB wants local people, businesses and communities to thrive. TSB’s sponsorship of the Pride of Britain awards, which celebrates the achievements of ordinary Britons who do extraordinary things for their community, is a critical way of demonstrating that purpose.

Now let’s hear Bian Salins, TSB’s Head of Social-Digital, and Enrique Rodriguez, social media content producer, talk about the TSB and content.

Q: Bian, how does the TSB see content?

Bian Salins: “We’re focused on laddering up our content to a single strategy, and that is to bring the brand to life.

We have a purpose, which is based on helping local communities to thrive. In essence, that means helping people help each other. We demonstrate this purpose in various ways, one of which is our Local Charity Partnerships programme — through this we support over 500 local charities, chosen by our branches every year.

Underneath that purpose umbrella, we also operate from a principle that the brand calls ‘Plusness’. This is about helping consumers spend, borrow or save well by ensuring that we put in more than we get out. This runs through the way we build our propositions.

Those propositions sit alongside our challenger-bank agenda, which involves offering more competion, being transparent, a commitment to diversity, and taking away sales targets so our partners [staff] are encouraged to help rather than sell.”

Q: And where does Pride of Britain link into that?

Bian Salins: “Our partnership with Pride of Britain and pride of Sport is another way of delivering our brand purpose and supporting local communities by celebrating the heroes that go the extra mile.

For example, that mural of Rhandhir was a celebration and, because we helped him on his next stage to get a mobile kitchen, a way to demonstrate our support for his charity.

It’s all about individuals who make a difference, and by celebrating these individuals and then supporting our TSB Community Award Winners in their next steps, we see the bank as making a difference too.

Now we’ve added yet another stream to our support for local communities. This is the charity Sported, where we support its efforts to help community sports clubs.”

Q: Why is content so important in financial services?

Bian Salins: “I think it’s partly about bringing a human side to what many perceive as a faceless industry. It’s no secret that trust in banks is low and yet most people stay with the same bank for a long period (if not all!). So content has an important part to play in helping re-establish that trust.

For the TSB, apart from showing our support for local communities, it’s also a way of bringing the challenger idea to life: consumers may not always know what you mean when you are a challenger bank.

But if, through our content, we are able to explain how acting in the interests of the consumer is so important to changing the face of the industry and by telling narratives about real people, we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

The content is a way of proving our commitment to our brand values: Transparent; Straightforward; Responsible; Collaborative; and Pioneering.”

Q: Enrique, to what extent is your content campaign-led or always-on?

Enrique Rodriguez: “It’s both. We support brand campaigns with social media content, but we also produce content year-round which could be linked to a cultural or topical calendar, or a financial one, and indeed to PoB and now Sported. We work with the Dentsu Aegis network as well as other partners to bring this to life.

When it comes to our owned website, the bank also produces content like The Straightforward Money blog, financial guides designed to help consumers manage their money but without any hard sell.

But whatever it is, every item of content we produce has to be connected to our brand values.”

Q: Tell us about the channels you use.

Enrique Rodriguez: “We’re across everything, from YouTube and Facebook to Instagram.

But we don’t use them the same way. YouTube content is longer-form than Facebook. It’s a different medium, and you’ve got to grab people in the feed immediately and make your content shareable.

We use paid and organic distribution, and we track everything we do. Engagement is our key metric, but in Facebook that’s more likely to be measured by shares and likes, whereas on YouTube, where the content is less interactive, view-through rate (VTR) is the key measure.”

Q: What have you learnt about the different platforms?

Enrique Rodriguez: “We are very clear about who we are creating content for, why they would consume it and then finally what you have to do.

In terms of creative, the content has to convey a strong message and be very visual. Second, shorter content works better than longer – within the context that it has to be as long as it needs to be. Third, we are not there to entertain; whilst we may use humour, we understand that people don’t always want that content from their bank – so we get our message up front very fast.

Q: Bian, the TSB has just joined the CMA. How did that come about and what do you expect to get from your membership?

Bian Salins: “We got shortlisted for a CMA award last year [Best Annual Content Strategy]. We didn’t win, but we were still delighted to get shortlisted in year one of our strategy. When we went to the awards we saw it was a much bigger community than we initially realised and made the decision to be part of it.

I did think the awards helped me understand what good looks like on a global scale. That’s important to us as we don’t just want to be the best in financial services, but across any category. The CMA will help us get a sense of this, and allow us to talk to the people who produce brilliant content and innovate in this area.

If you’re exposed to this great content, then you become less insular. I have a team of six, and they understand content. But we want the whole bank to embrace it, and membership is a great way to spread the word internally by going along to events and staying connected.”

To find out how your organisation could benefit from joining the CMA contact Catherine.Maskell@the-cma.com

Commissioned by The CMA   

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