Encouraging loyalty and retention within Financial Services


The emergence of online comparison sites over the past 15 years has given customers a wider choice when buying financial products online (insurance being a classic example). For brands this means it’s increasingly difficult to connect with customers to provide a positive brand experience. The customer experience is one of the biggest factors for encouraging loyalty and retention.

How can brands improve loyalty and retention?

Developing a predictive customer journey, data-driven model will clearly show how customers really behave and reveal patterns and trends that can highlight who customers are, and when then leave – providing the opportunity to interact with them before they do so.

Acting positively in response to customer needs will improve the customer’s experience. Key triggers for financial decisions such as moving home and retiring, and insight into financial holdings and attitudes, can help brands engage customers with the most relevant offers and information.

Happy and loyal customers

Customer experience is crucial and brands that can ensure their communications are relevant, personal and well-timed will be more successful at keeping customers happy and increasing customer loyalty.

However, it’s not all about discounting and price. Financial services businesses should consider defining those seeking a higher level of service and whether they would be willing to pay more for it. It could well be that in today’s instant online world certain customer segments want reassurance, guidance and increased security and don’t mind paying a little more for it.

Customer experience is king – but marketers still struggle to understand the needs and wants of their audience


In an increasingly connected world, customers expect real and authentic interactions with brands.

To meet these demands, brands are shifting the way they think about “customers” and are starting to think of them as people; people who have real lives, relationships and desires rather than numbers that consist simply of views, clicks or transactions.

Brands that can deliver on these customer expectations know the people who buy and use their products at a deeper, more intimate level. This knowledge goes beyond standard demographics like gender, age or income to include their attitudes, wants and needs.

How do these people spend their time? How do they engage with your brand and with other brands? How do they behave as individuals; not just members of a specific demographic?

A more complete picture of customers

Of course, there is still a place for traditional segmentation techniques – marketers just have to use other data sources alongside them to get a more complete picture of their customers. A more thorough understanding of customers is needed more than ever before. Fortunately, with the number of devices and the connected nature of modern people there is much more data available for analysis.

The future of marketing is driven by sophisticated connected, consumers who expect exceptional experiences every time. Given the choice available to consumers it’s the customer experience that’s become the differentiator. Brands have to work that much harder to win customer loyalty, purchase-by-purchase and engagement-by-engagement.

Customise the customer experience

To stand out, today’s marketers must take a ‘deep dive’ into their customers’ individual preferences and purchase paths to customise the experience around their unique and evolving needs.

You’re only as good as your last interaction, so it’s incredibly important to always get it right. If you don’t give your customer an exceptional experience, other companies will.

Consumers will continue to change. New purchase channels will emerge, existing customers will have new needs and life moments that will change their preferences and new generations of consumers will emerge introducing new trends and opportunities for engagement.

To keep up – and stay one step ahead – we need to adapt and build our businesses to support the customer experience.

New additions to Concert’s client family


We’re delighted to announce the two most recent additions to our growing family of lovely clients.

Last year, the Pearson Pension Plan produced paper communications about the Annual Allowance. This year, they’ve asked Concert help design, develop and deliver a more cost-effective and contemporary online solution to this complex member communication challenge.

We’ve also partnered with the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme who were looking for a creative agency that could understand their desire for a refreshed and reinvigorated brand identity, and deliver it swiftly.

In both cases, what impressed our new clients most wasn’t just our ability, but also our attitude! We feel relationships are best built face to face and we always go the extra mile to make sure we really understand what our clients want, and why!

We look forward to working with both the Pearson Pension Plan and the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme, and helping them take member engagement to the next level.

Concert Consulting appoints Mel Burton as copywriter


A photograph of Mel Burton

Mel is an experienced copy and content writer, specialising in financial services. With a solid marketing background and client, agency and consultancy experience, across all media. He has a proven track record of writing, developing and delivering insight driven, targeted marketing communications that bring the subject matter to life.

He joins Concert with the responsibility for ensuring that copy and content are creative, engaging, and appropriate for the client’s needs and corporate branding.

Mel writes copy and content with clarity, focusing on the member or employee experience and improving readability. With a hands on approach to delivering complex information in a fluent, jargon free, consistent tone of voice, whilst still meeting legal and compliance conditions.

