A black and white landscape
When we started our relationship with Investec Private Bank in 2015, the UK banking landscape was fairly black and white. McBanking for the masses or private banking for the squillionaires. Each a sea of sameness as far as products and services were concerned.
Enter Investec: a challenger private bank from South Africa disrupting the UK’s high net worth banking market. Being brand new to a well established market, it’s fair to say that amongst many of the well-heeled, bowler-hatted brigade of old-school bankers, Investec was rather looked down-upon. Shameful, we know.
However, it was this very backdrop that spurred Investec on in the first place, a backdrop to disrupt, to create new rules, to break the codes of the past and create a new reality for the future.
No exec floor, no offices, no titles, barely any sense of hierarchy. Not a bowler hat anywhere in sight: stand-up banking not sit down banking, entrepreneurs serving entrepreneurs, hungry, ambitious, progressive. That’s the Investec way.
We called this their restless spirit, the heartbeat of the Investec brand and one that didn’t just inform all national external communications, but one that informed their entire cultural transformation programme.
The Value Of Values
The icon of the Investec business was the zebra, an icon that in many ways embodied the restless spirit of the entire organisation. However, underpinning this spirit was a set of values - authentic values - that were drawn from the organisation’s founding principles, inspired by the truths and achievements they enjoyed along the way.
“Four Chairs, Five Founders. Well one of us had best hit the streets and start earning.”
“Time to get your takkies on” (or sneakers as perhaps they are better known outside of South Africa).
- Greater recall of communications than the market leader.
Transforming the brand, from the inside out
Investec has a rich history of doing the right thing and challenging convention, right from their humble beginnings in apartheid South Africa. So we created a ‘Culture Roadshow’ - a series of interviews, events and content designed to remind them of their achievements and shine a light on the restless-spirited behaviour that defines them.
Senior Executives from the Investec Leadership team chaired and hosted Town Halls around all the key offices, both reinforcing the brand’s cultural vision whilst fielding any key questions or clarifications from colleagues. This ensured that cultural transformation was more than just a moment in time but an ongoing journey - principles we still hold dear today and principles that have stood the test of time.
In doing this, we were able to begin building the brand from the inside out. Investec is the private bank run by, and for, those with a glint in their eye. The entrepreneurially-minded. A bank for the restless spirited amongst us.
Capturing the Restless Spirit
To fully engage a small but discerning group (a high-net worth audience earning £300k p.a., or with a net worth of £3m +), we curated restless-spirited ambassadors; accessible entrepreneurs doing extraordinary things, captured in a world of modern aspiration. They asked questions only restless spirits would relate to. And, if they got the questions, Investec would be a private bank that got them.
But because only 5% of people change their bank account each year, we became utterly restless-spirited in creating compelling, ongoing engagement with them. We curated a programme of content and events. Housed on ‘The STAND’, our online content hub, curated to challenge perceptions and conventions on topics that our audience were interested in. All seamlessly integrated and carefully building a high net worth relationship.
- Overall brand awareness increase.
As Good Today As It Was Then
After the first year of the Restless Spirits campaign, Investec boasted 24% greater recall of communications than the market leader on less than half the budget. Plus overall awareness of the Private Bank rose by 20% and hundreds of millions of pounds of business was generated.
But perhaps the true measure of effectiveness is how time has treated our work.
Whilst what we have outlined represents the key building blocks of both a brand and cultural transformation programme, it’s impossible to sustain any transformation unless it is embraced by one and all, so it gathers its own momentum rather than needing to be propped up by a continuum of ongoing initiatives.
Restless Spirits is not only the customer proposition but also the employer proposition too: seamless, coherent, consistent, as any brand and cultural transformation should be.