OPINION: 3 ways to communicate about savings products effectively

Alex Manly

Alex Manly, Movable Ink’s Associate Director of Strategy for Financial Services, UK & Europe

It is of course not news that market volatility and fiscal policy is creating financial uncertainty that households haven’t seen for decades. In fact, this month the FCA released their annual Financial Lives survey, which found that 12.9 million UK adults have low financial resilience (equating to 24% of the UK adult population). Low resilience is defined by the FCA as those who could quickly find themselves in difficulty if they suffered a financial shock – and this was a big jump from 2020. The FCA commented that the increase was less significant this year for those actually experiencing financial difficulty already, based on the theory that many households have put money into savings since the beginning of the pandemic and this spike has created a safety blanket for some households over the last two years. 

We can see this theory reflected in the numbers – Statista highlights the spike in Savings based on proportion of disposable income during the pandemic, rising from 4.62% in 2019 to 13.98% in 2020.

With the combination of inflation, savings rate increases and a spike in expected financial difficulty, consumers up and down the country will be turning to their financial services provider to see how they can keep their rainy-day fund afloat and make the most of their savings.  

And so it’s the financial services brands that now have a responsibility to meet customers where they are and communicate effectively about the products available.

In this article, I’ll highlight three ways brands are taking the lead in their marketing communications:


  • Getting the basics right with accurate rates and personalisation

Synchrony (US) – Rainy Day Savings

With so much volatility in the market, savings rates are arguably front and centre of product marketing plans more than ever.  

If you’re leading the marcomms strategy, you might be delighted that the Product team have crunched the numbers and come-up with a set of market leading rates… Imagine you’re all set and ready to go on the campaign – the website is ready to go live, the mobile comms are in the wings and the emails are set and ready to hit inboxes… And then there’s a shift from the Product team – the rates have changed. It can be time-consuming for marketers to keep-up with rate changes in a fluctuating market, which is why up-to-date pricing can save a huge amount of headaches for the marcomms teams. Instead of updating rates channel-by-channel, an omni-channel approach which leverages instant access to pricing APIs or even a webcrop option (which updates the email price, in line with the website) can ensure that prices going-out to customers are correct at time of open and can create huge timesave wins for marcomms teams. In fact, being able to timestamp email and mobile communications can also give confidence to customers that the rate they’re seeing is fully up to date.

Leveraging up-to-date data in a different way, brands also have the option of communicating with transparency on the maturation date of savings products. We know, from the stats shared by the FCA, that people are going to be even more aware of how much of their ‘rainy day’ funds they have access to, and how quickly.  In communicating new savings products, showcase live information about when the product will come to the end of its term (maturity) if they open an account today. Marketers can complement this strategy with calendar reminders and a countdown to maturity visual to support clear communication.

And finally, getting the basics right doesn’t have to be dull. Elevating campaigns in an engaging way can also make communication clearer. I love this example from US brand, Synchrony Bank, where they observed a 40% lift in CTR by pairing their ‘rainy day’ campaign with contextual targeting which displayed the customer’s weather locally in real time. 

  • Gamifying the saving experience with a prize draw 

Chip Financial – Prize Savings Account

Powered by Clearbank, Chip Financial have taken to the innovation battleground and come-up with a premium bond-style account for the FinTech generation.  Despite rates being some of the highest they’ve ever been in the market, many Savers may be looking at their annual returns against inflation and still feeling short-changed. It’s my view that Chip have thought about how to overcome that for those that may be more willing to take a leap of faith and, instead of an interest rate, be entered into a Prize draw each month to win £10,000.

Let’s bring this to life in real terms. If you have £1,000 in Savings and save £100 per month for a year, in line with the Barclays’ Rainy Day Saver at 5.2% right now [24th October 2022] (you’ll need a Barclays current account and to be part of their Blue Rewards scheme to have access, up to the value for £5,000), you’ll have a pot of £2,287.60 within a year.

In contrast, with the Prize Draw account, if you have the equivalent starting sum of £1,000 and save £100 a month for a year, you’ll lose-out on the £87.60 you’d have gained in interest. However, you would have the potential to win a much higher sum each month – with every £100 saved providing an entry into the prize draw.

I like the way the brand communicates the product too – with all of the intuitive user experience you’d expect from a FinTech in the app, they also create a feeling of community with sharing a recording of the winner’s reaction each month and transparently counting-down to the exact day you need funds in your account to be counted in.

It also provides instant access and is FSCS protected – so the security that you can access your money when you need it will appeal to the 24% of people who are concerned about their near-future financial resilience and FSCS gives peace of mind too, especially as Chip may prompt some question-marks of safety and security as a less well-known name than some of the high street banks. 

While the app and the digital communications are ticking all of the boxes from my perspective (with my marketers’ hat on), the most impressive thing to me is the proposition itself – I’d imagine word of mouth between family and friends could help this go viral.

  • Supporting customer goals across age groups

Revolut – Vaults

Rooster Money – Chores

Brands are looking to support their customers in more personalised ways, by understanding more about their savings goals.  I like the way Revolut’s Vaults provide a way to customise your Vault to specific goals, by setting amounts and deadlines against specific customer-led goals. And it’s not just personal goals – Revolut customers can join together to create Group Vaults which enables accountability towards a specific group goal. I can see how this would be really effective in supporting people to save towards a group holiday, or even for housemates to save towards a quarterly water bill. Ultimately, tracking progress against a specific goal is a great way to build strong engagement and support financial wellness too – a win:win.

But it’s not all about Gen Z and millennials saving towards holidays or household bills… Financial Services brands have been communicating ways to create strong savings habits from a young age for a long time. More traditionally, this has come in the form of help to set-up Junior ISAs.  Rooster Money has taken this one step (actually, quite a few steps!) further and are leaning-in to pocket money, chores and setting savings goals – creating an app that the whole family can engage with.

As part of their Pocket Money Index in 2021, they found that on average, kids are saving 39% of their pocket money income. The number one item to save for is a phone, closely followed by Lego. Pocket money is registered through chores (the top paying chore is washing the car – earning £2.67 on average), Christmas and birthday presents; plus, pocket money incentives for good school reports. 

I love the way Rooster Money has elevated the way Savings and ‘earnings’ are communicated with this young audience group- bringing the whole journey into an interactive learning experience that the full family can get involved with. 

There is a true opportunity for savings products to differentiate themselves at this crucial time for many families and households. Getting the basics right with accurate rates and personalisation, looking at gamifying the experience, and identifying inclusive ways for products to support goals across various segments are all great approaches to consider when communicating your brand’s value proposition.

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