A team player with drive, leadership and motivational qualities.

Prior to joining Concert, Mel has been working as a specialist financial services copy and content writer, working across a varied, diverse client base.

Mel Burton said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Concert, and I am looking forward to helping them deliver communication strategies that change how people think and act, by refining complexity, whilst linking messages directly to identified audiences.”

Quiz – Could you spot a pensions scam?


The law recently changed to help crack down on pension scams but would you spot a pension scam if you saw or heard one? Take this quiz to find out….

https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/pensions-scam-quiz

The importance of accessibility in web applications


What is accessibility?

Accessibility is an approach to designing and building things that considers and accounts for people of all levels of ability. Out in the real-world evidence of accessibility can been seen in most public spaces. Public buildings are designed with ramps for people who can’t manage stairs. Elevator controls are marked with braille and a recorded voice announces the current floor for those who can’t see well enough. Signs use icons and symbols to help people that don’t or can’t read English. The common theme with all these examples is that we don’t assume everyone is the same, with the same abilities, and we make provisions to include as many people as reasonably possible.

So how do we apply principles of accessibility to the development of web applications? The same principles of inclusivity and consideration apply to the design of web applications as with their real-world counterparts. And as with their real-world counterparts the most effective application of accessibility begins at the start of the project at the design stage. While it is possible to retrofit some features of accessibility to an existing development, the same way you can add a ramp to a staircase in a real-world example, considering accessibility from the beginning results in more optimal outcomes. By considering the needs of people with a wide range of abilities, early design decisions can be made where access isn’t limited arbitrarily. Returning to our real-world example, a building could be designed without steps at the entrance, removing the need to add a ramp in later.

The assistive technology that supports the use of web applications has come on a long way in recent years. A significant proportion of computers and web-browsing software support numerous control interfaces out of the box. These include mouse, trackpad, keyboard, touchscreen and trackball. Also in common use is screen reading technology that converts onscreen text to synthesized speech or braille. For all these technologies to work properly the content and user interfaces of the web application must be built to support them. This means writing standards compliant mark-up (HTML) and using WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) attributes appropriately to describe the content semantically. This assists the reading technology in understanding the content presenting it to the user in the most useful and appropriate way.

Use of colour is another important part of accessible design. There are two common misuses of colour in web applications. The first is relying only on colour to convey information. Nearly 5% of all people have some degree of colour-blindness. They might struggle to understand the difference between a successful interaction and a failed interaction if the only indication of success is a change in colour. The second is using colours with insufficient contrast, particularly where text is displayed over a background colour or image. Even people without visual impairments struggle to read low contrast text and may miss an important interface feature or call-to-action.

Why is accessibility important?

If you have a message you need to communicate to as many people as possible then it doesn’t make sense to exclude people from your chosen medium of communication. Building a web application in accordance with principles of accessibility reduces the number of people who are excluded because of their ability. Furthermore, techniques that improve accessibility often improve general usability as well, which is of benefit to everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to building responsive applications designed to work on small touch screens like mobile phones. Another technical benefit is that Google assigns higher search results rank to websites that score well in accessibility tests.

Perhaps the most compelling reason for considering accessibility is that it is the law. The 2010 Equalities Act, and the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act that preceded it, makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people when providing services. Discrimination is defined as not making reasonable adjustments to support everyone, regardless of (dis)ability. What constitutes reasonable adjustments is open to interpretation and will depend on the size of the organisation and the degree to which people will be affected by any failure to provide for them. There is an internationally recognised accessibility framework, the WCAG, that sets out three broad levels of accessibility provision (A, AA and AAA). For the majority of organisations meeting the requirements set out in level AA is usually sufficient.

Archive news articles

Every picture tells a story


Choosing the right images for your Scheme/Plan

Often businesses find it very difficult to choose the right images for their website, social media and other marketing communications. This is particularly the case in service-based industries, but there are still many ways to tell your story visually and capture the members’ attention.

Here are our top 5 tips for choosing images:

  1. Quality not quantity – Use good quality images, if possible use real-life examples (the Committee or your members), if that’s not possible use stock photography which is approved for editorial use.

