Financial Word

Lucian Camp

Brand & Marketing Consultant

Lucian Camp Consulting

Lucian Camp extols the virtues of the “matching luggage” approach to integrated creative marketing communications.
Given that I’ve worked in integrated agencies specialising in financial services since 1985, you won’t be too surprised that I think integration is a good thing in financial services marketing. Integration is a big and multi-faceted subject, but for the purposes of this piece I’m focusing mainly on creative integration. By this, I mean that agencies like mine should be trying to develop communications which do two things at once:
1. Meet their particular objectives without compromise.
2. Are obviously and meaningfully connected to other communications which, taken as a whole, build up a bigger picture of what the organisation is, offers and stands for.
I’m not sure those are the most elegantly worded bullet points I’ve ever written, but even so it seems to me that they contain a truth that’s obvious and indisputable. A number of players, both major and minor, have no intention of disputing it. Icon-driven brands like Churchill and Scottish Widows don’t unexpectedly introduce random cats and Welsh widowers. Halifax always gives you extra, and almost always gives us Howard as well.
Direct Line doesn’t give us anything like as much red phone as it used to, but it does give us a brand idea – “A good deal better” – which it extends across a successfully integrated campaign even though it’s a hard idea to execute. UBS gives us “you and us” which is a thought a lot of us would have liked to have had – but most of us also feel we could have executed a lot more interestingly. But here’s the funny thing: a surprisingly large number of the major players in financial services marketing and communications don’t seem to accept the case for integration at all. This group of rejecters fall into two main camps. The smaller of the two simply don’t buy it. HSBC, for example, has a global brand campaign around its “world’s local bank” strapline that has no serious connection to what it does anywhere else in its communications. These days, sadly, it also has no serious connection with the days when it used to be a good global brand campaign. The current “different points of view” ads are silly, boring, utterly irrelevant to what HSBC does and more to the point obviously untrue. HSBC certainly doesn’t value and appreciate all points of view, least of all the point of view expressed by thousands of sub-prime American mortgage borrowers that they don’t need to repay the money they’ve borrowed from HSBC. But we digress.
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