Opinion / 09.01.19 / 4 min read

Tech is nothing without the right people

From fintech banks to transforming traditional banks, we don’t need to tell you that the financial services landscape is changing, rapidly.

Tech is nothing without the right people

With 72% of the adult population estimated to have switched to mobile banking by 2019 (BBC News), digital advances continue to have a huge impact on how companies engage with and retain customers.

Yet, while we often think of digital transformation as the app that a customer checks their finances in real time, or a helpful chatbot, or even a bitcoin, how much do we consider the role employees play in business success?

The more we rely upon technology to make everything happen, the more we need talented and motivated people to run it. Employees are the often forgotten heroes that enable your customers to download your new app, who add a layer of personal service to a routine transaction and who can make or break brand loyalty.

To take an example, Monzo has transformed itself from a disruptor brand to a mainstream financial services provider with a programme of what it terms ‘radical transparency’. (Marketing Week). The company, which has gained more than 1.2 million users since its inception in 2015, credits its success to visibility for both customers and employees. While products are designed to provide instant advice and updates, Monzo also ensures that employees at every level of the company are aware of what’s going on, with all customer communications shared across the company. This culture of trust and empowerment feed through to the service provided to the end users.

Studies have shown that engaged employees lead to a rise in profitability of 21% (Engage for success). Long-term sustainable growth in the banking industry seems only possible with a radical departure from a sales and product-obsessed mindset to one of genuine customer centricity, and it’s vital that employees are on board to drive preference across the customer lifecycle.

Mr B & Friends has award-winning experience of galvanising employees towards a common goal, as a business changes and rebrands. Change comes from the inside out and when that change is managed well, the results can be outstanding.

We’ve helped Principality to bring it home

Principality is the largest building society in Wales, with a 150 year history and a 52 strong branch network that stretches throughout the country. It is also the 6th largest building society in the UK, with 80% of its mortgage business based in England, built on its strong reputation for excellent customer service reinforced by its mutual status.

Following a comprehensive piece of brand strategy work and redesign to reposition and modernise the building society, Mr B & Friends identified the need to devise a strategy to embed the new brand and ways of working amongst the staff of 1250 people. The Brand Ambassador Programme was designed to identify and train ambitious and energetic people across every department, empowering them to interpret and communicate the new brand positioning of ‘Where Home Matters’; its purpose, objectives and supporting brand values, to colleagues and customers.

An internal engagement campaign invited staff to apply to join the ‘Home Team’, emphasising the opportunity to help shape the Society’s future. A fun yet intensive selection process identified 48 people to champion the brand. The year-long programme was brought together with a presentation to the senior leadership team and reflected individual experiences and successes with their wider colleagues and customer interactions. The values created by the movement now form the bedrock of the company culture.

The results?

The programme timings mirrored a sharp rise in both customer satisfaction levels and pre-tax profits for the Society with an impressive 74% NET Promoter score and a 33% increase in pre-tax profits on the previous 12 months. The campaign also netted a Silver award at the Employer Brand Management awards in 2018. Principality’s continuing success demonstrates that while digital transformation needs to be embraced, people continue to drive commitment to brand.

If you’d like to pick our brains about how we can help you and your business, simply drop Paul a line.


Sarah Dennis

Marketing Director