Unordinary Thinking No.39: Finding a Fix for the Forces Finances

I was recently chairing a session at the CrossMedia 2013 conference at London’s Design Centre. The main attraction on my watch was a case study from thereadingroom, the digital activation agency. The case in question was for Moneyforce, a financial education website aimed at helping members of the armed forces personnel improve their financial literacy.

Having read the presentation in advance I was impressed with what had been achieved. The site had been developed to help members of the armed forces personnel become better equipped with money management. Unlike most, given the nature of their employment, the armed forces find themselves between not needing that much money for themselves when on active duty to having a few thousands pounds in their account when they are on leave which then needs to last for the period of the leave, and beyond for their dependents when they return to active duty. Those who don’t manage this situation well often suffer from stress.

moneyfacts

Most financial advice served up to this audience isn’t tailored. Given the size of this diverse group with different levels of attainment and experience, mass financial brands can’t sustain specificity of focus.

But this dedicated site is built around armed forces segment personas which enables visitors to recognise themselves and their financial behavior. This gives the visitor confidence in the advice that is provided, so they are more inclined to follow it through.

The MOD had identified that the number one cause of non-military stress is finances and financial education is often blamed. They needed to do something about it. http://www.moneyforce.org.uk is the result. It seems pretty simple when put like that. But it was only when I met with speaker Jamie Griffiths, Divisional Head at Readingroom beforehand did I fully appreciate just how unordinary an outcome like this being achieved really is.

Whilst the problem was identified by the MOD, it would be fair to say that a detailed ‘customer segment’ solution would not be an approach they have the capacity or funds to achieve given the stretch on budgets and the myriad of other military related challenges on the MOD’s agenda. But that’s exactly what has been achieved.

So how did the ‘top down’ brief end up with detailed customer-centric approach?
The MOD couldn’t achieve this on their own. It was only when an ex-employee started work with Standard Life did they become aware of the CSR focus of the life and protection giant. Funds are built up from policies which have matured but a recipient can not be traced. Standard Life directs these funds towards projects which make a positive impact on society. Recognising the impact of ‘personalised’ financial advice versus a broadcast message, they agreed to fund a more committed approach.

rachel

With this backing, it led to the inclusion of The Royal British Legion who specialise in providing financial assistance and support to the armed forces and are always looking at ways to cost effectively reach their audiences. So they had the content as well as the ear of appropriate supporters such as Dame Kelly Holmes.Readingrooms were the last piece of the jigsaw. Their digital specialty is online user experience. So they spent time with military personnel understanding their specific circumstances and with the RBL matching this to the right advice. This got them to the point of developing several personas, enough for anyone in the armed forces to relate to. Being specialists in experience they also recognised the subtleties of colour choice for a sight which would be aimed at the RAF, Navy and Army alike.So the personas matched the targeted content, providing a specific and relevant content experience for the user and their unique circumstance.

This to me is a great example of a strategic partnership where every party has a differing agenda, which independently they will achieve in an adequate, but probably unsatisfying way. But when they come together they achieve so much more which they can all be proud of and exceeds their individual expectations. And it is this collaboration which is unordinary in its concept and brilliant in its execution.

The evidence of the performance is in the stats Readingroom shared on the day of the event.

More impressive is the type of feedback achieved from site visitors. which demonstrates it’s adding real value to those lives it was intended to make better:

“The information is aimed at young people who perhaps haven’t had a proper wage before. I fall into that category” – Infantry soldier

“I think the information is engaging using real life examples made the issue of personal finance reflective” – Armed welfare officer

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter.Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: + 44 (0)7968 316548.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn Facebook  and Twitter @consultingchris

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