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Standard Bank 'moving forward', launches staff social network

Standard Bank is no longer "Inspired. Motivated. Involved" but "Moving Forward" with its first integrated global and in-country advertising campaign to support the group's growth in emerging markets, it announced this afternoon, Thursday, 16 July 2009. The bank has also developed an internal social network site, BlueConnection, to enables employees worldwide to connect with each other using features common to Twitter and Facebook. [multimedia]
Standard Bank 'moving forward', launches staff social network
The campaign, masterminded by the bank's global agency TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, launches on Friday 17 July in key markets and is expected to reach about 475 million people in about 30 countries. It will include outdoor (in South Africa, wrapping Sandton City, the CTIA water tower and Gautrain Station), TV, print and digital [web - from macro (www.standardbank.co.za/movingforward) to global and local microsites - and mobile (http://standardbank.mobi)].

While information concerning the cost of the campaign is confidential (competitor info), Standard Bank reported that its marketing budget has remained flat year on year. In addition, Standard Bank had been quiet in the market for the first half of 2009, so in essence the activity has been condensed into the second half of the year.


Standard Bank global advertising launch


Standard Bank global advertising launch - South Africa


Standard Bank global advertising launch - Uganda

Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa Sandton City "Moving Forward" wrap
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa Sandton City "Moving Forward" wrap
click to enlarge

Universal


The brief to TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris was to identify a universal idea that would position the group globally and deliver relevance in each market, product and offering. Standard Bank is positioning itself as connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa, focusing on selected emerging markets around the world.

The marketing challenges were:
  • competing with big global brands
  • an internal rallying cry
  • to resonate with customers
  • to position the bank in cross-border and in local markets
  • economies of scale
  • speedy response to rapidly moving environment
  • to break through the clutter
  • to review its pay-off line
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa OR Tambo International Airport "Howzit" wrap
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa OR Tambo International Airport "Howzit" wrap
click to enlarge
“The new creative campaign delivers on the strategy to move our customers and clients forward through making the right connections. This alignment of business strategy and creative approach is what underpins the new Standard Bank pay-off-line of ‘Moving Forward',” said Standard Bank group marketing and communications director Sarah-Anne Orphanides.

“From a marketing perspective, we support execution of the business strategy by positioning Standard Bank as a single brand, as a globally focused bank with emerging markets at the core, and as a strong regional bank. Our global positioning reflects our group vision, strategy and values. We identified attributes common to all three of our businesses units in order to define the Standard Bank DNA.”

Outdoor: Standard Bank Uganda internal
Outdoor: Standard Bank Uganda internal
Commented Standard Bank group brand director Nikki Twomey, “Financial services advertising throughout the world suffers from a sea of sameness. It is difficult to tell one brand from another. We wanted to create something that was unique, that makes Standard Bank stand out from the clutter.”

Twomey says that “Moving Forward” reflects the benefits for customers and clients - “how we connect the right bits, at the right time, at the right place, in the right way in order to unlock something better and create opportunities that move you forward.”

Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa "Moving Forward"
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa "Moving Forward"
click to enlarge
“How we position ourselves in the markets is a reflection of our vision and strategy, the choices we make and the things we focus on. This global campaign aligns all our marketing efforts to this drive,” added Orphanides.

Global digital firsts for the bank will include:
  • advertising on global news sites
  • placements bought specifically to enable rich media creative
  • microsite targeted at CIB audience that displays its corporate profile in an interactive way
  • launching a corporate blog
  • launching a group mobisite and seven mobisites in key African markets
  • launching an official Facebook social profile
  • launching an official Standard Bank Twitter profile, @StandardBankGrp
  • launching an official YouTube profile
  • advertising on leading international financial blogs
  • advertising on LinkedIn
  • a global search marketing strategy
  • advertising on global mobisites/networks (Yahoo and BBC mobile)
Print: Standard Bank "Flower Seller" – note the QR code in the bottom left corner.
Print: Standard Bank "Flower Seller" – note the QR code in the bottom left corner.
click to enlarge
South African digital firsts will include:
  • QR codes in above-the-line advertising integrated with digital competition
  • Mxit Adventure Game: an interactive ‘choose your own ending'
  • sponsorship of Mxit Moola using ‘message bombs'
  • interactive banners on its SA mobisite
  • radio promotion that integrates online and mobile elements
Print: Standard "Thought to Action" – note the QR code in the bottom left corner.
Print: Standard "Thought to Action" – note the QR code in the bottom left corner.
click to enlarge

Internal alignment


The launch of the global campaign follows an intensive six-month internal alignment process. The full launch to employees also occurred on Thursday 16 July, with
  • a global broadcast to 33 countries
  • a special edition of internal newspaper The Standard
  • ambient media in all key buildings
  • brand activation driving brand engagement with employees
  • the creation of new platforms to engage with employees
Standard Bank sought the views of all 50 000 employees across 33 countries, through an employee engagement survey called Heartbeat, to provide insights into what employees think of Standard Bank, its leaders and chosen direction. The survey, which was conducted by LightspeedResearch The Foresight Group, was translated into five languages (Portuguese, Spanish, French, Russian and Turkish) and had a response rate of 67%.