  2. Avoid clichés – When stock images are the only option available, choose wisely and use pictures which tell a story.
  3. Be creative – Try not to be too literal, instead, suggest the experience or choose a theme.
  4. Show people – Use images of people your audience will identify with ie. images which represent the demographic of your pension.
  5. Always stay true to your brand – Only choose images which fit your core brand values and character (what your business stands for and how you want it to come across to members).

Visual storytelling is a great tool for providing members with a window into your Scheme/Plan. Use it wisely and creatively to build a picture that sparks interest and invites engagement and it will lead to your communications being more successful.

And of course, we’re here to help! At Concert we follow these tips when selecting photography for our own clients projects.

Need some inspiration?

If you need some further inspiration here’s a great post by DIYGenius about visual storytelling with 15 examples, although this is specifically for Instagram, lots of the advice applies to choosing photography in general: www.diygenius.com/brilliant-examples-of-visual-storytelling-on-instagram/

Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd remains in post


Wednesday 24 July heralded a new era for British politics with Boris Johnson’s taking the reigns as Britain’s latest Prime Minister. His first job, to appoint his Cabinet colleagues saw the biggest ministerial shake up in living history.

Whilst Mr Johnson’s appointments will see a number of Government Departments with a new ministerial lead, The Department of Work and Pensions is one of the few where the status quo remains, with Amber Rudd remaining as Minister for Work and Pensions.

In a time of uncertainty, with Brexit still unresolved and Mr Johnson announcing his plans for sweeping changes, the fact that pensions appear to remain stable is welcome news.

Working in Concert


Five people in the Concert Consulting office working on a creative project

We talk a lot about our ‘creative process’ for designing, developing and delivering first-class communications for our lovely clients.

Ever wondered what our creative process looks like? It looks a lot like us in this picture!

Simply put, we get together members of each of our core business areas – consulting, design, digital and production – then lock them in a room and don’t let them out until they have great ideas!

Well, okay, not really – but everything we do starts and ends with great communication. From the moment we take a brief from a client, to campaign and project planning, to delivering to our ‘end users’: your employees and members – it’s all about great conversations and effective communications.

It’s what we do and who we are.

 

Encouraging loyalty and retention within Financial Services


October 2019

The emergence of online comparison sites over the past 15 years has given customers a wider choice when buying financial products online (insurance being a classic example). For brands this means it’s increasingly difficult to connect with customers to provide a positive brand experience. The customer experience is one of the biggest factors for encouraging loyalty and retention.

How can brands improve loyalty and retention?

Developing a predictive customer journey, data-driven model will clearly show how customers really behave and reveal patterns and trends that can highlight who customers are, and when then leave – providing the opportunity to interact with them before they do so.

Acting positively in response to customer needs will improve the customer’s experience. Key triggers for financial decisions such as moving home and retiring, and insight into financial holdings and attitudes, can help brands engage customers with the most relevant offers and information.

Happy and loyal customers

Customer experience is crucial and brands that can ensure their communications are relevant, personal and well-timed will be more successful at keeping customers happy and increasing customer loyalty.

However, it’s not all about discounting and price. Financial services businesses should consider defining those seeking a higher level of service and whether they would be willing to pay more for it. It could well be that in today’s instant online world certain customer segments want reassurance, guidance and increased security and don’t mind paying a little more for it.

Customer experience is king – but marketers still struggle to understand the needs and wants of their audience


October 2019

In an increasingly connected world, customers expect real and authentic interactions with brands.

To meet these demands, brands are shifting the way they think about “customers” and are starting to think of them as people; people who have real lives, relationships and desires rather than numbers that consist simply of views, clicks or transactions.

Brands that can deliver on these customer expectations know the people who buy and use their products at a deeper, more intimate level. This knowledge goes beyond standard demographics like gender, age or income to include their attitudes, wants and needs.

How do these people spend their time? How do they engage with your brand and with other brands? How do they behave as individuals; not just members of a specific demographic?

A more complete picture of customers

Of course, there is still a place for traditional segmentation techniques – marketers just have to use other data sources alongside them to get a more complete picture of their customers. A more thorough understanding of customers is needed more than ever before. Fortunately, with the number of devices and the connected nature of modern people there is much more data available for analysis.

