Santander ready to meet the challenges ahead

The initial Santander campaign launched in 2010 and aimed to drive recognition and awareness of the brand following its acquisition and subsequent rebranding of Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester.

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Keith Moor, the bank’s UK brand and communications director, says that the bank is gaining ground “but we are on a long journey. We are continuing to grow and have made good progress since the campaign in terms of awareness and familiarity. According to our own research we were third behind Lloyds and Barclays in terms of unaided awareness in September. Two years ago, we were below everyone – at 10% – and now we are over 50%.

“Sponsorship assets continue to help recognition and awareness. First Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and very recently Rory Mcillroy.”

Moor acknowledges there are challenges to be met, particularly on raising the bar for customer service.

“We do, however, still have to tackle service problems, which continue to be a problem. We have got a lot of things right, marketing wise, but we have let people down on service. But we have taken measures to improve service – moving our call centres back to the UK and putting more staff in branches. We are seeing improvements and have moved up from the bottom of the pile.

“We are seeing improvements in a number of areas, not to the point where we have solved everything but we can see we are moving in the right direction.”

He says the customer trend Santander is identifying in the current climate is the quest for value.

“People are finding things tough. People are looking for value. Whether that is supermarkets or holidays or banking. Not necessarily about savings but about value.”

Moor says that winning the Engage Award was a great validation of the team’s hard work and the way they bought into the strategy.

“People work really hard. The award was just validation that what they did was right. The most important thing is that customers are happy and profit is growing but it is also nice to get a bit of external validation. It says that we all did what we needed to and people from the outside also thought so.”

And if you are hoping to win an Engage Award in 2012 his advice in crafting an entry is clear and concise: “Read the criteria properly, answer the questions being asked and have a compelling story that is proved by data. You can create a compelling story but without data to back it up then people will say it sounds nice but where is the proof?”

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If you think have a compelling case for the excellence of your marketing this year then make sure you enter the Engage Awards 2012 by clicking here. Entry deadline is 17 January 2012.

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