Why create a blog for your customers?
A few years ago the term ‘blog’ conjured images of a geeky youth in a dingy bedsit expressing his thoughts on a web page read by just a few of his friends. These days through the explosion of the web and accessible multi platforms such as smart phones and tablets, blogs have become a recognized and effective instrument of communication; be it a youth dispatching the latest news on his round-the-world trip, to global corporate entities wanting to interface more intimately with myriad end users.
Whether you’re a bank, airline, ice cream or soft drink manufacturer, your customers all seek similar things from their lives: adventure, discovery, excitement, developing new hobbies, travel and wisdom. By creating a blog that gives them fresh ideas to these things; which reaches out to them and becomes their friend and source of inspiration, you bring your brand closer to the fabric of their lives. Doubtless they already use you, but what would you like them to feel when they see your name, taste your product?
How it works:
Sanlam UK, South Africa’s largest bank, contacted Richard in 2015 to create a lifestyle blog for their UK brand, that would celebrate and capitalise its customers’ precious free time. The blog was fittingly called ‘Soul Tonic’. Mindful of Sanlam’s ethos of Wealthsmithery - that like a goldsmith, wordsmith or silversmith, the creation, management and legacy of one’s money is a craft in itself - Soul Tonic posed questions like: ‘Are there things you are itching to do with your life and haven’t?’: ‘If you were the three little pigs and your house of hay, wood or bricks represented your financial security, which one would you be, and can you change to be a more effective saver?’
The blog ran for a year and with two articles per month ruminating on a variety of themes from: making the most of your parents, learning to surf, taking up yoga, or practising mindfulness, it communicated it was pointless earning and saving without maximising the fruits of your labour to their full extent. It wasn’t an invitation to be profligate, more to consider money as an enabler to fulfil one’s ambitions and hopes. Every month we celebrated the pursuit of happiness, be it the cathartic art of de-stuffing (emptying your loft of unwanted junk), auditing negative friends, making a movie of your life that you can leave behind, or taking steps to get fit again...
Customers were naturally surprised to find their bank was talking to them in such a profound way; they weren’t being cynically sold to, rather it was more like a chat with a friend twice a month as Soul Tonic arrived in their Inbox. In a short space of time this simple blog became a part of their lives, and by extension Sanlam UK became something more substantial to them than just a repository for their money.