What marketers can learn from financial services’ video playbook

Bridget Ngcobo / August 2020

Solving problems for consumers in uncertain times is challenging. For many, financial wellness and security has been a particular point of anxiety. In South Africa, a country notorious for its low levels of savings, this has forced consumers to start taking saving for the future seriously. From salary cuts to outright job losses, many have now been thinking very seriously about their financial stability.

Financial services brands have been quick to respond to this shift by exploring new ways of connecting with their audiences. In particular, increased at-home video consumption has introduced an exciting option for engaging with customers. So when consumers began showing interest in saving, Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, and Tyme Bank launched financial literacy series on YouTube.

In the future, when we look back on the campaigns that were most effective, we'll talk about the ones that put the customer at the centre of the experience

Breaking it down through edutainment

Standard Bank employed dynamic animation to make learning feel like a light effort. The main character of the series mixes English with isiZulu, South Africa's most popular indigenous language. This broadens the appeal of the series. Over twelve weeks and episodes, the series details snackable lessons on budgeting, cybercrime, fraud, and general financial literacy. The entire series is also made available for download via the YouTube app, making it accessible to more people.

The edutainment animation style is a format FNB also made use of for its budgeting series. The series is tailored specifically to the lockdown. It taps into anxieties family units may face. With everyone cooped up together, budgeting becomes ever more important. The series showcases an inclusive family unit impacted financially by the lockdown. The snackable 30-second clips deliver the gist of the smart budgeting message for those with limited time. However, the bank goes further by linking out to a financial education page with more detail.

Nedbank opted for the technique of having an actor break the fourth wall to relate to viewers’ circumstances on a personal level. The series tracks the actor, Max, on his journey towards breaking bad financial habits. To make buy-in as easy for viewers as possible, each video in the series is 35-seconds in length. Whether your situation at home has meant an increase in work hours or more time on your hands than ever, these straight-to-the-point, snackable videos are designed to be hard to dismiss. Max also speaks both isiZulu and English with subtitles, broadening his message's reach. This series is also available for offline download and viewing.

From the very beginning of the ideation process, ensure that you're viewing all your plans from a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

Settling anxieties

On the other end of the spectrum, bad actors have been capitalising on anxieties during lockdown, leading to increased financial fraud. To combat this, Tyme Bank deployed a how-to YouTube series. Each video in the series is approximately a minute in length and covers topics including how to lock your account, managing your security online, and how to change your pin, among others.

The series features a diverse and inclusive cast with a core message of simplicity. This goes a long way in easing anxieties around financial safety by sending the message that securing your finances is easy for anyone to do.

So what can we make of this? As they say, never let a crisis go to waste. By tapping into the insight that more people are turning to on-demand video streaming, these brands were able to use this to solve the immediate problems their customers face. Here's how they did this.

Relate on a personal level

In the future, when we look back on the campaigns that were most effective, we'll talk about the ones that put the customer at the centre of the experience. Make sure customers feel connected by talking to them in their own language, this includes subtitles. This way, your campaign will be instantly relatable.

Respect your customers’ time

Although more people are spending more time at home than ever, that doesn't mean they have all the time in the world. Make your content as easily digestible as possible and consider splitting it up into a series of topics. This gives your customers the option to opt into precisely the content that's addressing their individual needs.

Allow your customers to consume your content their way

Live streaming may appear to be all the rage at this time but it's important to remember that many people's situations haven't changed. They may still be gripped by limited data plans and time in general. Allow for offline viewing and downloads so your customers can find the best time and situation for consuming your content.

Reflect your customers’ world

Remember that if you don’t intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude. If your campaign doesn't look like the world your customer sees on a daily basis, there's simply less reason for them to stick around to hear what you have to say. From the very beginning of the ideation process, ensure that you're viewing all your plans from a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

Three questions to hold yourself accountable

What all of these lessons have in common is that they put the customer at the centre of the conversation. They do this by asking three things:

  1. Are we meeting the consumer where they are at the time?
  2. Are we solving a problem that is prevalent in this moment?
  3. Are we doing this in a way that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive?
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