Outdoor: Standard Bank Zambia
Outdoor: Standard Bank Zambia
click to enlarge
Outdoor: Standard Bank Ghana bus
Outdoor: Standard Bank Ghana bus
click to enlarge
Outdoor: Standard Bank Uganda external
Outdoor: Standard Bank Uganda external
click to enlarge
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa OR Tambo International Airport
Outdoor: Standard Bank South Africa OR Tambo International Airport
click to enlarge

“We wanted our people to help shape our future and the feedback has and is being used to build connections with our employees,” said Orphanides.

Along with launching BlueConnection (www.blueconnection.com), Standard Bank executives recently hosted 58 road shows in 26 countries at 33 locations around the world to connect with more than 35 000 employees and to share insights into the group's history and plans for the future.

“The process of aligning employees and bringing everyone on board is critical to the success of our mono-brand strategy and defined positioning,” stated Orphanides. “We launched this effort with a high degree of confidence that employees around the world understand what is expected of all of us to deliver to our customers and clients.”

Global collaboration tool


BlueConnection was created by Brandsh Media, Standard Bank's mobile and social media agency, with design by Tequila (the digital arm of the TBWA\ group); it is hosted and maintained by AquaOnline. It runs on Drupal, a open-source content management system. It went live in mid-June using a phased approach and so far 38 650 employees have been loaded, with 11 972 having registered and begun using the platform. There are currently 3214 users who actively engage on the platform every day. Traffic has risen steadily since launch, with over 28 200 “Chirps” posted up until 14 July.

Explained Bellinda Carreira, senior manager online and direct marketing at Standard Bank, “BlueConnection is a global collaboration tool that enables Standard Bank employees to make meaningful connections with colleagues wherever they are. These connections can be based on any aspect of the business or social affiliation where employees have a shared interest.”

Employees are able to send messages, dubbed “Chirps” by Standard Bank (a la Twitter), that can be viewed by everyone in a person's network, with responses seen in real time. The chirps are threaded, with the ability to reply, send a direct message, report as inappropriate, etc. One can also see visually who is connected to whom and the number of connections. As the social network grows, ‘Chirp streams' will be built up around topics, individuals, forums and the formation of special interest groups.

Added Carreira, “BlueConnection has been launched to support a clear objective to move the organisation forward through making the right connections. Social media platforms are proving to be wonderful innovations, but in our case we had to be sure that we adopt new technology for more than its own sake.”

For Standard Bank, key to creating stronger teams is a commitment to employees being connected and talking to each other. Carreira sees BlueConnection as a tool to help employees to move beyond the bounds of traditional business areas or job functions and so improve the frequency and quality of communication.

TV ad screengrabs: Global
TV ad screengrabs: Global
click to enlarge
TV ad screengrabs: South Africa
TV ad screengrabs: South Africa
click to enlarge
TV ad screengrabs: Ghana
TV ad screengrabs: Ghana
click to enlarge
TV ad screengrabs: Uganda
TV ad screengrabs: Uganda
click to enlarge


Early adopters


The network is open to all Standard Bank employees and contractors with access to a web connection or a WAP-enabled cellphone, and can be accessed from work or home. Profile photographs enable employees to put a face to comments, irrespective of where in the world a colleague works. Use extends to the highest levels: early adopters include Standard Bank group chief executive Jacko Maree, deputy chief executives Peter Wharton-Hood, Ben Kruger and Sim Tshabalala; Clive Tasker, chief executive, Standard Bank Africa; Peter Schlebusch, chief executive, Personal and Business Banking South Africa; and Sarah-Anne Orphanides, group marketing and communications director.

Carreira stressed that use of BlueConnection is not restricted to traditional business topics. “We recognise that employees share any number of social, cultural or sporting affiliations. Working life is seen more broadly today, and we encourage the building of connections and groups that facilitate communication among employees,” she said.

Since it is a business platform, however, using it as a dating platform, for example (a common tendency with computer-mediated communication programs), is discouraged, especially since all communication is public, Bizcommunity.com was told. Neither is Standard Bank management policing the communication but allowing the network to develop its own culture and customs and to develop organically, driven by the users themselves - a very unusual and brave step forward for a large financial corporate.

When asked for comment on Twitter, Asha Ranchod, Standard Bank online campaigns manager, told Bizcommunity that employees are “loving it! As with most corporate, social networking sites [are] blocked here. This gives every[one] a platform [to] interact [and] share info. [It's been widely accepted by all countries [it's] been rolled out in. [It's too early to] assess [the] impact on productivity, but [the] metrics [have been] put in place.”

The entire process, including reviewing the DNA and conducting the employee engagement survey which were part of defining the new positioning and pay-off line, began 18 months ago.

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Last updated: 20 July 2009 15.18pm

About Simone Puterman

Simone Puterman (@SimoneAtLarge) is currently editor-at-large at Marklives.com and deputy chair of the Sanef online editors subcommittee. After majoring in psychology and linguistics at Rhodes University, and then completing her honours in psychology, she has been in the world of B2B publishing since 1997, with 7.5 year stints at both WriteStuff Publishing and Bizcommunity.com (March 2006-August 2013). Email her at moc.sevilkram@enomis.
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