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Aldermore Bank's marketing director on revamping its relationship with the public


By Jessica Davis, Consultant Journalist

September 1, 2017 | 6 min read

Corporate is old news. Tune into any advert or look at The Drum’s marketing blogs for the last six months and you will see creatives talking about adopting a ‘human approach’ to the consumer; social media has painted over the line that separates brand from consumer and creative agencies and restaurants have jumped on the opportunities opened to play with the service they can offer their clients.

But what about the banking industry? Although embracing social media, banks, law firms and hospitals know the serious role they play in the eye of the consumer.

Pamela Brown, Aldermore Bank’s marketing director, has a different vision for the industry that hasn’t broken away from its formal roots, and tells The Drum how she is trying to shake up the banking sector with a complete rebrand and social strategy.

What is Aldermore's new brand strategy?

Our strategy is to connect to ‘go-getters’ (ambitious enterprising individuals) by creating a brand which helps those people seek and seize opportunities in their personal and business life.

What was your vision for Aldermore when you started?

I am inspired by Simon Sinek’s Ted talk, which explores defining your ‘why’ – so when I joined Aldermore I knew that the brand needed to evolve as it lacked a clear purpose. I took Simon Sinek's Ted talk into the board room and shared my observations and the brand evolution journey really started from there.

The vision was to create a brand with a clear ‘why’ or purpose, which would enable us to redefine the brand so that it truly connected to our audience.

Today that means we now have a clear brand purpose – to help people seek and seize opportunities, a new strategy and a refreshed visual identity. We encapsulate all of that in one line 'Banking for the Bold'.

Who are your customers?

We call them the go-getters; they could be running their own business, landlords with multiple properties, consultants, contractors and self-employed or savers looking for the best rates. The unifying thing about these people is their attitude to life – enterprising and ambitious.

Why did you decide on The Edit, an online blog, as part of your marketing strategy?

We want to create a community where go-getters can come to read content that is relevant to them in their lives, which could be about taxation changes affecting landlords or helpful information on funding options for small businesses. The Edit is a hub for interesting, thought-provoking content.

We were very single minded about what we wanted – a blog that would resonate with our target audience. This forms part of our new marketing communications strategy which you’ll see move from next month.

What results are you hoping to achieve?

We want The Edit to be known as the place that Britain’s go-getters go to for support, inspiration, motivation and information. The goals we have set to understand whether we achieve are readership and engagement levels.

It's early days since The Edit went live but are you seeing some good results?

It is early days, and we can share more on results in the future. What is interesting is the positive impact The Edit has had among our colleagues. It is another example of our new brand being used to reinvigorate various financial content pieces which otherwise can often be presented in a more formal corporate style.

What have been the challenges in creating this platform?

One of the things we did debate as a digital marketing team was deciding what to do with the existing legacy content which is on our resource centre via our website. There are over 200 articles in the resource centre so this gave us a few options – scrap it, keep it there for SEO benefits or transition slowly. As ever, each option had merits and drawbacks, and there was certainly some healthy debate among the team. In the end we decided to transition over time – have both The Edit and the resource centre live while we transition over content which has higher engagement levels to The Edit and close down content that doesn't.

This really does help us from a site SEO perspective while helping us bring to life the new brand through future content.

How have your previous experiences helped you shape how you approach the market?

At Hive, we were single-minded in our marketing – we were clear about what the brand stood for, who it stood for, the product benefits and the creation of a catchy and memorable creative campaign. So, at Aldermore it wasn’t just about refining a typically financial services brand – it was about creating something different that not only stood out but stood for something that connected with its audience in a meaningful more emotive way.

What would be your advice to any brands hoping to reach out more to customers through social?

Strategy for social is so important because once you nail that then the execution ie the content or social assets is the easy and fun part because you know why you are doing it, who it is for and what you hope it will deliver.

Here are my three simple steps to developing a strategy: first, clearly define why social media is the right channel for your product and brand to connect with your audience. Second, set yourself a clear goal – it could be to drive engagement, drive traffic to your website, create a new community, be a thought leader in your field or to bring your brand's personality to life. And third, ensure that your content and social activity covers areas of interest for your selected target audience and enables you to tell your brand story through that activity. Hopefully by doing that your social activity will cut through, resonate and create the desired response from your target audience.

Pamela Brown worked with communications agency TVC Group to develop The Edit, which features six channels: spotlight (customer stories); perspective (opinion pieces); insights; pulse (industry and corporate news); useful guides and tips for SMEs and a broker channel.

TVC is also supporting a paid partnership Aldermore has with The Guardian Small Business Network, producing thought-provoking digital content for an SME audience.

Aldermore is a specialist lender and savings bank which mainly lends to small and medium enterprises, where Pamela Brown has been marketing director for two years.

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