The future of marketing is driven by sophisticated connected, consumers who expect exceptional experiences every time. Given the choice available to consumers it’s the customer experience that’s become the differentiator. Brands have to work that much harder to win customer loyalty, purchase-by-purchase and engagement-by-engagement.

Customise the customer experience

To stand out, today’s marketers must take a ‘deep dive’ into their customers’ individual preferences and purchase paths to customise the experience around their unique and evolving needs.

You’re only as good as your last interaction, so it’s incredibly important to always get it right. If you don’t give your customer an exceptional experience, other companies will.

Consumers will continue to change. New purchase channels will emerge, existing customers will have new needs and life moments that will change their preferences and new generations of consumers will emerge introducing new trends and opportunities for engagement.

To keep up – and stay one step ahead – we need to adapt and build our businesses to support the customer experience.

New additions to Concert’s client family


September 2019

We’re delighted to announce the two most recent additions to our growing family of lovely clients.

Last year, the Pearson Pension Plan produced paper communications about the Annual Allowance. This year, they’ve asked Concert help design, develop and deliver a more cost-effective and contemporary online solution to this complex member communication challenge.

We’ve also partnered with the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme who were looking for a creative agency that could understand their desire for a refreshed and reinvigorated brand identity, and deliver it swiftly.

In both cases, what impressed our new clients most wasn’t just our ability, but also our attitude! We feel relationships are best built face to face and we always go the extra mile to make sure we really understand what our clients want, and why!

We look forward to working with both the Pearson Pension Plan and the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme, and helping them take member engagement to the next level.

Concert Consulting appoints Mel Burton as copywriter


September 2019

A photograph of Mel Burton

Mel is an experienced copy and content writer, specialising in financial services. With a solid marketing background and client, agency and consultancy experience, across all media. He has a proven track record of writing, developing and delivering insight driven, targeted marketing communications that bring the subject matter to life.

He joins Concert with the responsibility for ensuring that copy and content are creative, engaging, and appropriate for the client’s needs and corporate branding.

Mel writes copy and content with clarity, focusing on the member or employee experience and improving readability. With a hands on approach to delivering complex information in a fluent, jargon free, consistent tone of voice, whilst still meeting legal and compliance conditions.

A team player with drive, leadership and motivational qualities.

Prior to joining Concert, Mel has been working as a specialist financial services copy and content writer, working across a varied, diverse client base.

Mel Burton said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Concert, and I am looking forward to helping them deliver communication strategies that change how people think and act, by refining complexity, whilst linking messages directly to identified audiences.”

Quiz – Could you spot a pensions scam?


August 2019

The law recently changed to help crack down on pension scams but would you spot a pension scam if you saw or heard one? Take this quiz to find out….

https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/pensions-scam-quiz

The importance of accessibility in web applications


August 2019

What is accessibility?

Accessibility is an approach to designing and building things that considers and accounts for people of all levels of ability. Out in the real-world evidence of accessibility can been seen in most public spaces. Public buildings are designed with ramps for people who can’t manage stairs. Elevator controls are marked with braille and a recorded voice announces the current floor for those who can’t see well enough. Signs use icons and symbols to help people that don’t or can’t read English. The common theme with all these examples is that we don’t assume everyone is the same, with the same abilities, and we make provisions to include as many people as reasonably possible.

So how do we apply principles of accessibility to the development of web applications? The same principles of inclusivity and consideration apply to the design of web applications as with their real-world counterparts. And as with their real-world counterparts the most effective application of accessibility begins at the start of the project at the design stage. While it is possible to retrofit some features of accessibility to an existing development, the same way you can add a ramp to a staircase in a real-world example, considering accessibility from the beginning results in more optimal outcomes. By considering the needs of people with a wide range of abilities, early design decisions can be made where access isn’t limited arbitrarily. Returning to our real-world example, a building could be designed without steps at the entrance, removing the need to add a ramp in later.

The assistive technology that supports the use of web applications has come on a long way in recent years. A significant proportion of computers and web-browsing software support numerous control interfaces out of the box. These include mouse, trackpad, keyboard, touchscreen and trackball. Also in common use is screen reading technology that converts onscreen text to synthesized speech or braille. For all these technologies to work properly the content and user interfaces of the web application must be built to support them. This means writing standards compliant mark-up (HTML) and using WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) attributes appropriately to describe the content semantically. This assists the reading technology in understanding the content presenting it to the user in the most useful and appropriate way.

