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Launching Standard Bank's middle market offering.

Client 

Standard Bank

Industry

Financial

Services

Role

Consulting Group Account Director (2022 - Present)

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Context
The aim was to launch Standard Bank’s Middle Market consumer value proposition (CVP), originally known by its project name, “Groundbreakers”. The development of the Achieva offering came as the result of established banks like FNB, Absa, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, of course, recognising the emergence of the likes of TymeBank and the ambitious takeover of Capitec from the lower market segments. Additionally, there continues to be intense competition for market share in the higher-income segments, with Discovery Bank also actively vying for a position in this competitive landscape.


An offering that “kickstarts customers’ firsts and makes them last”, Achieva is designed to journey with customers as they grow and evolve, delivering tailored solutions and services that meet major milestones – from that first degree to the first car or home and more. It's key pillars are loosely:

  • Set me up for success;

  • Journey with me, and

  • Help me leave a legacy for tomorrow.

The ask across agencies (creative, PR, media) was to deliver an integrated plan that would drive awareness and consideration, making the target consumer:

  • Think "this is different coming from SB", and

  • Feel that "Standard Bank understands my needs and desire to make myself a success".

 

Ultimately, Standard Bank wanted to win in the middle while defending entrenchment in mass. They wanted to enable their clients to achieve their aspirations to better their lives and the lives of the next generation by effectively communicating the Achieva offering to unlock value and create appeal and resonance within the target audience.

Target audience
General things we know about our middle market consumers is that they are:

  • Aged between 24 and 31 years

  • Considered as the "everyday person"

  • Holding occupations such as teacher, call centre agent, police officer, nurse, and so on

  • Earning between R10 and R25k (Ave income is R14 717)

More importantly though they are:

  • Big on self-development (e.g., furthering their education) – “How can I be the best that I can be?”

  • Big on community – Validated by them, views on black tax are through the lens of Ubuntu, seeing it as a responsibility, not a burden

  • Want to make better choices – develop a savings culture, manage their money better, and so on

  • Breakers of generational "curses“ – The first to do things in their families and communities (car, home, flight, overseas trip, etc.) – this often makes them feel alone

  • Skeptical about banks’ agenda - “I feel like banks want to keep me in debt more than they want to invest in me”    

  • Crave financial (and other growth and development) advice and opportunities and someone to guide them on the journey to betterment

Campaign idea (by Saatchi)

Official campaign name: Standard Bank Achieva Launch
Big idea: Every first is exciting. Every first is a big moment. We try to play it cool sometimes but our inner voices can be louder than anything in the world, screaming with joy, excitement and often disbelief. Our wins start within. 
Campaign platform: Make your firsts last 
Message hierarchy: 

  • ATL campaign platform messaging: Make your firsts last

  • Segment vision (Middle Market): Standard Bank enables its customers to build and grow their wealth, leading every generation to live better than the last // Enabling firsts
     

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PR execution
With comms objectives including creating awareness of the Achieva amongst the target audience (entrenching the messaging of “make your firsts last”), positioning Standard Bank as being a partner in the journey of its consumers – offering tailored solutions that help them to reach their key milestones and goals, educating said consumers about different ways to derive maximum value, based on their needs and behaviours, and highlighting the bank as caring about the challenges being faced by clients in the current economic environment, we knew our approach needed to leverage what we knew about these consumers’ ambitions, drivers and challenges. 

For us to reach this audience, we needed to be seen as playing a supportive role in their lives. We weren’t going to capture their hearts and minds by trying to sell them products. Instead we needed to inspire them by giving them access to success stories that they could identify with, new information on what it really takes to make your firsts last in the South African context and forums to engage and celebrate the small wins they achieve daily that’ll eventually get them to their big firsts.

We therefore needed to:

  • Be emotive, driving a deep connectedness not only to Standard Bank, but more importantly, amongst the entire Achieva community

  • Make our target market feel seen, heard and celebrated for the barriers they break and moves they make

  • Be rooted in creativity, relevance, and authenticity to rise above the clutter, creating talkability / share-ability

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Magazine / Billboard Tactic
As mentioned, to capture the hearts of our target audience, it was important that we inspire them by giving them access to success stories that they can identify with – stories that speak to what it really takes to make your firsts last in the South African context. We wanted to make them feel seen, heard and celebrated for the barriers they break and moves they make on a daily basis.

By putting their peers (well- and lesser-known) on the cover of a culturally relevant magazine – a first for quite a few of our chosen cover stars – our aim was to encourage “Achievas” to work towards their firsts and to know there is bank that will back and partner with them on the journey to their first milestones and beyond.

To further monumentalise this first, we also put the chosen cover stars on a high-traffic billboard opposite the Gautrain Station in Sandton. Our compelling narrative was that we recognise that it’s not often we celebrate ordinary people and the wins they are achieving for themselves, their families, and even their communities. Often, something like a magazine cover, is reserved for celebrity types. That’s why even when choosing our creators to partner with, they needed to be a true reflection of what is to be an Achieva – that go-getter attitude of steadily accumulating small wins to get to the big firsts. We hope their stories will inspire others to do the same.

The above was also supported by paid initiatives with the likes of:
Metro FM: 

  • We partnered with radio station to do an OB at the official Achieva launch event on 09 June 2023. It was here that we also announced the upcoming Achieva cover in partnership with Sowetan S-Mag cover

  • We then announced the billboard on the day of its unveiling – 11 August 2023 

  • Both the above took place on Metro FM’s breakfast show, Best Mornings with DJ Sabby and Kandis Kardash, for consistency

 

Popcorn and Cheese Podcast: 

  •  We hosted the podcast’s first ever live studio audience recording on Achieva launch day 

  • Here we discussed the power of firsts with SB spokespeople, unveiled our cover stars, who shared stories of their significant firsts with the live audience

 

PR results

 

Earned results

  • Total reach: 30,296,633

  • 100% of the coverage reflected the inclusion of the key campaign message

  • The coverage from titles included City Press, BusinessTech, Daily Sun, TimesLIVE, and DRUM

  • 29 pieces of coverage that mention both Standard Bank and Achieva in the first paragraph, from print and online to broadcast

  • 11 pieces of coverage that mention Standard Bank or Achieva in the headline, from print and online to broadcast

  • 16 pieces of coverage in tier-one media

  • 5 Sowetan Street Poles that mention the key message

 

Paid results

Metro FM

  • Total reach: 9,558,312

  • Interviews with spokespeople, Motlatsi Mkalala and Itumeleng Matlaila, and Achieva influencer Wendy Gumede were held

  • Coverage includes the outside broadcast as well as billboard/cover interviews

 

Popcorn and Cheese podcast

  • Interviews with Motlatsi Mkalala and Itumeleng Matlaila, as well as the Achieva influencer squad were conducted. Within one hour of the Achieva episode going live

  • 2.2K people had viewed it in the first 45 min of going live

  • Current podcast stats are as follows:

    • 111K views

    • 4.1K likes

    • 532 comments

 

Sowetan S Mag

  •  Total reach: 6,703,347

  • Interviews were conducted with spokesperson Motlatsi Mkalala, as well as the Achieva squad

  • Coverage included a gatefold on three print covers, a print advertorial, a digital cover, digital takeover, Sowetan newspaper interview, and Sowetan street pole posters
     

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