Marketing Agency Models New Business

What Lloyds wants from ‘reimagined agency model’ and new experience agency Ogilvy


By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

March 7, 2023 | 7 min read

We explore how Lloyds hopes to change its approach to customer experience as it brings on Ogilvy Experience.

Black horses gallop across Hampstead Heath

Lloyds has shifted its experience account from Havas to Ogilvy / Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds, one of the largest financial services groups in the world and one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, is set to “reimagine” its agency relationships as it looks to focus on developing a stronger customer experience.

After a six-month process, the CX account went from incumbent Havas CX Helia to Ogilvy’s specialist experience arm. Lloyds also expanded its strategy account with indie shop Stick & Twist.

The brief covered the entire LBG portfolio, including consumer banking brands Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and pension provider Scottish Widows.

Chris Davis-Coward, head of customer engagement at Lloyds Banking Group said part of the review was about reconsidering the “traditional, transactional agency model”.

“We needed [a model] that enabled us to collaborate at pace, focused on making bold decisions to enable us to achieve the ambitions we have and the experiences we want to create for our customers,” he said.

Across the company’s owned and digital marketing channels, the marketer wanted work that would “orchestrate exceptional, relevant, deeply personalized end-to-end experiences for our customers to create more engaged, deeper relationships” across its apps and websites.

Clare Lawson, chief exec of Ogilvy Experience, said that offering counterpoints to Lloyds’ initial plans helped bring it through the pitch. “Our approach to this space is to be the most creative, experience company that we can be. What they loved, I think, was the healthy debate and challenge we had with them along the way.”

It also helped that Ogilvy committed to scaling the team dedicated to the account. She said that from the agency’s staff of 120, it expects to build a core client team of 25.

“Ultimately, any agency is about the people and the relationships we have with them. At the center of both appointments was a desire for a true partnership-led approach, a collaborative ethos, and one that enables access to the top talent,” said Davis-Coward.

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A new model

That pitch presaged the way Ogilvy is set to combine with Lloyds’ internal marketing department. According to Lawson, Ogilvy will be working closely with Lloyds’ in-house teams to pilot and pioneer new applications. “In many instances, they need us to be the critical friends that look at where you could take things and makes recommendations and then they may create and or deploy them.”

It will also need to work alongside Stick & Twist on the strategy. The agency's founder Nick Baker, stressed that “autonomy” has been the critical factor in delivering the best outcome so far. He said Lloyds has found “huge value in decoupling strategy and creative. It’s close to having autonomy around that. We don’t own any of the creative processes; we only care about giving them what we believe is the best strategic direction,” he says. The model is wide enough to accommodate both partners, he says. “We’re there to be additive to rather than trying to steal anyone else’s lunch.”

But Lawson also plans to bring consumers into that pioneering process more than in the past. “Our view is you need to bring a group of customers into that ideation. We will do sprints with customers; we get them in at relevant points to stress test what’s good, what works, what doesn’t work and what feels intuitive. Our world is never optimal – we must always iterate – but it means we’re getting as close to optimal and meeting customer needs from the start.”

She also notes that digital channels are increasingly important as financial services brands move away from physical means of engaging with customers; Lloyds is set to close 40 UK brick-and-mortar branches between now and June alone.

“Consumers need frictionless service. You don’t want to be spending any more seconds on that app than you need, you just need the information you need,” she says. “It’s a massively regulated environment, but that’s the beauty of the challenge. The harder the challenge, the more interesting it is and the more we push to make the creativity comes through… otherwise everything gets sanitized.”

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