Use of colour is another important part of accessible design. There are two common misuses of colour in web applications. The first is relying only on colour to convey information. Nearly 5% of all people have some degree of colour-blindness. They might struggle to understand the difference between a successful interaction and a failed interaction if the only indication of success is a change in colour. The second is using colours with insufficient contrast, particularly where text is displayed over a background colour or image. Even people without visual impairments struggle to read low contrast text and may miss an important interface feature or call-to-action.

Why is accessibility important?

If you have a message you need to communicate to as many people as possible then it doesn’t make sense to exclude people from your chosen medium of communication. Building a web application in accordance with principles of accessibility reduces the number of people who are excluded because of their ability. Furthermore, techniques that improve accessibility often improve general usability as well, which is of benefit to everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to building responsive applications designed to work on small touch screens like mobile phones. Another technical benefit is that Google assigns higher search results rank to websites that score well in accessibility tests.

Perhaps the most compelling reason for considering accessibility is that it is the law. The 2010 Equalities Act, and the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act that preceded it, makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people when providing services. Discrimination is defined as not making reasonable adjustments to support everyone, regardless of (dis)ability. What constitutes reasonable adjustments is open to interpretation and will depend on the size of the organisation and the degree to which people will be affected by any failure to provide for them. There is an internationally recognised accessibility framework, the WCAG, that sets out three broad levels of accessibility provision (A, AA and AAA). For the majority of organisations meeting the requirements set out in level AA is usually sufficient.

Every picture tells a story


August 2019

Choosing the right images for your Scheme/Plan

Often businesses find it very difficult to choose the right images for their website, social media and other marketing communications. This is particularly the case in service-based industries, but there are still many ways to tell your story visually and capture the members’ attention.

Here are our top 5 tips for choosing images:

  1. Quality not quantity – Use good quality images, if possible use real-life examples (the Committee or your members), if that’s not possible use stock photography which is approved for editorial use.

  2. Avoid clichés – When stock images are the only option available, choose wisely and use pictures which tell a story.
  3. Be creative – Try not to be too literal, instead, suggest the experience or choose a theme.
  4. Show people – Use images of people your audience will identify with ie. images which represent the demographic of your pension.
  5. Always stay true to your brand – Only choose images which fit your core brand values and character (what your business stands for and how you want it to come across to members).

Visual storytelling is a great tool for providing members with a window into your Scheme/Plan. Use it wisely and creatively to build a picture that sparks interest and invites engagement and it will lead to your communications being more successful.

And of course, we’re here to help! At Concert we follow these tips when selecting photography for our own clients projects.

Need some inspiration?

If you need some further inspiration here’s a great post by DIYGenius about visual storytelling with 15 examples, although this is specifically for Instagram, lots of the advice applies to choosing photography in general: www.diygenius.com/brilliant-examples-of-visual-storytelling-on-instagram/

Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd remains in post


July 2019

Wednesday 24 July heralded a new era for British politics with Boris Johnson’s taking the reigns as Britain’s latest Prime Minister. His first job, to appoint his Cabinet colleagues saw the biggest ministerial shake up in living history.

Whilst Mr Johnson’s appointments will see a number of Government Departments with a new ministerial lead, The Department of Work and Pensions is one of the few where the status quo remains, with Amber Rudd remaining as Minister for Work and Pensions.

In a time of uncertainty, with Brexit still unresolved and Mr Johnson announcing his plans for sweeping changes, the fact that pensions appear to remain stable is welcome news.

Working in Concert


July 2019

Five people in the Concert Consulting office working on a creative project

We talk a lot about our ‘creative process’ for designing, developing and delivering first-class communications for our lovely clients.

Ever wondered what our creative process looks like? It looks a lot like us in this picture!

Simply put, we get together members of each of our core business areas – consulting, design, digital and production – then lock them in a room and don’t let them out until they have great ideas!

Well, okay, not really – but everything we do starts and ends with great communication. From the moment we take a brief from a client, to campaign and project planning, to delivering to our ‘end users’: your employees and members – it’s all about great conversations and effective communications.

It’s what we do and who we are.