The financial industry has become unnecessarily complicated and Space believes complexity is the biggest barrier to the industry creating trust. As such, it works with financial services brands to simplify the world of money, making it easier for financial providers to build more valuable relationships with their customers.
Space is a team of thinkers and doers who bring together creative, technical and industry expertise to create powerful ideas that solve business problems and deliver results. Whilst the agency is focused solely on the financial services sector, the help offered to clients is broad.
At a strategic level, the agency helps clients understand their customers better, and develop client centric products and propositions, as well as rebranding. The agency also has in-depth technical capabilities enabling them to deliver simple marketing sites, through to complex underwriting solutions and wealth management platforms. Also, the agency offers clients a full range of marketing communications skills from advertising, through to content creation in the form of video and animation.
Every project starts with a thorough interrogation of a client’s business to identify what makes it different. The overall mission is to capture the intellectual capital from around the boardroom table, and across the wider business, to provide the insight to develop powerful marketing and digital assets.
Paul Brooks, the agency’s Creative Partner, who honed his skills at various London agencies, including M&C
Saatchi, believes one of the main differentiators for the agency is deep knowledge of the industry: ‘Creativity is important but of equal importance is industry knowledge,’ he says. ‘For over 15 years, we have been acquiring an in-depth understanding of the nuances surrounding the different distribution and product strategies within the insurance, wealth management and retail banking worlds. This means we get to the point quickly and our solutions are more effective. You simply can’t sell what you don’t understand.’
The agency is obsessed with customer insight – in an industry reliant on intermediated sales, Space has built strong relationships with multiple financial advice firms. These firms provide a valuable sounding board for the agency when testing ideas and have enabled Space to embed objective research into every step of its process, without clients having to incur extortionate research costs.
Managing Partner Marilyn Cole says: ‘Our adviser network not only provides us with the perceptions intermediaries have of our providers’ clients – they are also a rich source of end customer insights. After all it is the adviser’s job to understand their clients’ financial priorities and concerns.’
The agency also puts a great emphasis on being a true partner, working alongside client internal resources to enable them to maximise the investment in their own teams.
Paul Wilson, Customer Experience Partner at Space, says that these days individual agencies have to respect the fact that they may only be a part of the solution: ‘Clients are increasingly upskilling their own in-house teams,’ he says. ‘At Space, we understand that clients are looking for agencies to partner with them, and knowledge share – it makes for much longerlasting relationships.’
Equally important is that the back-end experts in the agency are passionate about development, immersed in the technology and happy to challenge clients on how best to move a project forward. For them this is not just a ‘day-job’. Rather they share Space’s commitment to being proactive in ‘doing it better’ and make the customer experience more efficient and richer.
In terms of consumer and industry developments the client team is constantly in ‘learningmode’, reading widely, attending events and, most importantly, spending quality time with clients. As such, it is well versed in the coming CRM challenges of initiatives like ‘robo-advice’, and how brands who engage clients in a robo-environment can go on to build a relationship that delivers positive outcomes for brand and end-user alike.
Marilyn Cole makes the point that the quality and diversity of clients helps keep the agency on its toes: ‘The fact we’re at the leading edge of creating digital experiences for banks, life and pension providers, general insurers, wealth managers and global asset management businesses means we’re confronted with a complete spectrum of challenges,’ she said. ‘Often one challenge informs another, meaning our clients benefit from our compound learning.’
To stay at the forefront of trends, any business needs to recruit the right talent, however the digital agency world in financial services is quite tight knit and good knowledgeable staff can be hard to find.
The agency’s executive team and main studio is based in Guildford, Surrey, but to ensure access to the very best thinking Space also has a satellite office in the Moorgate, the creative digital hub of London. The agency runs an agile model and, in a world of digital connectivity, staff also have the opportunity of working from home.
The agency is steadily establishing a more international business footprint, working with a global asset manager on
communication and messaging strategy and working with clients in Australia. Overall, the client base is a good mix of established businesses and new start-ups.
The agency’s plan is to continue extending its product and proposition development capabilities.
Paul Brooks says: ‘The challenges our clients face are all manifestations of the complexity of their products. A complex financial product results in complex user experience and requires complex messaging to promote it, all of which are barriers to purchase. For financial brands, simplification is a painful necessity – and that’s what we’ve designed and built Space to do.’
Contact: Marilyn Cole
Address: Centrepoint House, 2 Denmark Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4DA, UK
Telephone: 01483 400 680