The Forum Buzz: pandemic mini-budget and political personal branding

Jasmine Butler Burnham

Marketing Manager

The Financial Services Forum

It’s been another milestone week, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pandemic mini budget announced on Wednesday.

Counting a slash on VAT for the hospitality sector, cuts to stamp duty, up to £10 off dining out, a scheme to combat youth unemployment, and an ’employer bonus scheme’ as just some of his new initiatives, there is no doubt that the Chancellor is prepared to make waves to kickstart the economy.

If there’s one thing that has struck me throughout the pandemic and indeed, as a skillfully adept social media campaign was rolled out to support Wednesday’s announcement, it’s how Westminster has truly embraced digital channels and branding. Rishi’s social media posts are all stylishly curated, with his signature becoming a stamp of his brand on each image. His Instagram page is personable, giving a sense of his direction and values.

It was mentioned in the newsletter a few months ago that with Boris’s self-filmed videos (albeit a necessary requisite at the time!) and Jacinda Ahern’s Facebook live streaming, it’s clear that politicians have been unafraid to adopt ‘grassroot’ digital channels to connect and engage with their audience. Without the stage-management of traditional production set-ups, this has the unintended, or perhaps intended, consequence of demonstrating a never before seen vulnerability, and in turn increasing trust.

Love it or hate it, social media and the ‘personal branding’ of employees and stakeholders, is a language we are now all fluent in. Branding has shifted from being the sum of physical assets (an advert, a website, brochure text) and the resulting consumer perception, to being irreversibly intertwined with an exhausting list of always-on digital communication platforms and (unpredictable) human appendages.

In our digital world, there really is no place left for brands, stakeholders or political leaders to hide. The only remaining choice is to make like Rishi, and embrace it.

Five Things We’ve Learnt This Week

1. With prospect of ‘normal’ life being within reach, consumer expectation of service delivery has grown. Many now expect that normal opening hours and levels of service have returned for businesses, MESH reported in their weekly insight piece.

The advice to retail banks is to be reachable, particularly through branches and call centres, to enable a friction-free customer journey and demonstrate presence

2.  ‘During the pandemic, consumers have been increasingly carrying out finance and insurance searches on mobile, with the delta between impressions on desktop and mobile decreasing throughout lockdown’ reported Microsoft’s Phil Jones, Analytical Lead in Finance and Insurance, during a recent webinar with Croud as part of their Croud Academy Live sessions

3.  Furthermore ‘searches including the word ‘best’ have surged, suggesting that consumers are increasingly looking to get value for money by getting the best purchase possible for their budget’, Phil notes.

He adds that top advice for advertisers would be to ‘think carefully about their messaging, in order to tap into these audiences’.

4. Deep-behavioural insights are already lurking within data generated by owned digital platforms. But are you harnessing them to predict audience behaviour and curate 1:1 engagement? Asked Andrew Flook, Head of Asset Management Practice at Episerver, during our webinar yesterday.

5. Finally, with the Awards for Marketing Effectiveness Deadline now extended until Friday 24 July 2020, polish up your entry ready for submission with our Top Tips for Success. Written by judge and founding Awards for Marketing Effectiveness advisor, Malcolm Oliver, these simple pointers should help to maximise your chances of success.

Coming up Next Week

Don’t miss our webinar in partnership with CLEAR M&C Saatchi next week on Wednesday at 3pm, looking at the impact of Covid-19 on financial services brand experiences.

We’re looking forward to being joined by Nicole Zimmerman, Head of Customer & Marketing, Western Union; Will Kingston, Head Of Customer Experience, Close Brothers and CLEAR M&C Saatchi’s Strategy Director for Corporate and Financial Services, John Riley. Geraint Jones, Marketing Director at CLEAR M&C Saatchi will be moderating.

David Cowan is taking a much-deserved holiday, returning week commencing 20 July. But, if there is anything you would like us to help you with or that you need to discuss, don’t hesitate to drop HelenSabrina or I a line.

Have a lovely weekend.


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