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We’re Financial Services Forum’s agency of the year!

We’re Financial Services Forum’s agency of the year!

How we became Agency of the Year in financial services.

It’s good to sing your own praises from time to time, which is why we’re delighted to announce that we have won Agency of the Year at The Financial Services Forum Marketing Effectiveness Awards!

The Financial Services Forum is a community of senior marketing executives working in the financial sector, which meets regularly to share resources and insights about the latest trends affecting the industry. The awards are one of the forum’s flagship events, celebrating the very best in marketing effectiveness.

Financial services are undoubtedly a challenging sector from a marketing perspective. Trust is of paramount importance, of course, as consumers need confidence and reassurance that their money and assets are being looked after in the best way possible.

At the same time regulatory, societal and technological shifts are changing the way consumers perceive and interact with financial services brands, and marketers need to adapt accordingly. Even if they can keep up with the pace of change, finance brands face the challenge of how to engage and excite consumers in a product category they often find confusing, dull or onerous.

These challenges make our success in winning Agency of the Year all the more rewarding. From our earliest days as an agency 30 years ago we have worked hard to develop our specialism in financial services, and that specialism has only expanded in the last decade following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Indeed BJL played a pivotal role in the immediate aftermath of the crisis as the communications agency for UKAR (UK Asset Resolution Limited), established by the Government to bring together the nationalised businesses of Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock in the wake of the credit crunch. Our work in educating and supporting customers through the transition was vital in UKAR meeting and surpassing the goals and targets set by the Government.

We’ve continued to push the boundaries in financial services since that work, as our acclaimed ‘Nagging Doubt’ campaign for Swinton Insurance showed. By focusing on the importance of clarity and reassurance when buying insurance, the campaign was a direct challenge to the ‘get it done quick and cheap’ mindset of the price comparison sites, and the prevailing tone of marketing in the sector.

Other notable campaigns in financial services include BJL’s recent work with Skipton Building Society, which saw the agency create the brand’s first TV advertising campaign for a decade. BJL is also supporting a partnership between Skipton and the Alzheimer’s Society that involves working with the building society to embed service design changes that will support people living with dementia.

This year we’ve also continued to sign a number of new leading financial services clients including wealth management firm Brown Shipley, and The Co-operative Bank, which has appointed the agency to produce compelling, relevant and timely customer communications as its CRM partner. Alastair Pegg, Marketing Director at The Co-operative Bank, was named Marketer of the Year at The Financial Services Forum Marketing Effectiveness Awards on the night also.

In addition, BJL has recently been appointed to launch new financial advice brand Open Money. Jointly set up by the co-founder of MoneySuperMarket, Duncan Cameron, Open Money aims to democratise access to financial advice by providing completely transparent and honest advice to everyone – regardless of whether they have £1,000 to invest or just £1.

The latest research unveiled at IPA EffWeek 2018 suggests that we’re on the right track in how we think about, and work with, financial services brands. For example, Les Binet and Peter Field, who together have been researching marketing effectiveness for over a decade, spoke of how the ‘60:40 rule’, which refers to the average, optimum split for marketing investment (60% for longer term brand building against 40% for shorter term activations) is shifting further towards brand building – particularly as technology makes activations easier and consumers tune out the constant barrage of short term promotions.

Long term brand building is still paramount, in other words, and in financial services – where activation is comparatively easy but brands are often neglected – this is particularly true. In fact, Binet and Field suggested that for finance businesses there should be an up weighting of brand building to create a budget split closer to 80:20.

With all of our financial services clients we put a strong focus on brand building because we know that amid a sea of noise, consumers want financial services brands they can truly trust. Our success in winning Agency of the Year at The Financial Services Forum Marketing Effectiveness Awards is recognition of how effective this approach continues to be.


Karen Kidd is Commercial Planning Director at BJL, leading the agency’s effectiveness agenda. She works across all our clients in all sectors to deliver strategic marketing plans aimed at driving the best results. Karen’s also worked with brands such as Argos, Asos, Marks and Spencer, Magnet and Littlewoods.


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