How Skipton’s marketers used insight to win over its leadership team

Skipton Building Society had to convince its own stakeholders of the value of brand investment to secure a budget for a successful campaign.

The marketing team at Skipton Building Society faced a tough audience: the accountants of its own executive management. Bespoke insight, unique to Skipton, was required to convince the company of the value of long-term brand investment.

To get its own leadership team on board, the Skipton marketing team needed to bring the power of brand to life in a tangible way – along with a measurement framework that included short-, medium- and long-term KPIs to give management confidence that every penny spent on branding would provide value for money.

The first step was a made-to-measure research programme designed to show how brand influences decision-making. The results of this helped the marketing team speak to stakeholders in a common language – and demonstrated the power of the Skipton brand compared to the brands of its competitors.

Once this internal marketing campaign had helped to secure investment, three rounds of creative development research were undertaken to define a new customer value proposition (CVP) and a subsequent campaign. This highlighted that ‘When your money’s in a good place, so are you’.

A key insight was that, although people tend to look at interest rates first when choosing where to open a savings account, that does not mean investment in lower rates should trump investment in marketing.

The research showed that 60% of decision making was based on rates, and 40% on brand. It also found that statistically savers looked at providers with the best rates, then picked the one they knew and trusted the most.

The new Skiptons CVP – Building Better Futures since 1853 – underpinned three points: heritage, scale and its status as a building society compared to ‘fat cat’ banks.

Devoting 45% of its above-the-line spend to a 12-month sponsorship of ITV’s Late Peak Drama strand, the building society saw spontaneous awareness of its role as a savings product provider increase by 230% in less than a year, overtaking a number of key competitors.

The campaign achieved a 3:1 return on investment, which contributed to it winning the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for insight and market research.