How content provides a proof layer for brand campaigns

According to a recent Edelman survey, 82% of consumers want companies to prove what they say – and a whopping 58% no longer trust brand advertising. As a result we've seen a 40%  rise in content briefs here at BOW this year as companies look to walk the talk.

Southern Cross is substantiating its "With you" brand promise by showcasing member case studies for health, business, and pet insurance. Genesis created a climate change hub to support its commitment to a carbon-zero future. And Westpac is bringing its brand to life online with a Business Content Hub that underpins its 'Together, Greater' Commitment. We asked BOW's Senior Digital Content Marketing, Sarah Davies, to walk us through this project.

BOW's Senior Digital Content Marketing, Sarah Davies having a serious moment with CEO, Benjamin Lott

From Sarah: When Senior Brand Manager of Westpac’s business arm, Michelle Lumsden, came to us with a tight brief about helping her curate content onto a new section of the Westpac site, we thought… this should be easy enough. Westpac must have heaps of great business content, it shouldn’t be rocket science to strategically rearrange it to be more accessible for their customers.

But as Michelle and Big on Writing strategists began to scratch our chins and look externally for inspiration and context, we could see an obvious opportunity: there was no one-stop shop for SME businesses to really understand THE BASICS. This was supported by face-to-face research with those at the coalface - Westpac's relationship managers.

Soon, a bold, collective vision for a new content hub emerged – called Business Base. With the help of Westpac’s internal specialists, the goal was to create a groundbreaking online destination for Kiwi businesses to access financial expertise, industry insight and practical tools to help them start, run and grow their business.  And yet again it had to be delivered in record time.

Brand play

‘Together Greater’ was the articulation of Westpac’s purpose. They had an award-winning creative concept in a TVC – and now the proof had to be in the pudding. Our strategy would tie-in perfectly with Michelle’s vision to demonstrate that they were genuine partners for their business customers, not just say it.

“Business made Greater Together” was the bi-line. Lovely! Now we had to execute....

Knowledge gap

Aotearoa is a nation of small businesses that play an important role in our economy. SME owners often have the ambition to grow their small to medium business, but they don’t always know how to go about it.

We discovered that government sites have an array of helpful ‘business 101’ guides (and dominated Google traffic stats on common business terms), accounting firms had helpful accounting and tax content, and marketing agencies had resources about things like online sales. But nothing stood out as a single entity providing a way-finder, to cover all bases.

So firstly, we needed to know - what exactly are small business customers after? To answer this, without a huge market-research budget, we used the tools at our fingertips - qualitative interviews, an SEO deep dive and some local academic research for good measure.

We were given a helpful spreadsheet of existing Westpac pages and analytics. Then we actively searched high and low inside the Big Red W for related Westpac content and resources that could help business customers.

No surprises, we uncovered a lot of helpful assets and met some very smart people. From the economics team writing insightful market reports, innovative Payments experts, sustainability managers and experienced marketers – the list goes on.

Interviews with Westpac Relationship Managers really helped to ascertain the post-covid landscape. We learned about what was keeping their customers up at night, issues facing specific industries, and uncovered some of the most common queries they were getting on a macro and micro level.

One key insight was that customers would often ask their business bankers basic accounting queries. What if we saved both parties that time on the phone?

Curating existing content

Early on, we realised that there was content out there we should just be linking to, not competing with. ‘Playing in our lane’ therefore became an important design principle.

Michelle had a great relationship with Westpac partners Xero, who believed in our vision and had their own set of resources for their small business customers. Their content, of course, was focused on accounting and important topics like tax. Instead of seeing each other as ‘competition’ for eyes online, both parties worked together with a customer-first approach. Xero would share their great content with our customers, Westpac would attribute it and have backlinks to their site.

This strategic audit phase helped us to define the topics we would cover. These ‘pillars’ formed the primary user pathways (and how content was arranged), on the topics of starting a business, funding and finance, growth and international business, digital innovation and sustainability, emerged.

We linked out to essential external business websites, such as government funders, or experts in sustainability. We also included supporting links to existing Westpac tools, their REDnews blog business articles and inspirational case studies.

This is an incredibly deep site - have a good look around it.

Another element we really wanted to add value with … was video.

Introducing Warren Ng Woo

We discovered Warren, Westpac's Programme Manager by accident, when we met with him over Zoom to chat about his team’s Westpac Business Education programme, “Managing Your Money”. Straight away we were taken by his energetic screen presence and dad jokes. We had our front man.

Warren and his Financial Education team had a great face-to-face programme, so we drew from these topics for a Business Base video series. The budget wasn’t huge, which meant we were restricted for time and other luxuries such as make-up artists and complex lighting set ups. But the result was slick thanks to a tight script, natural performance and some extremely tight pre-production.

What makes this hub so unique is that we’ve communicated to them in the way they want - by solving problems, being tech-savvy, being refreshing, real, expert and human.

Tonally, we wanted to sound dependable, practical, approachable, making customers feel confident, informed and reassured. Trust in the Business Base will build trust in the Westpac Business brand.

We look forward to seeing the content hub progress and be updated to meet the changing needs of customers.

Shout out to our Big on Writing team: Amy Hamilton Chadwick, Steve Girdlestone, Jo Seton, Jason Beacham, Sue Worthington

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