Taking a new approach to the market
In 2000 National Savings rebranded as NS&I. But its web site and sales online were limited. In 2005, it relaunched the site using clear, simple and accessible design and within two months, NS&I’s online sales were up from £3m to £47m.
And the company's brand has kept it a customer favourite, even in the midst of the credit crunch.
In October 2008 Mintel, consumer research specialists, asked 2,000 people which high street banks they trusted and state-backed NS&I scored top marks. One in four people trust the brand compared to only 16% who trusted the leading high street banks.
The design story
In the 1990s, National Savings, the government backed savings provider, was struggling. Consumer research showed that many felt it was old-fashioned and no longer relevant to mainstream savers and investors - it was perceived as a savings scheme for grannies and children. Design company, Lloyd Northover was appointed to reposition the brand. It developed National Savings’ new brand name, identity and positioning and helped formulate a new approach to the marketplace that was consumer needs-led rather than product-focused. In 2000, National Savings re-launched as NS&I.
By 2003, NS&I began considering how the new branding could work on the web and attract new online customers. Following a competitive pitch, Lloyd Northover was briefed to develop a web strategy and design a new site, while specialist digital agency Wheel, now part of LBi, to build the infrastructure.
A turning point
‘It marked a turning point in our thinking. Until then we’d managed the website as a technology solution not a design communications solution,’ says Sue Simpson, Head of Brand for NS&I.
‘But the web had become so much a normal part of our everyday communications mix that we felt comfortable using a branding agency instead of a dedicated digital specialist.’
There were clear benefits of working with an agency that had a history with NS&I, she adds: ‘They were much quicker to grasp the brief and understand our products and customers. They understood how we wanted to grow the business - which products to lead on, and which customer segments to highlight.’
About the NS&I
NS&I is a government department. It is an integral part of the Government’s debt management arrangements responsible for providing financing by issuing and selling savings and investment instruments to the public. It was established as an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 1 July 1996.