First Direct are a telephone and internet-based retail bank and forms a division of HSBC Bank plc, based in the UK. With over 1.45 million customers, First Direct are a major bank in the United Kingdom and was awarded Most Trusted Financial Provider by Moneywise in 2019. With a solid marketing tactics history, First Direct was ready to do something different with us.
First Direct needed to attract a younger demographic, building on the existing customer base that it had built when it launched in 1989. The problem was this: how can we talk to a younger, more millennial audience, and how do we build engagement with an audience without them having to consider switching bank accounts.
What We Did
We came up with a proposition and strategy for a product called SaveApp. The app was completely separated from the banking environment – anyone could pick the solution up and use it.
The concept was around ‘virtual saving’, tied into base-level human behaviours around trying to build in nudges and triggers. The idea was that you could save money for a goal or target based on avoiding spending habits that prevent you from reaching your target. So, for example, if you had a weakness for buying a coffee on your way to the office every day, the app would be triggered based on your location to ask you if you really wanted to spend that additional money. The triggers would be either time based or geo-based, and the app would effectively wake up when you needed it to.
You could select an answer on the push notification, and another response would be triggered. The more you said you did want to spend the money, the more the app would remind you about your savings goal. The savings were virtual, so the app was not connected to your bank account. The idea was around changing behaviours and saving money by not spending rather than moving money into bank accounts.
We built a product strategy and value proposition that integrated into the bank’s overall strategy. The Zeitgeist helped work with the team on the behaviours and thinking behind the app, as well as launching the strategy for the app. We took First Direct through our process, leading to the overall outcome.
Outcomes and Solutions
The app did get built and launched on iPhone and Android. It was a five-star app, as well as being downloaded and used extensively. The overall feedback on the app was overwhelmingly positive, with users commenting that their behaviours were genuinely changed.
The strategy behind launching the product ended up helping the brand become more relevant and boosted its exposure. As First Direct aren’t on the high street, it was a worthwhile exercise in getting more eyeballs on their brand and products. The app ended up being a front door for brand awareness and drove customer acquisition.