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January 27, 2016

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Video is the future of content marketing and there are some great examples of strategic users of video marketing in financial services.

According to a report from Cisco, by 2017, 69% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video. It’s a naturally engaging medium with the potential to generate huge reach. 

Storytelling is the essence of any effective video. Stories engage audiences and make them more willing to share the content. But what many financial services firms don’t realize is that they are sitting on great stories. After all, most people want to know how to make more money!


So, which financial services firms are doing it well? Here’s a look at six firms we think are making great content - to watch the video simply click the images!


American Express is a master of great storytelling. Its current #ShopSmallUK campaign promotes the role small businesses play in our communities and the contribution they make to the economy. It encourages shoppers to spend money at small businesses and helps small businesses get noticed.

Dragon’s Den star Sarah Willingham explains the campaign in a short video on the campaign microsite - a branded content site that lives separate to the main corporate home page. This is a great example of multi-faceted storytelling that brings the story into different aspects of people’s lives.

 The campaign also features case studies on Twitter about individual small business owners. These videos work on different levels. Firstly, as serial storytelling – episodes about real people setting up their own business connect with the audience. Secondly, as spreadable storytelling – these are the kind of stories people like enough to share. And finally, as engagement through storytelling – other individuals have begun to share videos about their own small business and have become part of the campaign in a meaningful way. 

In the US, American Express hosts OPEN Forum – an online community for small businesses featuring multi-media stories about companies that have had an impact on their local community. These long-form narratives combine high quality video with text and photography. The result has been higher engagement, more return visits and nearly double the amount of time on site from a typical article, according to Carrie Parker, the director of the OPEN Forum. 


Barclays also takes the approach of telling ‘personal’ and ‘authentic’ stories. Faced with some pretty serious brand reputation issues, Barclays has gone for a grass roots approach to promote the LifeSkills youth employment programme. The campaign aims to help 11-19 year olds build workplace skills such as CV writing and using appropriate language.

 This video taps into the real life experiences of older people advising young people how to approach a job interview.

 Barclays also tap into the popularity of YouTube personalities to reach their target audience for the LifeSkills campaign. YouTubers present videos to explain how doing the things they enjoy has given them transferable skills that help their careers.


Goldman Sachs also get that stories are more engaging if told in a visually engaging style. It can be difficult for investment banks to make videos that work as well as retail banks because they’re targeting a sophisticated professional audience and talking about complicated subjects that don’t lend themselves well to great pictures. By incorporating graphics and stock footage, Goldman is able to make their ‘hygiene content’ – key informational and educational content - much more engaging to watch.

 In this example, Goldman has an expert talking about a new research report but incorporates interesting motion graphic animation to help tell the story.

 Goldman also does ‘hub content’ well. ‘Hub’ is heavily promoted set piece content used to entertain or inspire. This beautifully shot black & white series of videos tell the stories of people who have benefitted from Goldman’s corporate responsibility efforts in a subtle but engaging way.


Prudential is making full use of video on its excellent “Bring Your Challenges” microsite. Content marketing is difficult for insurance companies faced with the task of selling a ‘boring’ industry that is inherently risk averse. However, by thinking about what matters to their customers, Prudential has taken a story- based approach to focus on retirement planning and how to live a longer, healthier life. The result is a raft of excellent content with huge numbers of views.

Prudential employ a variety of different types of video such as big set-piece ‘Hero’ events to explain why people aren’t saving enough for their retirement.

 Animation is also used as a method of explaining the ‘secrets of a long life’.

 And Prudential has created episodic case studies of real life people doing interesting new things in retirement:


M&G has created its own video microsite called iViewTV, which takes the view that investment video doesn’t have to be boring but can entertain as well as inform. The result is a programme making approach that results in more engaging content, such as this summary of the Fixed Income team’s recent research trip to the US. Here we see footage of them on location combined with interviews and charts, which is driven along at a decent pace through the use of music.

M&G bond

In this episode, the M&G expert brings the popular ‘listicle’ approach to the video format to educate clients in an engaging way about China’s corporate bond market.

M&G China


PwC has developed a raft of strong ‘hygiene’ content – this is educational or informational content that provides compelling answers to questions that someone might search for. In its ‘Business Imperatives’ series PwC experts answer big picture questions pertinent to businesses, such as how to stimulate innovation, how to transform human capital or how to unlock the possibilities of data. The videos combine nicely filmed talking heads with stock footage and graphics to create engaging content.

PwC has also created a series of videos around its well-respected annual CEO survey. This is destination content that is valuable for the incredible access it gives viewers into the thinking of top chief executives. The videos are effectively a string of soundbites - a simple concept that can so often be very boring to watch. But PwC has kept the content engaging by packaging what the CEOs are saying with nice design and engaging visuals.


In summary, the financial and professional services industries offer huge opportunities to create compelling video for content marketing. Customers and prospects want to be educated and informed about the world of business and making money. But audiences are sophisticated and used to well-made creative content from consumer goods companies.

It is no longer enough to plonk an expert in front of a camera and let them talk. Financial services firms have great stories to tell but need to think of creative and engaging ways to tell them.


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